A close friend is moving this fall, away from her cherished gardens. The new home has established beds, however is certainly lacking in comparison from whence she came. All things considered the move has come at an opportune time from the perspective that several of her plants can be divided and moved, as the time for autumn plant division is upon us. Even if you aren’t planning a move this sort of separation can yield many benefits for your plants. Division every two to three years is paramount in maintaining the health and vigor of plants, and conducting this task during a time when the plants are not in active growth is ideal when possible.
A young perennial starts out with only one tuft of leaves and one set of roots. Many will then reproduce by sending out a length of root or a stem from which a whole new plant emerges. Over time this becomes an interconnected cluster of loosely connected but separate plants. You’re essentially pulling apart these clusters and moving them to a new location.
The following plants do well with division:
- Elephants Ears
- Lilies / Day Lillies
- Cranes’ Bill (Geranium)
- Ornamental grasses,
- Primula (primrose)
- Peonies (though they do not bloom the first year after dividing)
- And More! Don’t know? Ask a Ridgeview Representative.
Here are our simple tips for dividing perennials:
Lift the whole plant from the soil plants gently with a garden fork, working outwards from the crown’s centre to limit root damage. Do this after a period of dryness as you want to be able to shake the soil from the plants roots with little effort. Pick up the plant and gently pull off small clumps from the roots ensuring not to rip or tear the larger root clump whenever possible. In the case of larger more fibrous-rooted perennials, such as daylilies you will need two strong garden forks. Place them back to back in the crown of the clump and use the forks as levers to break the mass into two distinct parts, once this is done you can separate into even smaller parts by hand if desired. Consider the size of the plant you are dividing and gear up appropriately you may need a sharp knife or an axe depending how big or strong the plant is.