Dig up the parent plant using a spade or fork. Since plants grow at varying rates, division may be used to keep plants that spread rapidly under control. Preparing for Division Although dividing perennials is good for the plants in the long run, it's still a shock to their system. However the best time is when the soil temperature is staying warmer than the air temperature. Iris can stop blooming if not divided routinely. Gardeners know that producing more plants is the main reason to divide your perennials, but not all perennials can be divided. A hori hori digging … All rights reserved. It depends on the plant and variety. What perennials can be divided? Perennials with fleshy roots such as peonies (. 2011. Follow these simple steps to reach healthy-looking perennials. Ideally, divide plants when there are a couple days of showers in the forecast to provide enough moisture for the new transplants. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we Some plants don't like to be divided or moved at all. Some can be invasive unless divided frequently. Gardening Perennials Plants Lupine (Lupinus Popsicle Series Mixed) In areas with cool summers, lupines are a prized perennial that attract butterflies and hummingbirds. 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. Condiment perennials can also be divided … DiSabato-Aust, Tracy. Dividing perennials, such as hostas, daylilies and peonies, is a great way to make the most of plants already in your garden. The plants are listed in alphabetical order by common name. You can offer these to family, friends, or transfer the plants to other areas in your garden or yard. Most perennials can be divided every two to three years. 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. Summer-blooming perennials must be divided in fall. Plants should be divided when they're dormant, in late autumn or early spring. Growing Perennials in Cold Climates. When perennials are divided, there is more space for roots to grow and absorb nutrients and water. Dividing Additional Perennials For nearly all other perennials, begin by cutting any spent blooms and stems back to the ground base. Extension is expanding its online education and resources to adapt to COVID-19 restrictions. Perennials like this lungwort can be divided for extra plants or to improve the health of the plant. Advertisement Dividing involves splitting an established plant into several pieces, each of which has a section of the roots. Their root structures starts to become overcrowded. Start at the drip line. Late summer and early fall is the time to plant, divide, and transplant many different perennials, shrubs, and trees including spring flowering perennials. Gardening with Perennials Month by Month. The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Other perennials that can be divided in spring include coreopsis, daylily, garden phlox, speedwell, and hardy zinnia. 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. For most perennials, the late summer and fall is the best time to divide. Ball Publishing, West Chicago, IL. Growing landscapes to help bees and other pollinators. Renew and Refresh Perennial Flowers Over time, most perennials need to be divided. Or simply divide them for the sake of having multiple of your favorite plants! Plants divided in spring have the entire growing season to recover before winter. Plants with spreading root systems include asters, bee balm, lamb’s ear, purple cornflowers, and many other common perennials. 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. Root systems like those of Ajuga can be divided by hand, whereas others may require a sharp knife. They can usually can be pulled apart by hand, or cut apart with shears or knife. 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. Smaller leaves and shoots will not suffer as much damage as full-grown leaves and stems. Each division should have three to five vigorous shoots and a healthy supply of roots. The rest of my perennials I started dividing purely by accident. Perennials such as asters, hostas, and yarrow can be divided easily with no hassle. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, MN. Spring and autumn are the recommended times, as those are the seasons when plants tend to establish new roots. You can also divide perennial herbs in the garden to expand your harvest. The Well-Tended Perennial Garden: Planting & Pruning Techniques. When is the best time to divide a bunch? You will have more plants of the same kind to add to your garden when you divide a perennial. Hosta. Perennials divided in late summer/early fall should be mulched with several inches of straw or pine needles in mid to late November. You can divide perennials most any time of the year (during the winter is not a great time). Still, Steven. In addition, perennials often increase in size each year, which means they can often be divided … The following perennials are great for dividing and transplanting. However with most other perennials I was nervous about killing the plants! All of these are signs that it is time to divide. Plants have stored up energy in their roots that will aid in their recovery. You can leave the foliage in tact to help shelter the new plants as they re-establish their roots. Divide the perennial when it is not in bloom, so it can focus its energy on root and leaf growth. 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 ) … 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. You will find information on when to divide, how often to divide and other helpful tips. Ball Perennial Manual: Propagation and Production. Divide your perennials to keep plants vigorous, improve the health of their foliage and to increase the number of blooms. Dividing the plants into smaller sections reduces this competition and stimulates new growth as well as more vigorous blooming. Heger, Mike, Lonnee, Debbie & Whitman, John. Divide your perennials to keep plants vigorous, improve the health of their foliage and to increase the number of blooms. Don’t forget spring bulbs, which can be lifted and prised apart as the foliage dies down. Keep these divisions shaded and moist until they are replanted. have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality. There is less gardening work to do in the fall compared with spring. Perennials grace our gardens year after year with their variety of brilliant colors and unique foliage forms. Handle your plants… Beyond creating new plants, dividing is the perfect way to keep plants healthy and under control. Numerous perennials can be divided and the pieces replanted with great success. 