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dividing perennials

by dig the dirt editor

The plants that divide best are those perennials that grow in big clumps with fleshy root stocks such as daylilies and peonies. Other good division candidates include tuberous plants, such as irises, and perennials that develop crowns, such as heuchera and ajuga. Here are 10 easy steps to perennial division:




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perennial-care tips  | dividing perennials
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1. Dig area around the plant with a sharp spade. You are going to sever some roots, so brace yourself. It’s okay--the plant will survive.

2. Gently remove the clump from the ground and set on a drop cloth or hauling bag.

3. Place two forks, back-to-back, in the center of the clump.

4. Pry apart the clump into two pieces.

5. Continue dividing each of the pieces, making sure each division section has a shoot to grow upward and roots to grow downward. (Or you can plant larger divisions, for bigger plants.)

6. Remove any dead or woody parts of the plant. Also, clip back about half of the foliage on the plant so that it doesn’t compete with the root system for growth.

7. Immediately plant the divisions. You can place the mother plant back in the spot she was occupying before the division.

8. Water and foliar fertilize each division well.

9. In areas that receive frost, mulch around the base of the plant with shredded bark or leaves.

10. Continue to water well (to help roots grow strong) until the ground freezes.


dividing perennials, care guide