Dividing Perennials

As we approach the 15th of May and no longer have to worry about the danger of frost, many gardeners are purchasing and planting their annuals. Spring is also a great time to divide your perennials. By dividing your perennials, you can increase your number of plants, control the size of plants, and rejuvenate plants.

Most perennials should be divided every three to five years. Some indicators that your perennials should be divided are flowers that are smaller than normal, centers of clumps that are hollow and dead, or the bottom foliage that is sparse and poor. I personally divided my perennials this year simply because my garden is very young and I needed to fill in my many empty places.

To divide your perennials, use a sharp-pointed shovel or spading fork and dig down deep on all four sides of the plant. Pry underneath the plant with your tool and lift the whole clump to be divided from the ground. Shake loose soil and remove dead leaves and stems from the clump. Then use your sharp tool again to divide your clump into pieces.

These pieces can be placed back into the garden or into a pot to be given to a friend. Be sure to water your plants after dividing. If placing your new divisions into a pot, use garden soil or leaf compost to fill the remainder of the pot.

If you do not have a garden with lots of empty places to fill, bring your plant divisions to the Members’ Plant Exchange and Sale. On May 17th at 10 am, members of the Scott Arboretum will exchange plants from their personal gardens. This event is a great way to acquire unique plants at little to no cost. For every 3 plants you bring to the exchange your will receive a ticket toward a plant during the exchange.

The Members’ Plant Exchange and Sale is also great for gardeners like me who have lots of empty places. After the exchange, the remaining plants go on sale for a dollar. I have filled my garden with these treasures for the past two years.

To learn more about this program, contact 610-328-8025 . I hope to see you at the exchange with some treasures from your garden.

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  1. Thanks for this timely article. When dividing any of your precious treasures make sure that your tools are sanitized. I use alcohol wipes on my smaller pruners and just straight out of the bottle alcohol for my spades.
    Barb

  2. Your post hits home with me. I tend to forget about dividing perennials or put it off.

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