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Dividing Plants And Perennials

Dividing plants and perennials is an important step in having healthy plants. Questions arise periodically on how to separate perennials or other plants. Herbee will offer a few tips on steps to properly separate perennials that have tight clusters of roots or others that are loosely woven.

How To Divide Quick Tips

Group Of Plants In Container

Separating perennials should be done if the plant specimen grows rapidly and spreads, or if plants are too crowded. Here is a container that is too crowded and should be transplanted. The roots are established and need to be put in a larger pot.

There are two ways to go about dividing plants. The first is by taking pieces away from the outer part of the plant. You will want to separate these pieces from the main plant. When dividing plants, take a small knife or a sharp spade and cut through the crown of the plant.

The other method is to take the plant completely out of the ground and pull or cut it apart. If you pull it apart, be careful not to damage some of the main roots. Some plants will pull apart very easily, while others have their root system in tightly intact. Your goal, whether you are pulling them apart by hand or cutting them with a knife, is to have some roots and foliage on each of the plant species.

One word of caution when you are dividing plants and perennials. Don't try and get ten plants out of what should really be five. Smaller plants that have been separated take longer to develop in the ground. It is better to have a few larger specimens so the root systems will mature properly.

When To Divide In Cool And Warm Climates


Variegated Hosta

The best time to separate plants is in the early spring. The one exception is plants that bloom in the springtime. Wait until the specimen is done flowering to separate.

In warm climates, division of roots should be done in the fall, not the springtime. The Iris and Oriental Poppy are two plants that should be separated after they are done blooming in the summer and their color begins to change.

When doing this type of transplanting project, it's a great time to remove the older parts that will defer the plant from continuing to develop properly. This is particularly true when separating perennials and other plants such as Hostas.


Big rooted plants such as Dahlias, can be a little more tricky to divide. Cut with a knife in the springtime and make sure you see an eye on each section you cut.

Let each section air dry for around one half and hour before you replant in the ground. One of the keys to replanting them is to make sure the depth is the same as when you took the plant out. This process is the same when you plant new plants or are transplanting a shrub. More insights below.

Also, like any other newly planted specimen, watering and getting onto a water schedule is critical in allowing the roots to develop and mature properly. An option for you to consider is to mix a liquid fertilizer with the water. Make a weak solution so you don't over fertilize each plant.

The process of dividing plants should be included in your landscape maintenance program. When you plan your next project, do a little research on which plant specimens may need to be separated in the future.

Read an important page from Herbee on the P-P-P method. This could not only save you a little money, but will potentially give you some more options in your selection of different specimens.


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Plan A Garden: The P-P-P Method --- Perennial Flowers

Liriope And Hosta, Good Dividing Plants --- Caring For Your Garden



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