You can offer these to family, friends, or transfer the plants to other areas in your garden or yard. These are just a few examples of plants that can be divided: Agapanthus, Anemone, Aster, Bergenia (elephant’s ears), Convallaria (lily-of-the-valley) Crocosmia, Dierama, Delphinium, Epimedium, Eryngium (sea holly), Euphorbia, Gentiana (gentian) Geranium, Helianthus, Hemerocallis (daylily), Hosta, Iris, Lychnis, Lysichiton, Lysimachia, ornamental grasses, Primula (primrose) Ranunculus (buttercup), … Numerous perennials can be divided and the pieces replanted with great success. Smaller leaves and shoots will not suffer as much damage as full-grown leaves and stems. Preparing for Division Although dividing perennials is good for the plants in the long run, it's still a shock to their system. Their root structures starts to become overcrowded. You can leave the foliage in tact to help shelter the new plants as they re-establish their roots. Perennials divided in late summer/early fall should be mulched with several inches of straw or pine needles in mid to late November. Perennials are plants that grow back each year. Generally speaking, crown division is performed after flowering. Divide your perennials to keep plants vigorous, improve the health of their foliage and to increase the number of blooms. Perennials like this lungwort can be divided for extra plants or to improve the health of the plant. Dividing or splitting a single perennial into multiple plants helps the plant perform better. 10 Perennials You can Divide or Transfer 1. In addition, perennials often increase in size each year, which means they can often be divided … To lift a perennial with minimal root damage, begin digging at its drip line. Ball Perennial Manual: Propagation and Production. Hudak, Joseph. Because every perennial has a preferred way to be divided, use this handy chart to help you know what time of year to divide, how to divide it and a handful of other helpful tips to ensure your success. 1996. These diagnostic tools will guide you step-by-step through diagnosing a plant problem or identifying a weed or insect. Plants with spreading root systems include asters, bee balm, lamb’s ear, purple cornflowers, and many other common perennials. Growing Perennials in Cold Climates. Similarly, most bulbs reproduce by forming clusters of new bulbs which you can divide in exactly the same way that you divide colony-forming perennials. Gardening Perennials Plants Lupine (Lupinus Popsicle Series Mixed) In areas with cool summers, lupines are a prized perennial that attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Lift the whole plant and drag it onto the tarpaulin. Plants that have multiplied into big clumps can take over and compete with others for moisture and nutrients in the soil. Dig up the parent plant using a spade or fork. Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work in the garden. Dividing perennials is simple, easy, and an absolutely free way to create hundreds of new plants for your landscape. © Keep these divisions shaded and moist until they are replanted. The Well-Tended Perennial Garden: Planting & Pruning Techniques. You can divide most perennials at any time of the year. Divide perennials on a cloudy, overcast day as dividing on a hot sunny day can cause the plants to dry out. When perennials are divided, there is more space for roots to grow and absorb nutrients and water. Plants with separate rosettes and fibrous roots, such as primroses, can be dug up and divided as their flowers start to fade, while hostas and other perennials with impenetrable root balls can be cut up with a sharp knife or spade. Their scientific names are given in italics. 1993. The general rule is that spring and summer flowering plants need to be divided in the fall, and everything else should be divided in the spring. Summer-blooming perennials must be divided in fall. Division is an easy and inexpensive way to increase the number of plants in your garden. Alternately you can take a spade and try to chop off a section and leave a portion of the plant in its place. Arm yourself with two border forks, a spade and a tarpaulin. 2021 Advertisement Dividing involves splitting an established plant into several pieces, each of which has a section of the roots. It is easy to locate the plants that need dividing. Reduced plant performance may not be the only reason to divide perennials. The following are examples of perennials you can divide at any point in the growing season, except for during the very hottest periods of the summer: Bugleweed ( Ajuga reptans ) … These are prety much all perennials with fiborous roots that have multiple corms or sections that produce their own stems. Timber Press, Portland, OR. Some gardeners advocate dividing spring-bloomers in fall and all other flowering plants in spring. This is particularly important in colder, northern climates. Hosta are typically quite strong and thrive on being divided. Dividing perennials can help manage the size of the plant. You will have more plants of the same kind to add to your garden when you divide a perennial. Dividing the plants into smaller sections reduces this competition and stimulates new growth as well as more vigorous blooming. DiSabato-Aust, Tracy. Aka these are plants that make their own little … However with most other perennials I was nervous about killing the plants! For most perennials, the late summer and fall is the best time to divide. