Colorful Cottage Garden
DIY | Garden

Dividing Perennials to Grow Your Garden

Looking for ways to grow your garden and keep plants happy without breaking the bank? Dividing perennials is essential to a healthy garden. Today I’m sharing how to divide perennials in 5 easy steps.

How Dividing Perennials Has Grown My Garden

My home started with a few plants when we first moved here.

One of the reasons I have so many gardens is because I divided plants and created new beds.

My gardens started with one small flower garden and grew to several.

Fast forward 22 years and now I have expansive gardens throughout the property.

What I love most is that I divided easy care plants that didn’t need a lot of coddling from me to grow and thrive.

(Posts on stacyling.com may contain affiliate links. Click HERE for full disclosure.)

Dividing Perennials
My cottage garden in early spring.

Why Dividing Perennials is Important

Dividing perennials is a great way to keep the garden looking good and share the bounty with others.

There are several reasons why we need to divide perennials every few years.

For starters, dividing perennials keeps plants growing and healthy. As they mature, perennials start growing in larger clumps that start to separate. Sometimes these clumps form a hole in the middle of the plant. When gardeners see this natural division, it is time to divide the plant.

Dividing Perennials
This Sedum ‘Autumn Joy” needs to be divided. This is one plant but looks like five. The plant is letting me know it needs to be divided.

Moreover, as perennials grow they start overcrowding themselves as well as neighboring garden plants. Overcrowding leads to fewer or smaller blooms due to receiving less nutrients, light and air circulation. Therefore, dividing more vigorous plants keeps them in check so they don’t take over the garden and crowd out other varieties.

Finally, dividing perennials saves a lot money because it multiplies the stock. One plant can be divided into several. This means gardeners have more plants to enjoy in their own gardens or their divisions can be shared with others.

As much as I love to create more gardens in my yard, I love sharing my plants with others.

It is so fun to see how they grow in my friends’ gardens and even more fun to receive new plants or varieties that I didn’t already have from others.

Dividing Perennials helped start this shed garden
The shed garden was mostly planted entirely from divisions from my garden.

When to Divide Perennials

NOTE: I live in New Jersey so my perspective is based on the climate here in New Jersey. Please check with your local cooperative extension if your climate and hardiness zone is different as timing may or may not differ.

In general, dividing perennials should be done in spring or fall when the temps and weather are most seasonable.

It is better and easier to transplant divisions while plants are small or as they begin to go dormant.

I highly recommend avoiding summer divisions and transplants. While it can be done, the success rate is very low.

Dividing Perennials
Most of my gardens were started with perennials that were divided.

Since New Jersey weather is more seasonable during early spring or mid-late fall, I divide and transplant my perennials at that time. I prefer to do it when I don’t have to coddle transplants through the re-acclimation process. For me, it’s much easier than doing it in late spring through early fall when the weather is hot and humid.

This is not to say it can’t be done from late spring through early fall because it can. However, for me, it is much more work to establish transplants as the temps, heat and humidity soar. Since I prefer less work and maintenance to establishing divisions, I divide in early spring or mid-late fall.

I also like to divide perennials in early spring when they are smaller in size. It is easier and less damaging when you work with younger plants.

However, if I don’t get get a chance to divide in early spring, I’ll wait until the plants start to go dormant in mid-late fall when I don’t care what the plant looks like after I divide and transplant it. Another benefit to waiting until mid-late fall is that plants have more time to grow stronger root systems from fall through early spring.

Dividing Perennials

How to Divide Perennials

  • Depending on the size of perennials, you’ll either need a trowel or spade shovel to divide perennials.
  • Look at the plant and determine where the natural lines of division are.
  • Start with an outer edge of the plant. Dig the shovel underneath the plants and avoid slicing the roots as much as possible. Some plants will lift out very easily with one simple dig and use of your hands. Others will require more effort where you will need to dig around the entire section of plant.
  • Don’t worry about injuring plants during this process. They will regenerate, bounce back and thank you for the effort you put in.
  • Once the divisions are out, transplant them as soon as possible.
Dividing Perennials
Start with an outer edge and try go avoid slicing the roots.
Dividing Perennials
Lift the division out – Sedum comes out pretty easily.
Dividing perennials
Here is the Sedum after division. It looks much neater now.
Dividing perennials
I relocated two of the divisions to the mailbox garden.

Isn’t that so easy?

I will admit that some plants are tougher to divide than others. But it is well worth the effort.

Dividing perennials for the backyard border.
These hostas, bee balm and joe pye weed are all divisions of plants from other areas of my garden.

Want to Start a Flower Garden But Aren’t Sure Where to Begin?

There has never been a better time to start a garden than now. Whether you are starting from scratch or dividing perennials to move to a new bed, starting a garden is fairly simple. Click here to learn how to start a new garden.

If you live in deer country like me, follow these tips to deer proof your gardens.

Sedum Autumn Joy are great late blooming summer flowers

Want to Learn What to Plant for an Everblooming Colorful Garden?

Click here to get my FREE Must-Have Plant List! Be the plant parent you’ve always wanted to be with these tried and true flowers that will give you a beautiful garden that’s always in bloom.

Pin and Save It on Pinterest

If you like this post, please share and pin it on Pinterest. (If you hover over the image, the Pinterest button will be in the upper left corner.) I’ve created the below-custom pin for this post.

Dividing Perennials

Subscribe to the blog and gain access to information not available to the general public. Thanks for stopping by the blog today! Enjoy your day! xoxo

Let’s connect on social media!

Follow me @bricksnblooms on Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

 

 

 

Similar Posts

8 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing – this is so helpful to know! I am trying to start a new garden area on a tight budget. Do you know if limelight hydrangeas will be okay to divide? I think I have a baby plant next to my big limelight and am thinking of trying to move it. Thanks for your help and for sharing your tips!

    1. Hey Kim!!! I’m so glad you think so! I would try it! I divided an everblooming variety in spring and its doing really well! Now is a great time to do it with the temps cooling down before winter. I don’t think I can link it here in the comments but check out my post how to divide hydrangeas – I detailed everything that I did. Let me know how it does! xoxo

  2. There are times that I miss living in the north, where the soil is naturally healthier than the red Georgia clay we have in the south! I have to take a pick axe to even break ground! >(

    1. Clay soil stinks! Have you been trying to rehab it? My soil here is very rocky which has been tough to dig in. xo

  3. Great info. I can’t wait to get my hands back in the dirt. We are still having frost in the morning, so I have to wait a bit longer. Your garden looks gorgeous.
    Blessings to you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *