Here's how we divide herbaceous perennials. See techniques on how to divide perennials to increase the number of healthy plants. As an added bonus, when you divide perennials you normally end up with more plants than you need, so it’s a great way to increase your stock of a plant. Spring is a good time to divide and move perennials. Restricted airflow can lead to diseases. You don't have to wait until your perennial plants begin looking like doughnuts—in fact, it's better if you don't. Astrid Elsen How to divide a peony Alternatively, if it’s a large clump, you can just use the spade to slice portions out of it in situ. All the young, healthy growth is around the outside, forming a doughnut shape with an ugly bare patch in the middle. In early Spring when new foliage and shoots emerge, and in early Fall. And dividing will increase the vigour of the plants for better flowering. Many herbaceous perennials produce fibrous roots, which are very easy to divide into sections. To control the size of the plant The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. the reason simply being, that there were too many other gardening tasks of … If it flowers after Midsummer’s Day you should divide in spring, just as the growth re-shoots. RHS Find a PlantRHS Video: Dividing perennials, Join In warm-winter areas, fall is a good time to plant perennials. There’s stunning photography from the world’s top garden photographers, as well as insightful writing from experts. It depends on the plant and variety. Early fall is another great time to divide perennials, especially peonies. These are just a few examples of plants that can be divided: Agapanthus, Anemone, Aster, Bergenia (elephant’s ears), Convallaria (lily-of-the-valley) Crocosmia, Dierama, Delphinium, Epimedium, Eryngium (sea holly), Euphorbia, Gentiana (gentian) Geranium, Helianthus, Hemerocallis (daylily), Hosta, Iris, Lychnis, Lysichiton, Lysimachia, ornamental grasses, Primula (primrose) Ranunculus (buttercup), Salvia, Sedum, Verbena, Zantedeschia (arum lily). When perennials are divided, there is more space for roots to grow and can increase plant health. Credit: RHS/Tim Sandall. Some perennials, like iris and peony, are best divided in … Spring is the ideal time to divide perennials. However, division is most successful when the plants are not in active growth. There are few specific problems associated with dividing, especially if carried out between autumn and spring. If it flowers before Midsummer’s Day (generally June 21) you should divide it in autumn, allowing them plenty of time to recover. In cold-winter areas, stop fertilizing perennials by August to encourage them to slow their growth and harden off for winter. Some may need division every 3-5 years, some 8-10 years and some would rather you not bother them at all. Here are our simple tips for dividing perennials: Plant divisions as soon as possible and water them in well. Replant the sections in weed-free, well-cultivated soil, so they’re at the same depth they were before. Generally speaking, crown division is performed after flowering. when they are young and have room to grow. Perennials will send signals to let you know that they would like to be divided. Here are three plants that benefit from using slight variations on the basic techniques. It is also worth carrying out slug and snails control as these are often problematic pests for perennials. Most perennials benefit from division every two to three years to maintain health and vigour. The best time to divide perennials depends on what perennial you’re dividing and where you garden. To rejuvenate the plant and stimulate new growth. There are generally two safe times for dividing perennial flowers. Likewise, dieramas resent disturbance and will take time to flower again after division. ... Once you've got the root ball out, it's time to divide the plant. Divide your plants every 3-5 years after planting them. And it should be done every 3 to 5 years. In general, you should only divide a plant when it has been healthy and growing in its garden location for at least two years (but usually longer) AND if it is starting to get too big for its current location. Once the clump is out of the soil, use the spade to cut it into smaller portions. Fall-blooming perennials are to be divided in spring, usually in April. Granted it might take three years or so to settle down properly, but depending on the size of the division it is possible to have flowers the following season. In this article we'll be looking at the five key steps to divide perennials in your garden. Mon – Fri | 9am – 5pm, Join the RHS today and support our charity. This is especially true in areas where fall is rainy, and temperatures are mild enough that the soil doesn’t freeze until December. The main concern when dividing perennials is that if the flower is blooming, or about to bloom then it won’t devote as much energy to root growth. Start at the drip line. Use a spade to dig up the entire clump you want to divide. Autumn division is best suited to perennials that flower in early summer. Get involved. There is no set rule as to when to divide perennials. Spring is the ideal time to divide perennials. While spring is, generally speaking, the best time for dividing perennials, ornamental grasses, and grass-like plants such as sedges, those who really wish to "get it right" will want to treat each plant on a case by case basis. EDITORIAL However, ensure that plants don’t dry out while they do re-establish. The … Divide perennials Knowing how and when to divide perennials is key to productivity in your garden. When this happens, the growth around the edge often flops outwards if it isn’t staked. