Magazine article Sunset

How to Divide Perennials

Magazine article Sunset

How to Divide Perennials

Article excerpt

Give these spring bloomers a fresh start now

WHEN THEY BECOME OVERGROWN and stop blooming well, it's time to dig up clumping perennials and cut them apart. By dividing a plant into sections-each with roots attached-you end up with both a reinvigorated smaller clump to set back in the same spot and others to use elsewhere in your garden.

Most dumpers look better and produce more if you divide them every three or four years. Blooms will be larger and more abundant, and foliage will look lusher. Divide spring-blooming perennials in fall, and fall-blooming perennials in spring. If you live in an area with harsh winters, divide the plants, then get them back in the ground six to eight weeks before the first hard freeze.

While the process might look daunting for first-timers, dividing plants is very easy-almost foolproof. Just follow the steps at right.

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Coral daylilies and white petunias burst with bloom along a narrow path.

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Division in 4 easy steps

A mature daylily is ready for refreshing when bloom is sparse and clumps are tightly packed. Dividing will revive the main clump and produce additional plants.

STEP 1 With a shovel or spading fork, loosen the soil a few inches around the base of the entire plant. …

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