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we Division is a great way to replicate a perennials already in your yard, and a great way to … This rule is one that many gardeners break with regularity, experiencing relatively few problems. You can also divide perennial herbs in the garden to expand your harvest. Coreopsis: Tickseed: 1 to 3 years: Spring (or Early Fall) Cut crown apart with sharp knife. What perennials can be divided? Rain showers that generally come along with the early season are helpful. How to divide. Download the PDF or bookmark the Dividing perennials spreadsheet to find information specific to 125 common perennials. Coreopsis grandiflora and Coreopsis lanceolata live longer if divided every 2 to 3 years. Timber Press, Portland OR. Some plants don't like to be divided or moved at all. There is less gardening work to do in the fall compared with spring. All you need is a shovel and work gloves to get the job done. 2011. Overcrowded plants compete for nutrients and water. Mulching helps prevent repeated freezing and thawing of the soil (during the winter months) that can heave plants out of the soil. Late summer and early fall is the time to plant, divide, and transplant many different perennials, shrubs, and trees including spring flowering perennials. Dividing perennials, such as hostas, daylilies and peonies, is a great way to make the most of plants already in your garden. Perennials that bloom in the spring, such as iris and poppies, can be divided in late summer to early fall. Or simply divide them for the sake of having multiple of your favorite plants! Extension is expanding its online education and resources to adapt to COVID-19 restrictions. Divide to keep invasive nature under control. have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality. This allows for a lot of root growth in the ground to get the division good and established before they set on a lot of top growth. Beyond creating new plants, dividing is the perfect way to keep plants healthy and under control. New growth is emerging and it is easier to see what you are doing. Fall-blooming perennials are to be divided in spring, usually in April. It depends on the plant and variety. These homebodies include peonies and tree peonies, foxtail lilies, bleeding hearts, goatsbeard and butterfly milkweed. Most plants are divided in either the early spring or fall, but some plants can be divided at any time in the year. blooming perennials should be divided sometime in April, as soon as new growth is detected. “Usually, the plants let you know when they need to be divided,” said Brister, “OR if your friends want some of your plants, then divide away!” Healthy plants do their best to stick around. Hosta. Since plants grow at varying rates, division may be used to keep plants that spread rapidly under control. Plants should be divided when they're dormant, in late autumn or early spring. Peonies are a good example of a plant that prefers to be transplanted in autumn if it must happen at all. Julie Weisenhorn, Extension educator and Molly Furgeson. Keep in mind that each perennial’s root type determines how it likes to be cut and divided. However the best time is when the soil temperature is staying warmer than the air temperature. Wood, Christopher. Some can be invasive unless divided frequently. All rights reserved. Or simply divide them for the sake of … The following perennials are great for dividing and transplanting. Follow these simple steps to reach healthy-looking perennials. 1994. These can crowd out their own centers. Plants divided in spring have the entire growing season to recover before winter. Divide when the plant is not flowering so it can focus all of its energy on regenerating root and leaf tissue. Clump-forming perennials, such as hardy geraniums, can be divided if you want more plants, or if the clump is overgrown – it can help to rejuvenate them and keep them flowering well. They can usually can be pulled apart by hand, or cut apart with shears or knife. Stipes Publishing Company, Champaign, IL. When dividing plants in the fall, time it for four to six weeks before the ground freezes for the plants roots to become established. 