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place. A general rule of thumb is to divide perennials after they flower. Some crocosmias, such as Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ and C. × crocosmiiflora ‘Jackanapes’, produce underground stems (stolons) which can be detached, along with fibrous roots, to produce new plants. This allows the transplants to establish their roots long before the following winter’s frosts. After 3-5 years, your perennials will start to crowd their planting area and make it difficult for them to receive nutrients. This can be any time from October to February. Dividing a large clump of perennials into smaller individual plants that can be spread out or shared with friends is a great way to rejuvenate a perennial garden. Divide perennials. Moving and dividing peonies should be done in autumn once the leaves have died back. When to move and divide a peony. The right time to divide perennials depends on the type of plant and how quickly it's growing. Divide Perennials: Step 1 the RHS today and get 12 months for the price of 9. If you want to increase the number of plants you have by dividing them, the task can be done more regularly. Inside, you will find invaluable practical advice from real gardeners, plantspeople and designers. Carefully lift the plant with a garden fork or, for smaller plants, a hand fork. The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. In early fall, there is less heat stress on your plants than there is at the height of summer. Need plants or gardening kit? Unlike annual blooms, perennials produce new shoots every year and continue to grow larger. A common maintenance chore in a perennial garden is that of dividing. Alternatively, pot up individually to build up size, overwintering pots in a frost-free environment. In fact, division is the easiest way to vegetatively propagate many perennials. MEDIA PACK Perennials that … Unlike growing from seed, the new plants are guaranteed to be identical to the parent plant. Every issue, The English Garden magazine features the most beautiful gardens from all across the UK and Ireland - both town and country plots, big and small. Knowing when to split perennials and how to divide perennials is important, but it’s also nice to understand what these fountains of youth are and how they operate. Keep the divisions well watered in dry springs. Or simply divide them for the sake of having multiple of your favorite plants! Summer-blooming perennials must be divided in fall. Potted up and grown on in a sheltered spot or cold frame, these new plants … Typically, fall is the best time of the year to divide perennials. Divide summer-flowering plants in spring (Mar-May) or autumn (Sep-Nov) when the soil is dry enough to work. Keep an eye out for clumps of plants that have grown two to three times their original size within two to … The soil is warm so the new divisions will romp away, and we’re normally guaranteed plenty of spring showers to help them settle in. The usual advice is divide perennials between late autumn or fall and early spring when they are (more or less) dormant. By Steven A. Frowine, The National Gardening Association . Early spring through early summer is a great time to divide most perennials. Perennials tend to grow outwards from the centre, which means that eventually the centre of their clump becomes old and woody. An expert guide on how to divide perennials in your garden. Dividing stachys. You may divide perennials simply to produce new plants to place elsewhere in your garden, to give away to friends or family, or even to sell. times, RHS Registered Charity no. Plants to divide now include sedum, hemerocallis (day lilies), hosta, primroses, hardy geraniums and crocosmia. Sunday, 31 March, 2019 at 12:02 pm Hostas are easy to propagate by division in spring, just as they’re starting into growth. However, division is most successful when the plants are not in active growth. To lift a perennial with minimal root damage, begin digging at its drip line. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place. The autumn divisions were practiced in the large garden estates, and this became the norm. The soil is warm so the new divisions will romp away, and we’re normally guaranteed plenty of spring showers to help them settle in. Choose a healthy well developed geranium to divide. And don’t divide plants when they’re flowering. Moving into autumn is a great time to divide your perennials before the first frost. ADVERTISING When to divide Plants should be divided when they're dormant, in late autumn or early spring. Clare Foggett It enables the stock to i ncrease in numbers, both for better display and impact, and cheaply insure against loss through slugs, deer, excess wet or cold winter. Plants to divide now include sedum, hemerocallis (day lilies), hosta, primroses, hardy geraniums and crocosmia. It feels brutal, but the plants soon recover as long as the divisions each have their own roots and shoots. Sign up on the right of this article. When to Divide Perennials Perennials have generally been divided in the autumn, but early spring is just as good if not better! Dividing Perennials. Perennial plants will often spread as they mature. When to divide perennials. The traditional time to divide perennials. Here’s a bit of perennial information. Sir Harold Hillier Gardens: English Garden of the Week, Illuminated gardens to visit this Christmas, Best fruit for small gardens: rootstocks & varieties, Bare-root roses: Growing tips and variety recommendations, Lockdown Lectures: online gardening talks, In pictures: IGPOTY reveals beautiful winning nature photographs, English Garden Of The Week – Dunham Massey, Pot up a stylish, seasonal white container. Plants can be divided successfully at almost any time if they are kept well-watered afterwards. RHS members can get exclusive individual advice from the RHS Gardening Advice team. Periodically lifting and dividing the plant every few years, replanting portions taken from the outside and discarding the old parts from the centre keeps the plant full of vigour. To keep your perennial gardens healthy you need to divide several kinds of perennials periodically. But another reason to divide perennials is to keep your garden healthy and productive. 