Drivers along the Appling-Harlem Highway see a masterful display of daylilies each summer at one home. And come fall, motorists likely will see Aubrey and Frankye Crawford hard at work dividing their multiplying lilies.
"We usually divide them every year or every other year," said Aubrey Crawford. "For most growers, they don't need to divide them but every three or four years."
The Crawfords have 450 to 500 daylilies in their yard, and taking care of the plants can be quite a job.
"We used to have more than 600 plants, but we're getting older and have cut back," said Crawford. "We try to do at least part of the dividing every year."
This year, the Crawfords will divide all of their lilies. They said following a few steps should make the job of dividing a little easier.
"You dig the clumps up and divide the fans," said Crawford. "For some, all you have to do is just shake them and the clumps come apart. If you have to break or cut the clumps, lay them out in a dry place and let them heal over for about a day or so before replanting them."
Daylilies can be divided in the fall or spring, but Crawford said he usually takes care of the job each fall. The frequency with which plants need to be divided depends on how fast they grow.
"When you dig up the clumps, go ahead and cut the foliage back 6 to 8 inches from the root," said Crawford. That makes it easier to handle the plants, he added.
Crawford said it's not necessary to replant the clump or rootball immediately after dividing; sometimes he lets his sit in a bucket for two to three weeks before they are replanted.
"They will look bad, but they will be fine after they are replanted," he said.
According to the United States National Arboretum, dividing lilies in early September gives the roots time to grow before winter comes.
When replanting the clumps, it is recommended that the hole be slightly less than the height of the rootball, and the width of the hole should be 6 to 9 inches greater than the width of the rootball.
Dividing is recommended because doing so helps the plant produce more flowers in subsequent years. After this fall's work, the Crawfords will sit back and wait for next summer's blooms.
There's bound to be an abundance of them during the annual daylily tour, which always features a stop at the Crawford home.
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