Thursday, August 26, 2010


Dividing your perennials is a relatively fast, easy, and reliable way to propagate your plants that have roots.  Most perennials do best if divided after 2-3 years, although some can last as long as 4-5 years without division.  You'll know if the plant needs division if bloom count or size has reduced, the centers have become woody, or the plant just isn't as healthy because it has overgrown its space.  Ideally, division should take place on a cloudy day, free from wind.  Sun and wind can dry out the roots as you work.  (You can keep them moist by spraying them with the hose, or covering them with a wet paper towel or newspaper). If it's woody in the center, make divisions from the outside of the plant and throw the old center away.  Use a pitchfork to dig up plants--this keeps the roots intact better than a shovel.  A good rule to follow is to have the area prepared where you're transplanting, and plant immediately after digging.  If you can't replant immediately, cover and put in a shady place.  I have a nice place that I can actually heel in the plants in moist soil until I'm ready for the permanent spot.  If you divide in the fall, make sure you give adequate time for new roots to get established.  Mulch well to give the newly planted perennials protection through the winter months.  Spring and Fall are the best months to divide.  The plants aren't as stressed, and cool soil temperatures promote new root development. If the plant flowers in spring, I suggest dividing in the fall, to better ensure it flowers in the spring.  If you divide in summer, and the plants are actively growing, cut them down by at least one-half.  Try to keep as much soil around the roots as possible, and make sure you water them in good to remove any air pockets after transplanting.  Keep them moist--don't let the soil dry out.  If you want, you can just divide from the outer edges of a plant that you want more of, but you're not dividing the whole plant yet.  Just take a shovel and dig out a piece around the perimeter, keeping the soil around the roots, and transplant as is.  Then refill the hole with soil around the mother plant.  Some plants that really benefit from division are: Daylilies, Iris, Hosta, Lamb's Ear, Bee Balm, Mums, Delphinium, Foxglove, Phlox, Coral Bells, and Asiatic Lilies.  When you replant, plant the healthiest, biggest divisions.  Another good rule to follow is to leave 3-5 shoots per division.  As cooler weather is approaching, it will soon be a great time to transplant.  I like to divide up the plants I can, and get the beds organized in September-October so that in the spring, everything is ready to bloom and is looking good!  It will be great to work in coolor weather--I'm always excited for a great fall--hope it will be a nice, long one! 
Susanne Holland Spicker Mother, Grandmother, Homemaker, Gardener, Teacher, Photographer

Passion is defined as the love of, or the object(s) of affection and emotion. I am passionate about family, friends, flowers, food, photography and fabulous music! This blog is dedicated to those loves.

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