Fall is a great time to divide perennials, the workhorses of the landscape. These plants will get established, set new roots and continue to grow throughout winter on warmer days, giving them a head start on spring.
Remember to divide and transplant at least six weeks before a hard freeze. For frost dates in your area, check our calendar.
Perennials that like dividing include: Hosta (pictured above), daylily, bearded iris, Shasta daisies, violets, wood ferns and cannas.
How to Divide Perennials:
- Look for signs. Check and see if perennials need dividing. Signs include overcrowding, a clump with an empty spot in the middle or outward falling stems. Avoid moving fall-blooming perennials while they are still in flower. Mark and save these for spring. Perennials that may need dividing in your garden include daylily, bearded iris, shasta daisies, violets, wood ferns and cannas.
- Divide during cloudy weather. The best time to divide and conquer is on a cloudy day. Plants recover more quickly if the sun isn’t beating down on them.
- Lift and shake. Lift some or all of the perennial out of the ground using a gardening fork or shovel. Shake plants gently to remove soil. Now that you can see the roots, divide the clump with your garden fork, shovel or Hori Hori knife. Some perennials are easier to divide than others. If you break off roots, don’t worry. Just make sure each division has some roots attached.
- Replant ASAP. Replant new divisions as soon as possible. Plants can sit for a few days out of direct sun without being planted, but the longer they are out of the soil, the less chance they have of settling back into your landscape, or someone else’s.
- Give water. Water new plantings well.
- Trade. To get free plants, trade with a friend. Also, share your plants with new gardeners and set them on the path of true garden enjoyment.