020 3176 5800 In wet autumns, delay until spring. Either will stress it. MAINLAND UK … Autumn division not only makes new plants, it … However, this is not a hard and fast rule and there are some problems with late autumn division, especially in colder, wetter regions. Plants with fibrous roots can often be pulled apart into smaller portions by hand or back-to-back forks; others (such as hostas) can need a knife or saw to cut through their solid crowns. However, it is worth noting that crocosmias flower profusely when crowded, so do not divide clumps too often – every two or three years should be enough. Spring and autumn are the ideal times to lift and divide many perennial plants. For small plants, push a garden fork gently into the centre of … What Are Perennial Plants? The best time to divide perennials varies with the different plant species. Once perennials have finished flowering, you can lift well-established clumps, or any plants that are starting to go bare in the centre, and divide them. Shake off excess soil so that roots are clearly visible, Large, fibrous-rooted perennials, such as, In some cases, a sharp knife, axe or lawn edging iron may be needed to cleave the clump in two, To remove the corms without damage, dig down 30cm (1ft) to avoid and gently lift, The roots of both perennials form ‘chains’ of corms, which can be replanted intact or individually separated. Dividing the plants into smaller sections reduces this competition and stimulates new growth as well as more vigorous blooming. Overcrowded plants compete for nutrients and water. Cut summer growth down to between 15cm and 30cm (6 and 12 inches) above the plant and loosen the soil around the plants you want to divide. Visit our directory of suppliers. When to divide perennials. There is evidence that maintaining the ‘chains’ intact may be the better option, Discard wizened or diseased corms and trim old leaves, Hostas with tough, fibrous roots can be divided with a sharp spade, slicing the clump in two, Large clumps can be split further to leave sections containing five or six shoots, Cultivars with loose, fleshy roots are best teased apart by hand or with two hand tools by placing them back-to-back to lever them in two, Plant the divided sections at their original depth, with the shoots above the soil surface. If you do it in the summer or the winter, you’ll probably subject the plant to too much hot dry weather or cold, wet soil. Most books and television programmes will recommend placing two garden forks back to back in the centre of the clump and pulling the handles together to separate the roots. Fall or early Spring as they begin to grow is a good time to do this. And if you’re planning to buy new plants, many can be divided before they’re planted out, … Perennials like this lungwort can be divided for extra plants or to improve the health of the plant. It also offers the opportunity to multiply your plants. Divide your perennials to keep plants vigorous, improve the health of their foliage and to increase the number of blooms. 222879/SC038262, Lift plants gently with a garden fork, working outwards from the crown’s centre to limit root damage. When is the best time to divide a bunch? Wait until nights are cool and your plants are starting to prepare for winter. The older centre becomes woody, less vigorous and, as a result, is usually best discarded. They can either be replanted in the same spot,  taking the opportunity to mix in a little garden compost or other soil improver first, or moved to a new part of the garden. CLICK TO DOWNLOAD. This is because some plants prefer to undergo the … Think of it as a cake you’re cutting into pieces, but don’t go too small because tiny divisions will take a long time to reestablish, and remember that each piece needs shoots and roots. Water them in well and remember to keep watering during dry spells until their roots have reestablished. As they grow, they produce the newest, strongest growth around the edge. The second-best time to divide your perennials is early fall. Plants can be divided successfully at almost any time if they are kept well-watered afterwards. Slice downwards all the way around the edge, then gently lever the plant up and out. One large clump can be divided into several new plants. You can divide perennials in spring or autumn. Before going into the garden and digging away at perennial plants, it’s helpful to know exactly what they are. Condiment perennials can also be divided in spring. Don’t forget to sign up for our monthly The English Gardener newsletter, bringing you all the practical gardening advice you need throughout the year. You know when yours need to be divided because the plants are growing in ever-denser clumps and the flower show isn’t … Join the RHS today and support our charitable work, Keep track of your plants with reminders & care tips – all to help you grow successfully, For the latest on RHS Shows in 2020 and 2021, read more, RHS members get free access to RHS Gardens, Free entry to RHS members at selected times », Reduced prices on RHS Garden courses and workshops, General enquiries Dividing perennials regularly will ensure healthy, vigorous plants that will continue to perform year after year. RHS Garden Hyde Hall Spring and Orchid Show, Free entry to RHS members at selected Tackle spring-blooming perennials in fall and fall bloomers in spring. Perennial plants are happiest, healthiest and most productive (which means more flowers and growth!) 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