When and How to Divide Perennials

living color how when to divide perennials shovel

Dividing perennials can be hugely beneficial for your garden. Knowing when and how to split up your perennial favorites is a great trick to have up your sleeve. Read on to master the art of dividing perennials in your garden!

living color how when to divide perennials person digging asters

The Benefits of Dividing Perennials

Splitting up your perennial plants can have many benefits for the health and beauty of your garden. Dividing and relocating your perennials can help fill in your garden, adding depth and beauty. Another benefit is the ability to thin out any overgrown patches that may be fighting for root space and soil nutrients. If you notice your perennial flowers aren’t blooming as much or as impressively, it may be a sign to start dividing!

In addition to those benefits, you can also use the dividing technique to save your perennials from unsatisfactory growing conditions. Perhaps the soil conditions are poor, there is an abundance of weeds you cannot tackle, or the lighting isn’t quite right. 

Finally, you can divide your favorite perennials when you want to cover more areas with their beauty, or you adore them so much, you want to uproot them and give them to your friends.  

When to Divide Perennials

Timing is key when it comes to uprooting your  perennials. Generally, it’s best to divide and relocate after a perennial has finished a bloom cycle to ease the transplantation. Keep in mind that perennials that flower in early spring to the middle of June should be divided near the beginning of fall. If you have perennials that bloom after mid-June, you should divide them in the spring.

Here are timing and technique tips for when to divide these sun-loving perennials commonly found in Florida gardens: 

living color how when to divide perennials blooming marigolds

Marigolds are quite easy to divide and transplant. They put down roots quickly, as long as you wait until the soil is sufficiently thawed after winter.  

Chocolate Cosmos have tuberous roots, unlike other types of cosmos. You can divide these in early spring. When digging up your chocolate cosmos, look for roots that have “eyes.” These eyes on the tuber roots will indicate if new plants will grow. 

living color how when to divide perennials lantana

Lantana would do well to be divided in either early spring or fall. Dividing in summer can be too much of a shock because of the extreme heat and lack of soil moisture. 

Salvia can be a bit trickier than dividing other perennials. You’ll need to carefully cut up the root systems. You’ll want to wait until well into autumn before tackling this. 

How to Divide Perennials 

Try to choose an overcast day to begin the dividing process. A dry, hot, sunny day could dehydrate, damage, or even kill the plants you are dividing and transplanting. Another great time to divide perennials when the sun has started to set. 

Before you start digging, plan ahead the day before to water the perennials in question thoroughly. You may also want to water the area you plan on transporting the perennials to if needed. The point is to try to recreate the conditions the plant is already living in. Too much of a change could shock the plant. 

When you begin, you can use a fork or spade to lift the plant up and out. Take this opportunity to gently shake off excess dirt and debris from the plant’s roots. 

When it comes to dividing one perennial plant into multiples, there are three approaches you can take.

  • Using your hands, gently pull apart roots
  • Cut roots with a sharp, clean knife
  • With two forks, press them back against each other and into the clump of roots. Leverage them to pull apart the roots gently. 

Depending on the plant, you can multiply one plant into 3-5 new ones, as long as they each have a healthy root system attached. 

living color how when to divide perennials

How to Replant Divided Perennials

Be careful not to leave uprooted plants in harsh conditions. Ideally, you should prepare the plant’s next destination before you start digging. The plant will need to be watered and put back into the soil as soon as possible. 

If you’re not planning on replanting the divided perennials into your garden right away, you can put them into pots. 

For replanting into your garden, dig a hole for your divided perennials in a similar size and depth as they were originally planted. Always make sure the soil is moist. Add mulch to protect the base of the plant from weeds and to help regulate moisture.

Knowing how and when to divide perennials is a great tool to keep your garden landscape looking lush, full, and beautiful. If you’re looking for the best 2021 perennials for sale in Fort Lauderdale, come shop with us! We are available to help you have an incredible gardening season.

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