New daylily shoots are a few inches tall now – the perfect size, I think, to divide large clumps and spread the joy around the garden or with friends, if you’re able to tread lightly in the garden.
That last point is crucial – if your soil is still mushy from spring snow melt or if spring ephemerals are still emerging you don’t want to be clomping around with big boots, compacting soil, destroying the structure that many organisms need and thrive in.
Probably the most vigorous daylily in these parts is the much maligned Hemerocallis fulva – also know as a ditch daylily, tiger lily, orange day lily… The main complaint is that the orange is too bright. Huh? Orange is supposed to be bright! People also say it’s too prolific, spreads too much, is too tall, the leaves flop after blooming….the litany goes on. Me, I look forward, every year starting the last week of June and lasting throughout July, to driving along country roads and seeing large clumps of the cheery, welcoming flowers. Like any plant they should be properly situated. So no, don’t plant them if you have a really small garden. Even the cultivated varieties will spread, but possibly not with the same speed as Hemerocallis fulva var fulva – the more common, single variety that easily spreads and can be seen in ditches and at the edges of woodlots all over. These plants are so often seen in natural settings here people may think they’re native; they’re not. They originate in Asia.
Plant them with the expectation they will spread! Plant them where they will be seen by passerby! Plant them where you want a huge swath of colour mid summer! Take joy in their exuberance!