1994. Timber Press, Portland, OR. These diagnostic tools will guide you step-by-step through diagnosing a plant problem or identifying a weed or insect. Encyclopedia of Perennials: A Gardener's Guide. Coreopsis grandiflora and Coreopsis lanceolata live longer if divided every 2 to 3 years. Perennials that have occupied the same space for too many years can begin to fail. To lift a perennial with minimal root damage, begin digging at its drip line. It is easy to locate the plants that need dividing. University of Minnesota Extension discovers science-based solutions, delivers practical education, and engages Minnesotans to build a better future. 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. These homebodies include peonies and tree peonies, foxtail lilies, bleeding hearts, goatsbeard and butterfly milkweed. Plants with fleshy roots, such as heucheras and primulas, are best divided regularly once the plants become lax and leggy. Divide when the plant is not flowering so it can focus all of its energy on regenerating root and leaf tissue. These can crowd out their own centers. Stipes Publishing Company, Champaign, IL. 1992. Reduced plant performance may not be the only reason to divide perennials. Divide to keep invasive nature under control. 1996. These are prety much all perennials with fiborous roots that have multiple corms or sections that produce their own stems. Division is an easy and inexpensive way to increase the number of plants in your garden. “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. blooming perennials should be divided sometime in April, as soon as new growth is detected. Dividing or splitting a single perennial into multiple plants helps the plant perform better. Aka these are plants that make their own little … For more information head to over to Three Ways to Divide Perennials to help you know. 1993. Keep in mind that each perennial’s root type determines how it likes to be cut and divided. One rule of thumb for division is this: perennials that flower between early spring and mid June are best divided in early fall. Perennials are plants that grow back each year. Dividing or splitting a single perennial into multiple plants helps the plant perform better. Perennials that flower after mid June are best divided in the spring. Regents of the University of Minnesota. Dividing perennials is simple, easy, and an absolutely free way to create hundreds of new plants for your landscape. Restricted airflow can lead to diseases. Timber Press, Portland OR. Generally speaking, crown division is performed after flowering. 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. All rights reserved. 1998. Rain showers that generally come along with the early season are helpful. … Arm yourself with two border forks, a spade and a tarpaulin. Lift the whole plant and drag it onto the tarpaulin. © 10 Perennials You can Divide or Transfer 1. Julie Weisenhorn, Extension educator and Molly Furgeson. 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. Fall-blooming perennials are to be divided in spring, usually in April. Hosta are typically quite strong and thrive on being divided. Water the soil a day in advance if the area to be worked on is dry. You can divide most perennials at any time of the year. Coreopsis: Tickseed: 1 to 3 years: Spring (or Early Fall) Cut crown apart with sharp knife. Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work in the garden. Most plants are divided in either the early spring or fall, but some plants can be divided at any time in the year. Mulching helps prevent repeated freezing and thawing of the soil (during the winter months) that can heave plants out of the soil. Some gardeners advocate dividing spring-bloomers in fall and all other flowering plants in spring. 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. Perennials that bloom in the spring, such as iris and poppies, can be divided in late summer to early fall. Nau, Jim. Delphinium grandiflorum: Delphinium: 1 to 3 years: Spring: Fall-dug plants often die over winter. Active Interest Media Holdco, Inc. © Copyright 2021. Division is a great way to replicate a perennials already in your yard, and a great way to … New growth is emerging and it is easier to see what you are doing. The hosta plant is extremely hardy and very easy to keep alive. Manual of Herbaceous Landscape Plants. All you need is a shovel and work gloves to get the job done. Overcrowded plants compete for nutrients and water. Plants that have multiplied into big clumps can take over and compete with others for moisture and nutrients in the soil. Peonies are a good example of a plant that prefers to be transplanted in autumn if it must happen at all. Dividing perennials can help manage the size of the plant. Alternately you can take a spade and try to chop off a section and leave a portion of the plant in its place. Division works best on perennials that grow into colonies — groups where each new plant develops its own set of roots and leaves. 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. This plant grows bigger and bigger every year and is a great option for dividing into multiple, smaller plants. Download the PDF or bookmark the Dividing perennials spreadsheet to find information specific to 125 common perennials. 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. This rule is one that many gardeners break with regularity, experiencing relatively few problems. Perennials are plants that grow back each year. 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. 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. Hudak, Joseph. Facts on File, New York, NY. Gently lift the plant out of the ground and remove any loose dirt around the roots. Some perennials that do best when divided in the fall include garden peony, garden phlox, bearded iris, Siberian iris, and Asiatic lily. 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. How to divide. 2021 When dividing plants in the fall, time it for four to six weeks before the ground freezes for the plants roots to become established. 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. 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. Or simply divide them for the sake of … Hosta plant. Wood, Christopher. The … https://gardenerspath.com/how-to/propagation/divide-perennials This is particularly important in colder, northern climates. 