1992. Each division should have three to five vigorous shoots and a healthy supply of roots. However, just as different plants can go different lengths of time before being divided, some plants, such as peonies, do better when divided in the early fall. Gardening with Perennials Month by Month. Dividing perennials can help manage the size of the plant. Some perennials that do best when divided in the fall include garden peony, garden phlox, bearded iris, Siberian iris, and Asiatic lily. Plants have stored up energy in their roots that will aid in their recovery. Spring and autumn are the recommended times, as those are the seasons when plants tend to establish new roots. The difference is that some perennials, such as peonies, can go more than a decade without being divided, while others, such as chrysanthemums or ornamental grasses, like to be dug and separated every couple of years. The … Division works best on perennials that grow into colonies — groups where each new plant develops its own set of roots and leaves. University of Minnesota Extension discovers science-based solutions, delivers practical education, and engages Minnesotans to build a better future. Condiment perennials can also be divided … Perennial flowers work in multiple situations: in whole garden beds, in combination with annuals and bulbs, as accent to shrubs and trees, and in containers and windowboxes. Dividing or splitting a single perennial into multiple plants helps the plant perform better. Gently lift the plant out of the ground and remove any loose dirt around the roots. Knowing the time is near, you may ask, “How do I know when my perennials are ready to divide?” There a few tell-tale signs to look for that will help you know when to divide. The plants are listed in alphabetical order by common name. Hosta plant. Don’t forget spring bulbs, which can be lifted and prised apart as the foliage dies down. Divide in spring; lift clump and cut into sections; Easy to divide; divide every 2 to 3 years to keep plants blooming and vigorous; discard dead central portion, Divide every 3 years or when flowering diminishes; discard the woody center and plant the edge pieces, A ring of foliage around a dead center tells you it’s time to divide; usually every 3 to 4 years is sufficient, Rarely needs to be divided; tough roots make dividing difficult; leave plenty of room around new transplants because the plant gets large, Divide every 3 to 5 years to keep plants vigorous, Rarely needs to be divided; if you do divide it, do it in early spring while plants are in bloom or right after they stop flowering, Easy to divide in early spring when foliage is emerging; dividing large clumps later won’t harm plants but leaves them lopsided for the summer, Rarely needs to be divided, so divide only for new plants, every 7 to 8 years. Perennials with fleshy roots such as peonies (. The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Delphinium grandiflorum: Delphinium: 1 to 3 years: Spring: Fall-dug plants often die over winter. Plants with fleshy roots, such as heucheras and primulas, are best divided regularly once the plants become lax and leggy. Manual of Herbaceous Landscape Plants. Renew and Refresh Perennial Flowers Over time, most perennials need to be divided. 1998. The rest of my perennials I started dividing purely by accident. Water the soil a day in advance if the area to be worked on is dry. When is the best time to divide a bunch? For more information head to over to Three Ways to Divide Perennials to help you know. Iris can stop blooming if not divided routinely. Still, Steven. Nau, Jim. When perennials are divided, there is more space for roots to grow and absorb nutrients and water. Restricted airflow can lead to diseases. All rights reserved. Other perennials that can be divided in spring include coreopsis, daylily, garden phlox, speedwell, and hardy zinnia. Active Interest Media Holdco, Inc. © Copyright 2021. Divide the perennial when it is not in bloom, so it can focus its energy on root and leaf growth. Dividing Additional Perennials For nearly all other perennials, begin by cutting any spent blooms and stems back to the ground base. Facts on File, New York, NY. One rule of thumb for division is this: perennials that flower between early spring and mid June are best divided in early fall. A hori hori digging … After a few years in the garden, these perennials may start to produce smaller blooms, develop a 'bald spot' at the center of their crown, or require staking to prevent their stems from falling over. Most perennials can be divided every two to three years. Divide in early spring for easy handling; for fall division, cut back flowers; Divide in spring or fall; easiest in early spring as leaves begin to emerge; doesn’t need frequent division, This hardy plant roots along the stem; cut a piece off the edge and replant; cut leaves back by half; don’t overwater, Rhizomes pull apart easily; make sure each new division has a leaf and a cluster of roots, Big leaves wilt easily; cut each leaf back by half and keep summer transplants well watered, Divide in midsummer; foliage