Perennial plants often begin to die out after several years of growth. Dividing the plants rejuvenates the growth and stimulates roots so the plant will continue to perform. Dividing perennial plants gives you healthier, longer lived plants and the bonus of more plants.
Dividing plants is a great way to build community also, as once you divide a plant in half, you now have two happy perennials to utilize. One for you and one for a friend.
For most plants Spring or Fall is a good time for division. Both Peonie’s and Hosta’s in particular, like to be divided in the Fall. Maintaining the shape of a plant is desirable, and this is difficult when one half of the plant has been removed. However, the following Spring you will see the plant reform into a fantastic clump with no evidence of the prior removal of the plant portion.
Typically divide perennial plant clumps that have grown 2-3 times their size within 3-5 years. Over grown clumps that have exceeded the space allotted are a candidate for division. Disturbing the root system of a perennial interrupts the plants ability to feed and hydrate itself. If you saturate the plant first, it reduces the trauma during division.
While digging up the entire plant ball and cutting with a shovel or knife works effectively to divide a plant, I find it just as easy to do it while the plant is in the ground.
Carefully place your shovel or spade on the plant exactly where you want to divide the plant. Using your foot, power the shovel down into the ground, slicing the plant in half. Pull the division out and replant it as soon as possible. It’s that easy!
Now it is time to have fun – call up a friend and ask if they would like a few plants. They will love getting the plants for free and it is a great way to encourage beautification of your neighborhood and city.
Above is a short video on how easy it is to divide a perennial – enjoy!
Shawna Coronado says Get Healthy! Get Green! Get Community!