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Bulbs | how to divide bulbs

by dig the dirt editor

Bulbs won’t tell you they need division until it’s too late. Come spring, they’ll boycott blooming, making your spring a pretty drab one. Don’t risk the trauma of a spring without bulbs and divide this fall.

Dividing your bulbs in the fall for replanting is one of the surefire ways to keep your garden expanding and growing every year.  Bulbs that have been established and are blooming more sparingly than other years are ready for a division.  They are most likely overcrowded and need a little space to grow.  Dig the overcrowded bulbs up and divide by separating the parent from the smaller bulbs.

You can also divide bulbs to increase your blooms in different areas of you garden.  All you need to do is dig up your bulbs in the fall and separate the baby bulb from the parent. 

Some bulb dividing tips to remember:

  • Cut the foliage down to a few inches before digging up your bulbs.
  • Dig up your bulbs only after the bloom has died and there is no new growth for the bulb. 
  • Make sure to store your bulbs in a cool dry location through the winter for a spring planting.
  • Always save your bulbs, as you never know what bulbs may die off in a particularly cold winter


Find the tiny bulbets!

  • Narcissus, amaryllis, acidenthera, and iris form offsets (tiny bulblets), that if pulled off, can be planted to grow into larger bulbs. This is, in fact, how bulbs naturalize themselves into large area. They keep self-dividing.

Find the best time!

  • The best time to divide narcissus is after they finish blooming. When the foliage dies back (and not before) in July, you can lift the bulbs, remove the offsets and replant them all.
  • Bearded iris and canna lilies can be divided in midsummer and fall. Dig up the rhizomes and slice apart using a sharp knife. Make sure that each division has a single fan of leaves.


about perennials  | read more about perennials
packing and unpacking | choosing a site | planting your perennials
perennial-care tips  | dividing perennials
 perennial specifics| dividing bulbs |tools of the trade




dividing bulbs, bulb propagation


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marcydiané commented on 06/01/12