Flowering perennials in your garden benefit from the basic gardening technique known as dividing. When you divide your perennials you ensure that your plants will produce more blooms, alleviate crowding, and strengthen the original and surrounding plants.
In addition to the benefits to the plant your pocketbook will benefit from dividing your perennials as well. You save money buying more flowers to plant in your garden by spreading out the additional plants you create. I started out with eight different flowers in my garden six years ago, and since then have learned how to divide and use the new plants I have created throughout my garden. In addition to the original landscaping I have created a whole new butterfly garden with divided plants.
Even though dividing perennials is thought of as a basic gardening technique there are several things that you need to keep in mind and know about your perennials and diving before you begin. Before I became an good at dividing and replanting new plants I made plenty of mistakes, but those mistakes taught me what I needed to divide successfully. This guide will discuss the reasons why you should divide, when to divide your plants, and how to divide both clumps and crowns.
Why Dividing Perennials is Important
Perennial flowers multiply year after year, most of the time creating new plants very close to the plant that was originally planted. To prevent overcrowding which is detrimental to a plants health and stunts growth, division is necessary. Once the plants are divided new root and stem growth is encouraged and possible, this results in a healthier plant.
Flowering perennials benefit even more from division. Healthier flowering perennials means bigger and more plentiful blooms. The divided perennials can then be placed in more sections of your garden giving you more plants for your original money, a great investment.
When to Divide Your Plants
When you divide your perennials can determine if they survive or not, so you need to make sure you perform the task at the right time. In general, you want to divide your plants when they will experience the least amount of stress; during cool temperatures, when they are not flowering or while they are dormant.
Most perennials, including late spring, summer and fall bloomers should be divided in the beginning of Spring as soon as they start showing growth.
How to Divide Perennials
There are two different ways to divide perennial and each is based on the type of plant and root system the plant has. Plants will form crowns that can be pulled away and broken off by the roots from the original plant or they will form clumps that need to simply be separated and pulled apart.
To divide perennial clumps begin by moistening the soil around the plant, this loosens up the soil from the root ball. Dig around the root ball to remove the surrounding soil, think of it as digging a trench around the plant. Use a hoe to lift the clump from the ground, be careful not to damage the roots.
Once you have completely removed the clump of roots from the soil divide the plant by cutting small root clumps off of the larger mass.
Keep only those sections that have healthy roots and foliage.
Replant each new plant at the same depth as the parent plant was buried, be sure to completely cover up the entire root system. Add water and keep the soil from drying out till new growth appears.
When dividing perennials with crowns again moisten the soil prior to doing any digging. Use a hoe to uproot the plant by digging around the plant and then raise it out of the soil. Once the crown has been removed use your hands to pull apart the plant starting with the outermost crowns. The roots will be tangled together so slowly separate them mass and do not worry if you end up tearing off some of the roots.
Replant the best looking root ball and foliage combinations at the same depth as the parent plant was originally planted.