How to care for daylilies in the fall?

by NancyLee

My daylilies are all in pots and in need of separation. Can you transplant daylilies in the fall before winter chills set in, and is it advisable to separate and repot them when they are currently potted?

How to care for daylilies

  25 answers
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Sep 18, 2013
    Plant them in the ground. Soon.
  • Lisa Bryant Lisa Bryant on Sep 18, 2013
    Yes, plant them in the ground and they will come back every year.
  • Nancy, You can try heeling in your pots for the winter months (burying them half way in your garden), but that can be risky business. They can die from too much moisture or cold. It is much safer to plant them in your garden and then dig them up in the spring for repotting. You may divide them if you wish in autumn or spring.
  • NancyLee NancyLee on Sep 18, 2013
    Thanks Douglas!!
  • NancyLee NancyLee on Sep 18, 2013
    Both you and Douglas recommend planting in garden - guess I'll just have to dig up a spot! Hehehehehe.......
  • Norma W Norma W on Sep 18, 2013
    Nancy, I live near Atlanta Ga, and have lived in Or. I keep many of my daylilies in pots from year to year and have never had a problem. If you think it is going to be colder than usual this winter just set the pots up near the house for a little added protection. I think you will have good results since the temps there aren't much different than here.
  • NancyLee NancyLee on Sep 18, 2013
    Yay Norma - maybe I won't have to dig that plot after all! Or maybe I'll try both ways and see what happens.
  • Daylilies will winter over in pots, but you said they were in great need of division. If that is the case get them into the ground ASAP. Pots with too much plant in them puts the plants at risk if wintered over in the pots.
  • Bonnie Lewenza Bonnie Lewenza on Sep 18, 2013
    If you don't want them to multiply plant them in the ground pot and all and dig up in the spring when you see their heads popping up. But you have to do it soon if you are taking them out of their pots.
  • NancyLee NancyLee on Sep 18, 2013
    That's a great idea Bonnie - thanks.
  • Jenny@birdsandsoap Jenny@birdsandsoap on Sep 19, 2013
    I have daylilies in pots (urns that are off the ground) on each side of my front stoop that I leave in year round. They come back every year and do find in freezing temps (Idaho). I split them in spring when I'm in the mood to garden again.
  • NancyLee NancyLee on Sep 19, 2013
    Yay Jenny! Yes, I am in NO mood to dig the ground right now - or dig anything else. But that could change. I'm so delighted by all the thoughtful responses to my question.
  • H.C. Lawn H.C. Lawn on Sep 19, 2013
    i have luck with wood chips or pine straw to mulch my pots in ct
    • Weeje Weeje on Sep 16, 2017

      This my first year for daylilies.. I planted 3 per pots and I am planning to put all the pots together and stake house wrap around them and then put leaves on them about November. I do believe this will work. Last year I put leaves on my mums and I was surprised that they all came back.

  • H.C. Lawn H.C. Lawn on Sep 19, 2013
    i also do this with mums
  • NancyLee NancyLee on Sep 19, 2013
    I have one mum - planted it last year - apparently died - came back to life - is beautiful now!!
  • Karen McLendon Karen McLendon on Sep 20, 2013
    Where are you located....that would make a difference in how you overwinter them....
  • Patty Patty on Sep 20, 2013
    I over-winter day lilies in pots all the time, I'm in zone 6. Sometimes I will divide and plant divisions in garden and re-pot one or two with fresh soil. They are so hardy, never a problem, sometimes I will wait until spring to divide them, it just depends on how much time I have. I do keep them next to my house under cover but that is for convenience more than anything. Whatever you decide I'm sure they will be fine.
  • Alicia Alicia on Sep 20, 2013
    Day Lilies are a very rugged plant. I live in NH and have thousands of them planted outside and they need no care. In the fall, I cut them down to about 8 inches when they look like they are on their last leg. They sprout back up and are all set for the spring. I even cut them back again in the spring. They spread like crazy! I can't kill them if I tried.
  • MaryAnn B MaryAnn B on Sep 20, 2013
    I live in Vancouver WA which is zone 8, I think Grants Pass is a little colder. It certainly won't hurt the daylilies to stay in the pots and plant in the spring. If they are black nursery pots I would give them some protection. It doesn't hurt them to freeze, It is the freeze thaw action that may hurt the crown. Lay them on their side and cover with leaves.
  • April E April E on Sep 20, 2013
    I have 3 pots of daylilies that have over wintered for 6 years I just divide them every other spring or so and give some away. during the winter the pot is in a sheltered area near the house and I make sure to water it right before a bad freeze so the ice can insulate the roots. they do well over wintering for me and unlike u I am a 7a where u are 7b-8a in winter zoning so I wouldn't worry about them being in pots
  • NancyLee NancyLee on Sep 21, 2013
    This is just my 2nd winter here coming up - last year I didn't grow much. But it was pretty mild compared to Northern New England where I grew up. Summers are really dry and hot - I think it rained twice between April and now (hence the problems with the big fires). People who don't know think of Oregon as the rain state but the southwestern part is the sunbelt of Oregon. It does rain a lot in the winter though - with only a little snow here. It's amazing to me that you can drive a few miles and be in a different microclimate. This is a beautiful place - lots of vineyards and organic gardening and, oh, of course, daylilies!! And lavender everywhere. That really surprised me.
  • MaeGatineau MaeGatineau on Sep 21, 2013
    i have them in pots and today i cut all the tops off as short as i could i will take them in and put them in a dark warm place inside no water and ,bring them out in the spring
  • Iris Iris on Aug 06, 2017

    I'm in Ohio have some daylillies and irises in greenhouse pots from digging out of my garden area could I just cut them off put them in a dark room that isn't realily cold will they be ok there

  • NancyLee NancyLee on Aug 06, 2017

    I asked this question 4 summers ago - so nice to see it is still there. I've left them on the deck in their pots all cut down for several winters now - they just keep coming back as beautiful as ever. I do separate them at times but it doesn't seem to matter as to timing.

  • Emma Marks Emma Marks on Oct 03, 2023

    You can give your daylilies a fresh start by dividing them. It's best to separate them in the early spring before they start growing or in late fall when they finish blooming.

    Here's how you do it:

    1. Get your shovel, spade, or sharp scissors

    2. Dig up your daylilies with their roots.

    3. Shake off the dirt gently from the roots.

    4. Split the roots into groups, each with at least three stems and good roots.

    5. Cut the roots apart, and get rid of any that look damaged or sick.

    6. Plant your daylilies again. Put the part where the stems come out at ground level. You can also add some fresh compost to help them grow better.

    By doing this, your daylilies will stay healthy and keep blooming in your garden. This can be done every 3 to 5 years or even after only 2 years in the ground.