goes dormant quickly after flowering so mark the plant’s location; keep new transplants watered, New plants will take a few years to flower; set new plants at same depth as they were previously or they won’t bloom; keep watered; does not need to be divided often, Very difficult to divide because of taproot; for best results, purchase new plants, Divide every 5 or 6 years or when plant dies out in the center, Easiest to divide in spring when foliage is still small; dividing clumps later won’t harm plant but may reduce bloom for the year, Easiest to divide in spring when foliage is still small; dividing clumps later won’t harm plant but will reduce bloom and leave plants lopsided for the year, Easy to slice into pieces; make sure to get plenty of roots with each new section, Divide every 4 years or as needed; if you divide in fall, wait until the plant is done flowering, Easy to divide; most types spread quickly so divide every 2 to 3 years. Ball Publishing, West Chicago, IL. Encyclopedia of Perennials: A Gardener's Guide. Ideally, divide plants when there are a couple days of showers in the forecast to provide enough moisture for the new transplants. Gardeners know that producing more plants is the main reason to divide your perennials, but not all perennials can be divided. Perennials such as asters, hostas, and yarrow can be divided easily with no hassle. This plant grows bigger and bigger every year and is a great option for dividing into multiple, smaller plants. Perennials grace our gardens year after year with their variety of brilliant colors and unique foliage forms. Perennials that flower after mid June are best divided in the spring., How to Propagate Rex Begonias from Leaf Cuttings, Divide in early spring or after it stops blooming in late summer to early fall; will bloom better with division every 2 to 3 years, Easy to divide; needs to be divided every 1 to 2 years to keep plants vigorous, Divide in summer when flowering is over, at least 6 weeks before frost so plants have time to get established, Spreads quickly; easy to divide; for ease of handling, divide in spring as foliage is emerging, Easy to divide; divide every 3 to 4 years; for best appearance next season, don’t make divisions too small, Easy to divide; roots usually pull apart easily by hand; divide every 3 to 4 years, Divide as foliage goes dormant in the heat or mark plant location; roots are brittle, handle carefully, Divide in late spring to early summer, after blooming; will reseed but divide to keep specific cultivars true. … Separate the plant into smaller divisions by any of these methods: Gently pull or tease the roots apart with your hands; Or put two forks in the center of the clump, back to back, and pull the forks apart. Handle your plants… Plants root as they spread; no need to dig whole plant; Difficult to divide because of taproot; for best results, purchase new plants, Doesn’t need division often; cut back whole plant by half so roots have less foliage to support, Divide every few years to keep this short-lived perennial around; reseeds but seedlings may not look like parent plants, Easy to divide; divide every 4 to 5 years for healthier plants; reseeds and seedlings are easy to transplant, Don’t worry about getting roots with each piece, they’ll sprout from the stem; cut individual leaves back by half to conserve moisture, Division every 3 to 4 years helps this short-lived perennial stay around longer; cut plant back by half, Divide every 5 to 7 years; rebloomers are best lifted in spring before they flower, Blooms best if divided down into small sections; division every 2 to 3 years will prolong plants’ life, Mat-forming types root as they grow; cut a rooted piece from the edge and replant, Easy to dig and split; likes moist to wet soils, so keep new plants well watered, Doesn’t like to have main clump disturbed; sends out underground runners so dig small new plants around the edges to transplant, Difficult to divide because of taproot; for best results, purchase new plants; slow to recover from being moved. Perennials that have occupied the same space for too many years can begin to fail. Heger, Mike, Lonnee, Debbie & Whitman, John. Growing landscapes to help bees and other pollinators. Regents of the University of Minnesota. Start at the drip line. You will find information on when to divide, how often to divide and other helpful tips. All of these are signs that it is time to divide. Perennials are plants that grow back each year. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, MN. Divide your perennials to keep plants vigorous, improve the health of their foliage and to increase the number of blooms. Root systems like those of Ajuga can be divided by hand, whereas others may require a sharp knife. The hosta plant is extremely hardy and very easy to keep alive. You can divide perennials most any time of the year (during the winter is not a great time).