How To: Divide to Multiply!

Top tips for dividing perennials.

Perennials are a great investment for your garden, they offer some of the best foliage, brilliant blooms and can be found in so many variations that love both sun and shade. On top of this, once a plant is established and mature you can easily split the root to give multiple plants!

Timing and execution is key to successfully dividing your perennial and allow the transplanted roots the best start. Here are 7 tips to follow to help your perennial garden flourish!

Tip 1: Timing.

The optimal condition to divide your plants is when the air is cooler than the soil for a portion of a 24 hour period. Cool weather, such as early fall, is prime time as this allows the roots to reestablish into the soil without sending vital energy up to the top of your plant.

Tip 2: Choose healthy looking plants.

Your plants are strongest when they look their best. When choosing which specific plants you want to divide, look for the healthiest of your perennials. This results in the transplanted portion having the best start.

Tip 3: Dig at the drip line.

The drip line is the imaginary line around your plant where the leaves tend to guide rainfall. This is also approximately where the roots will extend to! Digging out your perennial at this line will ensure minimal root damage.

Tip 4: Keep roots cool and damp.

If you cannot transplant your split portions right away just store them in a cool shaded place and cover with a cloth or newspaper to keep the moisture in. You may need to add moisture to prevent the roots from drying out.


Tip 5: Healthy roots bring healthy plants.

Dividing a perennial can result in numerous sections for you to replant. Watching for signs of disease and selecting only the healthiest of your sections will bring on a more vigorous growth in the spring.

Tip 6: Understand your roots.

There are five basic root types; surface roots, underground running roots, woody roots, and roots that form clumps or offsets. Understanding each type and recognizing which root type your perennial has will help you determine the best way to make the divide.


Tip 7: Dig a hole as wide as the roots.

As with any case of transplanting, you want to place your divided sections in a hole that is wide enough to fit the entire width of the root. This promotes healthy establishment and a quicker regrowth. 

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