Divide and Conquer: How to Propagate Perennials

Many perennials outgrow their space or lose vigor with age. Revive plants by dividing them when dormant and replanting. 

From: DK Books - Gardeners Guide
Overlay Labeling for Summer Perennial Garden

Overlay Labeling for Summer Perennial Garden

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Materials Needed

  • garden fork
  • two garden spades
  • trimming shears

Step 1: Lift Plant

Carefully Lift Plant in One Clump with Garden Fork

Carefully Lift Plant in One Clump with Garden Fork

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Most perennials need dividing every two or three years, but some grow more vigorously than others, requiring frequent division, while others flower better when congested, are slower growing, or resent disturbance. Dividing perennials is a useful way to propagate them. Carefully lift the plant, using a fork. Take care not to damage the roots as you do so. Gently shake off excess soil as you remove the clump.

Step 2: Separate Plants

Divide Larger Clumps with Garden Spade

Divide Larger Clumps with Garden Spade

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Separate plants by inserting two spades back-to-back in the center of the clump and pushing them away from each other to split the mound.

Step 3: Divide Clumps

Larger Clumps Divided By Gently Pulling Apart

Larger Clumps Divided By Gently Pulling Apart

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Divide the larger clumps into smaller, more manageable pieces using your hands. Discard any unhealthy-looking sections, and pull out any weeds.

Step 4: Trim Growth

Trim Away Old Growth and Replant in New Spot

Trim Away Old Growth and Replant in New Spot

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Trim away any old top growth, and replant the newly divided sections into their new positions at the same depth as before. Firm the soil around the roots well.

Next Up

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How to Propagate with Softwood Cuttings

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