Many perennials should be divided at regular intervals. They’ll be rejuvenated and strengthened, become more vital and vigorous.

Divide, but when?

Dividing first becomes advisable after 3-6 years, according to plant type, The important thing is to observe your perennials. You’ll be able to see hen it’s time for a division. Clear indicators:

  • they’re too large or crowding other plants,
  • they’re too tall and no longer stable,
  • they flower sparsely or appear weak, and
  • they’re increasingly dry and brown in interior areas.

The best time

The decisive factor for a successful division is catching the optimal time point. This differs from plant to plant. In general, it’s better to divide perennials now – in spring –  or in the fall. Spring is a good time to work with summer- and fall-blooming perennials and especially grasses, after they’ve stored the necessary nutrients for the coming growth period. Spring-bloomers are best divided in fall, since these plants will need all their strength for blossoming by springtime.

Division, for real

Carefully lift the perennial from the soil by scoring the earth in a circle around the plant with a trowel or digging fork. Next, divide the lifted section into smaller pieces by hand, if possible, or with the trowel or digging fork. Dry and dead plant material can be removed. What’s left are vital sections of the main plant that may be newly arranged. Trim the roots and leaves back by about one-third to ensure good regrowth. The most important thing is to water the new plantings carefully. If necessary, give the new divisions a small dose of a starter fertilizer of compost or other organic material, such as bone meal.

Give your creativity free rein

In addition to improving plant vitality, the division offers another major advantage: a bed can be designed anew. Arrange for an odd number of plants, if at all possible – it will produce a more harmonious garden scene. Nice effects can also be achieved with repeated elements, where divided plants are found several times in one planting.

It’s easy to incorporate new plants – ones that complement the current ones in growth or color – into new designs. The nice thing about this is that you can bring your own personal taste to bear. One person will want to sort plantings by color and long bloom time. Others wish the least amount of maintenance in a garden that’s spacious and peaceful. Perennials offer a limitless variety of design possibilities.


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