Correct overcrowded roots with division. Not the chalkboard variety, but by digging plants up, cutting them apart, and replanting.
Do my plants need dividing?
If production is down among your perennial plants, it may be that the roots have become too crowded. You can fix that with division. Division is a form of asexual propagation used on perennial plants. Annuals and biennial plants do not live long enough to make this method worthwhile. Signs that your perennials need dividing:
Why divide plants?
There are many perennial plants that benefit from dividing every few years. Plants that grow from rhizomes, such as bunch grasses, asparagus, and ginger, can be divided simply by digging up a section of the underground stem and cutting between the established plant and new growth, and planting the cut end someplace else. Many other perennial plants grow from corms and bulbs. These plants reproduce underground by creating offsets and bulbils, respectively. In either case, over time, it gets crowded down there!
Which plants need dividing?
Some plants, peonies and hostas, for example, never need dividing. Others, such as iris, Shasta daisies, and coreopsis should be divided every 2 or 3 years. Daylilies, evening primrose, and bergenia generally need dividing every 5 years or so. Many other garden plants vary in their need for division, depending on soil health, plant age, climate, and more. It’s generally a case of being observant and noticing when the following plants look like they need some breathing room:
When should plants be divided?
Autumn is generally the best time to divide plants. Autumn-blooming plants, such as saffron crocus, should be divided in spring. In both cases, temperatures are neither too hot not too cold, and plants will have time to recover before winter’s chill slows growth to a halt, or the summer sun bakes everything to a crisp.
How to divide perennial plants
Don’t be afraid to try dividing your plants. They will be far healthier and more productive once they reestablish themselves. Follow these steps to divide the perennials in your landscape:
Help your perennial plants reach their full potential by periodically dividing them. By dividing, I transformed my overcrowded, unhealthy, and unhappy Shasta daisy into 15 separate plants that now have room to grow and thrive and bloom!
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