Did you know that fall is the perfect time for dividing perennials? Here is a big hint : don’t keep transplants lying around for days to plant. Nau, Jim. Smaller leaves and shoots will not suffer as much damage as full-grown leaves and stems. Stonecrop sedum "Autumn Joy": Needs frequent dividing, especially when blooms fall over. Fall is a great time to get back out into the garden and start evaluating your perennial beds. To lift a perennial with minimal root damage, begin digging at its drip line. When to divide perennials Plants can be divided successfully at almost any time if they are kept well-watered afterwards. If division is indicated, spring is the preferred time to divide. Dividing perennials in the fall Spring considered best time to divide perennials, but some should be divided in fall . And it’s those extra divisions that can help you pack your flowerbeds full of plant life. The growth and performance of perennials decreases as the plants become crowded. Dividing Perennials 2 In terms of environmental conditions, it is best to divide perennials when the weather is cool and wet, usually in the spring and fall. 1. Encyclopedia of Perennials: A Gardener's Guide. Download the PDF or bookmark the Dividing perennials spreadsheet to find information specific to 125 common perennials. Before we begin, you will need a few tools to assist you in successfully dividing your plants. However, this is a rule that can generally be broken as long as when your are dividing perennials, you are keeping them well watered in their new homes. Divide the perennials when the plants are looking full and lush but before they start to show signs of overcrowding. Loosen the soil around the entire plant first, and then dig deep under the roots to pop the plant up from the ground. The best time to divide ornamental grasses is in the spring while they are still dormant. Fall or early spring are the best times for dividing perennials. There is less gardening work to do in the fall compared with spring. The Reasons to Divide Your Perennials… For either of these plants, he suggests cutting the foliage off to four to six inches, shaking off a little of the dirt, then using a sharp shovel to divide it into clumps. You can divide without digging, leave part of the plant in place, sprinkling fresh soil on it. To receive our 3 Home, Garden, Recipe and Simple Life articles each week, sign up below for our free email list. Dividing or splitting a single perennial into multiple plants helps the plant perform better. When transplanting, we fill all of our transplant holes back in with a 50/50 mix of soil and compost. Dividing plants is easy. In general, it is best to divide spring and summer blooming perennials in the fall, and fall bloomers in spring. We have used them for years to grow hundreds of starts until we need them for new beds or a different look in the landscape. But by getting these plants split and in the ground in the fall, it allows the roots to be ready to grow strong the following spring. Facts on File, New York, NY. Some gardeners prefer to divide some of the perennials listed above for spring division in fall, instead. The roots of a perennial plant are its lifeline, and the more you remove, the better chance of survival for new divisions. Separate and cut foliage back by 50%. You should divide opposite bloom time. Divide summer-flowering plants in spring (Mar-May) or autumn (Sep-Nov) when the soil is dry enough to work. Dividing perennials on a hot sunny day will dry out the roots much quicker causing great stress on the plant. Along with transplanting woody ornamentals, October is a good month to divide some perennial flowers. PUBLISHED ON August 3, 2017 “Most perennials need to be divided every few years, usually every 3-5 years, as they grow and become overcrowded,” Kari Houle explains. Product Link : Hori Hori Horticultural Knife. Perennials with fleshy roots such as peonies (. When perennials are divided, there is more space for roots to grow and absorb nutrients and water. Transplant to a new location as soon as you dig and divide, being careful not to let the roots dry out completely. That’s because the plants will have the fall and winter to grow new roots and become established before next year’s growing season. Rarely needs to be divided, so divide only for new plants, every 7 to 8 years: … Stipes Publishing Company, Champaign, IL. This is where our Hori-Hori knife is amazing. Including healthier plants, more blooms, and far less weeds in your beds. That means that you should have already divided plants like hostas. However, division is most successful when the plants are not in active growth. Using Pitch Forks to Divide Perennial Plants To divide the perennial, use two pitch forks to pry and split the plant apart. The Well-Tended Perennial Garden: Planting & Pruning Techniques. The topic is dividing perennials in the fall. When to Divide. 