As you walk around your gardens this fall, you may start thinking about dividing your perennials. Should I do this, can I do that, or is this the time? Dividing perennials is not as tough as one may think. In general, spring flowering plants prefer division in fall, while fall flowering plants like division in spring. If you are willing to give up a seasons worth of flowers, you can divide in either one. Maybe the plant has not been performing like it should or the center has died out. Or, you would like to give pieces to family or friends. Here are some tips to help.
To divide a perennial, dig up the clump. Take a sharp knife or spade and cut the clump in half. You can then cut the halves into pieces if desired and replant or give to friends. Try to do this in a shaded area so the roots do not dry out. If the center has died, cut that out and replant the healthy pieces. Replant the divided parts and water in well.
You may ask “How often should I divide?” That depends on the perennial. Some perennials require more division, every four years or less. Some examples are Bearded Iris, Coreopsis, Yarrows, and both creeping and garden Phlox. Other perennials require division less often, every 5-10 years. These would include , Daylilies, Coneflowers, Blackeyed Susans, Sedums, Lambs Ear, and the shade favorite Hostas.
Then there are those who would scream, “Why are you moving me!!!”. These perennials, (Peony, Purple Loosestrife, Lenton Rose, Russian Sage, False Indigo, and Coral Bells) to name a few would rather not be moved at all. Peonies for example may not flower for up to three years after being disturbed.
So, as the days get short and the nights more crisp, don’t be afraid of dividing your plants. Not only will your plants thank you, but maybe friends will too.
-Provided by Oakland Delaware