Moving Perennials in Winter
Tips for moving daylilies and irises in the middle of winter.
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Q. I'm planning to move in the middle of winter. Can I divide and move my daylilies and irises then?
A. As you know, late summer or early fall is a good time to divide and move these perennials, but sometimes our schedules won't comply. If your ground is typically frozen in winter, the best thing to do would be to ask a friend if you can borrow a space in his or her garden. Dig your daylilies and irises in the early fall, and move them to the temporary bed in a friend's garden; a trench about a foot deep would work. Just put all your perennials in there and replace the soil. You don't need to space them as you would if you were permanently planting them; just make sure there are no air pockets, then water well.
If you want to divide the perennials so that you're leaving the new buyers some of your perennials, divide them now, replant some sections in your yard and "plant" the others in the temporary bed. If you live in a colder climate and the ground is already below 50 degrees, dividing now is a bit riskier. The better option, then, is just to lift but not divide.
Seeds of certain hardy perennials need a period of chill before germinating.