Tips for Dividing Perennials

Learn the best time for dividing perennials in your garden

Font
  • A
  • A
  • A

E-mail This Page to Your Friends

x

All fields are required.

Separate multiple e-mail addresses with a comma; Maximum 20 email addresses.

Refresh

Sending E-mail

Sending E-mail

Or Do Not E-mail

Success!

A link to %this page% was e-mailed

Purple Perennials

Even though perennials bloom year after year, that doesn't mean that you can plant them and forget them. The best way to keep them healthy and to keep them from crowding out other plants is to divide them before summer growth begins.

For perennials that bloom in spring to early summer, fall is the best time to divide:

  • Irises
  • Bleeding hearts
  • Lilies of the valley


For perennials that bloom in summer or fall, divide in spring:

  • Vinca
  • Ornamental grasses
  • Chrysanthemums
  • Siberian irises
  • Daylilies
  • Purple coneflowers
  • Obedient plants
  • Hostas
  • Many groundcovers


Thin perennials when they start getting overgrown. When crowded, the plants produce fewer blooms and are more likely to become diseased. Thinning is an easy, inexpensive way to generate more plants and to prevent one species from crowding out others.

The basic tools you need for this task are:

  • Clean plastic pots
  • Potting soil
  • Pair of shears
  • Strong, sharp knife
  • Sharp spade
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Plastic bags


A few tips to keep in mind as you divide perennials:

  • Resist the temptation to use soil from your garden when planting new divisions in containers; the soil becomes hard and compact, and plants suffer from a lack of oxygen to their roots. Instead, use potting soil.
  • Divide perennials late in the day or when the sky is overcast; keeping new divisions out of direct sunlight spares them from extra stress during replanting.
  • If you live in a warmer climate (Zones 7 to 10) and your perennials have already started growing, you can still divide the crowded plants, but they may not recover as quickly as dormant plants.

More From Perennial Power

Perennials That Love the Sun

Perennials That Love the Sun

Get ideas for perennials that thrive in sunny gardens from HGTV.com experts.

(15 photos)
Bad Boys of Ornamental Grasses

Bad Boys of Ornamental Grasses

Many ornamental grasses are graceful garden ornaments, and then there are others that you'll wish you'd never planted.

Perennial Power

Perennial Power

Perennial Power

(9 videos)
Advertisement

HGTV Outdoors Newsletter

Find out how to make the most of patios, decks and all your outdoor areas, plus tips from master gardeners for beautiful flower beds and bountiful vegetable gardens.