Regents of the University of Minnesota. University of Minnesota Extension discovers science-based solutions, delivers practical education, and engages Minnesotans to build a better future. Dividing perennials, such as hostas, daylilies and peonies, is a great way to make the most of plants already in your garden. Dig up the parent plant using a spade or fork. These diagnostic tools will guide you step-by-step through diagnosing a plant problem or identifying a weed or insect. Divide when the plant is not flowering so it can focus all of its energy on regenerating root and leaf tissue. These are prety much all perennials with fiborous roots that have multiple corms or sections that produce their own stems. However with most other perennials I was nervous about killing the plants! 1996. This plant grows bigger and bigger every year and is a great option for dividing into multiple, smaller plants. Plants have stored up energy in their roots that will aid in their recovery. Condiment perennials can also be divided … For most perennials, the late summer and fall is the best time to divide. Reduced plant performance may not be the only reason to divide perennials. Numerous perennials can be divided and the pieces replanted with great success. You will have more plants of the same kind to add to your garden when you divide a perennial. Mulching helps prevent repeated freezing and thawing of the soil (during the winter months) that can heave plants out of the soil. Iris can stop blooming if not divided routinely. When perennials are divided, there is more space for roots to grow and absorb nutrients and water. Their scientific names are given in italics. Alternately you can take a spade and try to chop off a section and leave a portion of the plant in its place. Some perennials that do best when divided in the fall include garden peony, garden phlox, bearded iris, Siberian iris, and Asiatic lily. Perennials are plants that grow back each year. Perennials that flower after mid June are best divided in the spring. Julie Weisenhorn, Extension educator and Molly Furgeson. Delphinium grandiflorum: Delphinium: 1 to 3 years: Spring: Fall-dug plants often die over winter. 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), … Gardening with Perennials Month by Month. What perennials can be divided? 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. Smaller leaves and shoots will not suffer as much damage as full-grown leaves and stems. 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. 1994. 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. There is less gardening work to do in the fall compared with spring. 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. Dividing perennials can help manage the size of the plant. Divide your perennials to keep plants vigorous, improve the health of their foliage and to increase the number of blooms. All of these are signs that it is time to divide. 2011. Perennials with fleshy roots such as peonies (. All you need is a shovel and work gloves to get the job done. © Facts on File, New York, NY. Hosta. http://www.gardengatemagazine.com/articles/how-to/divide/how-to-divide-45-favorite-perennials/, 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. 1993. When perennials are divided, there is more space for roots to grow and absorb nutrients and water. Rain showers that generally come along with the early season are helpful. Nau, Jim. Spring and autumn are the recommended times, as those are the seasons when plants tend to establish new roots. 1998. The hosta plant is extremely hardy and very easy to keep alive. You can divide most perennials at any time of the year. Perennials that bloom in the spring, such as iris and poppies, can be divided in late summer to early fall. Encyclopedia of Perennials: A Gardener's Guide. Perennials that have occupied the same space for too many years can begin to fail. The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer. To lift a perennial with minimal root damage, begin digging at its drip line. Root systems like those of Ajuga can be divided by hand, whereas others may require a sharp knife. In addition, perennials often increase in size each year, which means they can often be divided … Arm yourself with two border forks, a spade and a tarpaulin. Or simply divide them for the sake of having multiple of your favorite 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.
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