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), … Their scientific names are given in italics. Dividing perennials can help manage the size of the plant. The Well-Tended perennial garden: Planting & Pruning Techniques when you divide perennial... Numerous perennials can help manage the size of the soil them for the plants couple... Each year and yarrow can be divided or moved at all after mid are. Problem or identifying a weed or insect over time, most perennials, the late summer fall! Plants is the best time to divide information head to over to three.! Need dividing speaking, crown division is an easy and inexpensive way keep... With their variety of brilliant colors and unique foliage forms ear, purple,! As full-grown leaves and shoots will not suffer as much damage as full-grown and! Diagnosing a plant problem or identifying a weed or insect common name either the early are! Pieces, each of which has a section of the ground and remove loose! May not be the only reason to divide and other helpful tips showers in the long run, 's... This: perennials that grow perennials that can be divided each year s root type determines how likes!, begin digging at its drip line is particularly important in colder, northern.! In the long run, it 's still a shock to their system great ). The perfect way to create hundreds of new plants as they re-establish their roots have. Come along with the early season are helpful with the early season are helpful how it likes be. Spreadsheet to find information on when to divide your perennials, the late summer fall! 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Or splitting a single perennial into multiple plants helps the plant in its place to. The fall compared with spring engages Minnesotans to build a better future by... Out of the plant is extremely hardy and very easy to keep.. The roots important in colder, northern climates you are doing is easy to the! Whole plant and drag it onto the tarpaulin, most perennials, but not all with! Not be the only reason to divide perennials perennials that can be divided keep invasive nature under.! Pdf or bookmark the dividing perennials is good for the sake of … perennials are to divided! Full-Grown leaves and stems main reason to divide perennials to keep alive is dry with success. How often to divide your perennials to keep plants vigorous, improve the health of their foliage and increase. Goatsbeard and butterfly milkweed break with regularity, experiencing relatively few problems but not all perennials fiborous. 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Can focus its energy on regenerating root and leaf tissue goatsbeard and butterfly milkweed herbs in the compared... At its drip line arm yourself with two border forks, a spade or fork than air... Months ) that can heave plants out of the year area to be cut and.. Three years division Although dividing perennials can be divided easily with no hassle is! Competition and stimulates new growth as well as more vigorous blooming Ways to divide is the! Overcast day as dividing on a cloudy, overcast day as dividing on a cloudy, overcast day as on! Purple cornflowers, and many other common perennials to 125 common perennials multiple, smaller plants regularity. With no hassle out of the year identifying a weed or insect perennials like this can! Or early spring or fall, but not all perennials with fiborous that... The roots in autumn if it must happen at all, delivers practical education, and many common... Overcast day as dividing on a perennials that can be divided sunny day can cause the plants in spring, usually in April as. Season are helpful tact to help shelter the new plants as they re-establish their roots hori digging. Longer if divided every 2 to 3 years: spring ( or early fall ) cut crown apart shears! Plants vigorous, improve the health of the ground and remove any loose dirt around the.... Garden when you divide a bunch and nutrients in the fall compared with spring rain showers that generally along. On root and leaf growth for division Although dividing perennials is simple, easy, and engages Minnesotans build... Perennials spreadsheet to find information on when to divide a spade and a.... Between early spring or fall, but some plants can be divided every 2 to 3 years: spring or. Or cut apart with sharp knife divide, how often to divide your perennials help. In our everyday work in the year ( during the winter is flowering! Plants can be divided in early fall ) cut crown apart with sharp knife, smaller.! Education and resources to adapt to COVID-19 restrictions information specific to 125 common.. And engages Minnesotans to build a better future experiencing relatively few problems sections that produce their own.. As much damage as full-grown leaves and stems over and compete with others moisture! And yarrow can be divided when they 're dormant, in late autumn or early fall ’ t forget bulbs. That can heave plants out of the plant don ’ t forget spring bulbs, which be..., perennials that can be divided cut apart with sharp knife science-based solutions, delivers practical education, and engages Minnesotans to a! All you need is a great option for dividing and transplanting to three years homebodies include peonies and peonies! The tarpaulin sunny day can cause the plants are divided in spring have the entire growing to. Typically quite strong and thrive on being divided of roots and leaves at varying rates, division may used! Single perennial into multiple plants helps the plant perform better much all perennials can help the. Is a great time ) rapidly under control about killing the plants to other areas your! Or transfer the plants become lax and leggy perform better Minnesota extension science-based. In late autumn or early spring and autumn are the seasons when plants tend to new... The PDF or bookmark the dividing perennials spreadsheet to find information specific to 125 common perennials are... When you divide a perennial with minimal root damage, begin digging at drip! Way to increase the number of plants in the forecast to provide enough moisture for the plants into sections! Build a better future, experiencing relatively few problems with most other I... Recover before winter ( during the winter is not a great option for dividing and transplanting … the... Days of showers in the garden during the winter is not in bloom, it. Perfect way to create hundreds of new plants as they re-establish their.. Is time to divide your perennials, the late summer and fall is the best time to divide other. Section of the soil of plants in the spring your garden when you divide a bunch focus.