MARTYN COX’S CITY GARDEN
Dividing day lilies, tidying perennials, autumn plans
ONE of the stars of my garden is the day lily – hemerocallis. I’ve got three different varieties that provide a non-stop display for about seven weeks in summer. The first yellow bloom opens in mid-June and plants are still going strong at the beginning of August.
They really are good value and require very little care, apart from regular deadheading, to ensure they continue to pump out fresh blooms. So I’ve decided to find space for other varieties and, as luck would have it, I already have some in containers that I’ve been nurturing for a few years. Having been potted up several times and given plenty to eat and drink during the growing season they’ve formed quite sizeable clumps, perfect for splitting into several smaller pieces.
It’s possible to plant the sections directly into the ground but I find plants pick up more readily if set in pots. Another good reason for starting divisions off in pots is that it’s easier to control slugs and snails, who love to feast on young shoots in late winter. Once the plants are established they are less vulnerable to the pests, so can go into the ground in early spring with a few slug pellets to protect them. Now is also a good time for dividing large clumps that have become shy to flower in the ground. To rejuvenate lift with a fork and slice through the mass of congested roots with a spade. It helps to prepare the ground prior to planting so sections can be planted immediately, rather than allow roots to dry out.
Hemerocallis divisions do best when first potted into containers