The Survivor’s Nest – 5 Easy Tips for Dividing Lilies

My garden is a work in progress that I see through a decorator’s eyes. Its color palate (chartreuse, orange and purple), garden rooms, focal points and accessories extend the living space of my home.

Most importantly, however, I love the history of the garden. I remember what plants came from where and which rhododendron I got for Mother’s Day. My most treasured plants cost me nothing and are the hardiest. My orange day lilies were a present from my friend, who transplanted them from her mother’s garden to a spot around my mailbox. In the fifteen years since she planted them, they have multiplied like rabbits. They now ring the perimeter of my yard and punctuate all of the beds. They are the orange pop of color that sets off the purple and chartreuse plants so beautifully.

If you have lilies they are easy to divide:

1.  Lilies need to be divided every 3 to 5 years: You’ll know it’s time when they begin crowding and putting out less blooms.

2.  To divide lilies: Use a sharp spade to dig around the root ball of a clump. Dig up the clump and knock away excess dirt.

3.  Turn the clump over:  Use the spade to cut the clump into smaller sections. You’ll notice that lilies create fans of leaves. Make sure the new clumps have fans of leaves with intact roots.

4.  Lilies are hardy: All they need is lots of sun. Don’t be afraid to replant them along the curb line of your yard, like I did. They shrug off abuse. And, when winter comes and snow is plowed up along the curb and salt is sprayed everywhere, they are sleeping safely below ground.

5.  Replant the new clumps: Prepare the soil and plant the clumps 6 to 12 inches apart. Water well to get your new plants established.

You can use this method to divide hostas, too. I hope I’ve inspired you to get outside and enjoy your garden, no matter how big or small it is. If I have, please let me know and then turn off your computer and get going!

Survival > Existence,



Luci Weston's picture

Helpful Gardening Advice

Thank you so much for this easy How-To… I didn’t realize lilies were so hardy. Also, your point about the “history” of a garden is lovely. Planting the flowers of friends and family is a wonderful reminder of those special people when the flowers bloom.


Debbie's picture

Hardy and Beautiful!


You’re so right! Every year my lilies bloom, I always remember my friend and her mother for sharing them with me.

Survival > Existence,


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