20 perennials that divide in the fall. Share | General Dividing Tips for Perennials . In Zones 3 to 5, you’ll want to plant earlier if you can. If dividing plants in the fall, prune plants back to just a … All you need to do is sink your shovel in the ground, loosen the soil deeply around the perimeter and grab the plant. Plants that bloom in the fall should always be divided in the spring when new growth is emerging. “Dividing perennials can help increase blooms, decrease crowding and stress, and – best of all – add more of your favorite plants throughout your garden.” Houle mentions that peonies are ones that should only be divided in the fall and only if needed. It slices through the toughest of perennials roots with ease. Dividing Perennials 2 In terms of environmental conditions, it is best to divide perennials when the weather is cool and wet, usually in the spring and fall. As their roots become overcrowded, it becomes difficult to absorb the nutrients and moisture plants need from the soil. Most are completely finished growing by fall up top, and they are simply heading into dormancy. September is a good month for most climates. Divide summer-flowering plants in spring (Mar-May) or autumn (Sep-Nov) when the soil is dry enough to work. Hostas are fairly tough plants, though, and can be divided at any time during the growing season if you carefully replant, water, and mulch the divided clumps. University of Minnesota Extension discovers science-based solutions, delivers practical education, and engages Minnesotans to build a better future. (Lucky!) By the following spring, plants are over the shock of planting, and ready to grow. Dividing Perennials in the Fall. Rain showers that generally come along with the early season are helpful. Pull or cut the plant apart to divide it. It’s also a great way to give a few plants away next spring to friends and family as a little spring gift! There’s a nice & simple rule about when to divide perennials: Divide spring bloomers in the fall, and fall bloomers in the spring. Gently lift the plant out of the ground and remove any loose dirt around the roots. Insert the forks into the center of the lifted plant so that the backs of the forks are touching each other and the tines are crossing. This argument is compelling in warm climates. should be divided in spring. And beyond keeping root structures healthy and blooms strong, it also creates a slew of additional plants – all for free! It allows the new divisions plenty of time to settle in and establish roots before winter sets in. 3 Tips To Help Divide Perennials When digging out plants, always remove as much of the root mass as possible. The growth and performance of perennials decreases as the plants become crowded. Press down so … Dividing perennials can help manage the size of the plant. During the fall season, focus on spring and summer blooming perennials that have gone dormant and whose roots have had plenty of time to get established. Most plants are divided in either the early spring or fall, but some plants can be divided at any time in the year. Start a few inches outside of the base of plants to ensure you remove the entire root ball. Divide perennials on a cloudy, overcast day as dividing on a hot sunny day can cause the plants to dry out. Wet, overly soggy soil makes it easy for mud to compact onto roots. But, in cold climates, there is the disadvantage that the newly divided perennial would then have to face the challenges posed by a … Dividing perennials is an easy and inexpensive way to gain additional plants for your garden or to share. All you need to do is sink your shovel in the ground, loosen the soil deeply around the perimeter and grab the plant. Spring and early summer flowering plants should be divided in the fall. Select larger plants with good foliage and strong growth habits. In early fall, there is less heat stress on your plants than there is at the height of summer. Astilba. For starters, it’s an excellent way to keep plants healthy and manageable over time. This will allow for plenty of root area to create new stock, giving the transplants an easier time to re-establish. When it comes to digging up, dividing, and transplanting perennials from your flowerbeds – fall is the time for action. Gardening with Perennials Month by Month. And the more you fill you beds with plants, the less space there is for weeds to take hold. All rights reserved. Still, Steven. Hosta: Divide hosta after plentiful rain or a thorough watering the evening before. Restricted airflow can lead to diseases. Timing is key when dividing perennials. You will have more plants of the same kind to add to your garden when you divide a perennial. The centre section can be discarded. By the following spring, plants are over the shock of planting, and ready to grow. Even more, it’s loose and airy make-up is perfect for new roots to become easily established. I’ve listed the most optimal times to divide specific perennials below. New growth is emerging and it is easier to see what you are doing. In regard to northern climates, winter heaving must be taken into consideration. © By dividing them at the appropriate time, more of the plant’s energy will go into growing new roots and leaves. Don’t attempt to transplant after heavy rains or watering. Extension is expanding its online education and resources to adapt to COVID-19 restrictions. It is easy to locate the plants that need dividing. This article may contain affiliate links. Here is to dividing and transplanting your perennials this fall – and to healthier, more productive flower beds next year! 1993. As a rule of thumb, spring and early summer flowering perennials are said to be best moved and divided in the fall, and any later summer through fall bloomers should be divided in the spring. The rhizome of astilba grows up and eventually