With summer in our rearview mirror and fall officially at our doorstep, now is the perfect time to divide your perennials. This is because dividing your perennials can be stressful and they’ll recover better from the shock in cooler, wetter conditions.
Dividing perennials is not only a great way to save money by getting plantings from your existing plants, but also a great way to keep your existing perennials healthy and recharge their blooming capabilities. Many perennials grow quickly and form large clumps that can die out in the middle or stop blooming altogether. By dividing them every three to four years you encourage regrowth and reblooming. Also, when perennials are left in large clumps they can become a susceptible to disease and insect infestations.
How To Divide Perennials
1. Water the perennial and surrounding area thoroughly before you dig it. This will soften the soil and make the dividing process easier. Dig up the clump of perennials to be divided by inserting a shovel deep into the soil around the perimeter to loosen roots and isolate the clump.
2. Be sure that your shovel is under the root ball and position the clump on the shovel. Then lift the shovel trying to keep the root system as intact as you can.
3. Once you dig the plant out of the ground, shake any excess soil from around the root ball. This makes it easier to pull the clump apart.
4. Cut apart individual crowns. Each clump needs to have its own set of leaves and roots in order to grow. Do not let the roots dry-out! If you cannot replant your divisions right away, wrap the roots in wet newspaper until you are ready.
5. Plant at the same depth as before and water well. A layer of mulch will help conserve moisture until your new divisions become established.
While most perennials benefit from being divided every 3-4 years, there are a few varieties that you should never divide. This includes: