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