appears on the surface, lacking moisture and risking freezing in winter. (Many won’t survive fall division.) The best way to create a strong new start from a perennial plant is dividing from a healthy, mature plant. The process starts by digging around the plant and then lifting the entire clump out of the ground. Division is usually started when growth resumes in the spring. Some gardeners advocate dividing spring-bloomers in fall and all other flowering plants in spring. It’s going to be fine. But dividing your perennials ever few years solves this issue. Compost is not only full of nutrients, it also helps retain moisture around the roots of plants. Some gardeners advocate dividing spring-bloomers in fall and all other flowering plants in spring. How To Create An Incredible Fall Compost Pile Now To Power Next Year’s Garden. The rule of thumb is to divide spring and summer bloomers in the fall. Regardless of which method is used, dividing the plant when it is not in bloom allows all the plant's energy to go to root and leaf growth. Reasons Why We Divide Perennials. Once your perennial has been lifted from the ground, turn it over so the foliage is face down. In general, it is best to divide spring and summer blooming perennials in the fall, and fall bloomers in spring. Julie Weisenhorn, Extension educator and Molly Furgeson. Reduced plant performance may not be the only reason to divide perennials. Some fleshy rooted perennials such as poppy, peony, and iris are best divided in the late summer to very early fall. Dividing perennials in the fall gives the plants more of a time for the roots to develop strongly into the soil before the next gardening season. This is because dividing your perennials can be stressful on the plants—and they'll recover better from the shock in cool, moist conditions. PUBLISHED ON August 3, 2017 “Most perennials need to be divided every few years, usually every 3-5 years, as they grow and become overcrowded,” Kari Houle explains. Timing and technique are everything when it comes time to dividing perennials. You will find information on when to divide, how often to divide and other helpful tips. It would also be helpful to thoroughly water the plants a day prior to dividing. We divide Astilba only if the flowering has declined. Heger, Mike, Lonnee, Debbie & Whitman, John. Shake the soil off the roots. Divide the perennial when it is not in bloom, so it can focus its energy on root and leaf growth. By flipping the plant over, it reveals the entire root structure, allowing you to split the plant in even sections. Make sure the plants are well watered. The topic is dividing perennials in the fall. Replant each divided section. Not only will it help to keep weeds out naturally with a thick coat of foliage, it also means less mulch and mulching chores too! When dividing plants in the fall, time it for four to six weeks before the ground freezes for the plants roots to become established. Dividing perennials in the fall Spring considered best time to divide perennials, but some should be divided in fall . Dig up your plant. 2011. Perennials grace our gardens year after year with their variety of brilliant colors and unique foliage forms. Allow the soil to dry out a bit before digging up plants. Early spring and late fall are the best times for division because the cool, rainy weather these two seasons bring helps plants make it through the stress of being dug up, divided, and transplanted. focus on spring and summer blooming perennials that have gone dormant They reason that, by dividing perennials in fall, the plant has several months to recuperate before summer's heat returns. Their scientific names are given in italics. Perennials with fleshy roots such as peonies (Paeonia spp. In this case, dig up the entire clump and divide the healthy outer ring into pieces. The best time to divide ornamental grasses is in the spring while they are still dormant. Usually division every two to three years is appropriate. Some common perennials that can be divided in the fall include hosta, black-eyed Susan, purple cone flower, daylily, garden peony and tickseed. First, gather your tools. Dividing perennial plants works best either before or after their blooming season since they're dormant. Fall division should take place between early September in the uppermost Piedmont and mid- to late October on the coast. 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. Fall blooming plants are best done in spring when new shoots have appeared. So when it’s time to divide your perennials, be brave. Dividing perennials in the fall gives the plants more of a time for the roots to develop strongly into the soil before the next gardening season. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, MN. 1994. Water the soil a day in advance if the area to be worked on is dry. If you’re dividing perennials in the spring, do it when top growth is two to three inches tall. This is great for keeping flowerbeds looking uniform and well-groomed. So what if you don’t have a place for your new plants just yet? When to Divide Your Perennials While you can divide most perennials any time from spring to fall, those two seasons are best. And of course, Zones 8 to 11 can pretty much plant year-round without a problem. The Best Time of Year to Divide Perennials. 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