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The Proper Way of Dividing Perennials

Many perennials can be divided, giving you more plants for a small investment of labor!  Dividing perennials encourages new growth, more vigor and usually leads to better flowering.  The key is to do it at the right time and properly.  In this Good Earth Greenhouse segment, Gregg Curtis is talking about dividing daylilies.

Many people wait until fall to divide their perennials; but if you have a large number of perennials, you can do some earlier such as daylilies.  Daylilies are one of the toughest perennials!  Daylilies can also be divided in the spring, when they are just beginning to push new leaves up.  Avoid dividing before they are finished blooming for the season, as dividing could end your bloom season.

Make sure the plants are hydrated before digging up; either divide after a rain or water well the day before you plan to divide them.  Dig them up carefully, getting as much of the root system as you can.  Having a healthy, intact root system is one of the keys for success.

Once you have the clump dug up, look at the top growth of the clump.  If the plants have already gone dormant, you will be able to more clearly see individual fans of foliage. If this is the case, you can loosen the roots and pry individual fans away from the clump; each fan needs to have a healthy root system attached to be successful.

If you are dividing during the growing season, cut the clump in half and check the root system and top growth.  Depending on the size of the clump, you may be able to divide it in half again.  Again, having top growth and roots is key; the larger the remaining clump, the faster it will fill out and establish. If you make the clump too small, it may take a long time to regenerate or if there are not enough roots, it may rot out before establishing.

This is the perfect time to amend your soil with organic compost, or blended soil.  We suggest using Good Earth brand Jump Start at planting; this will help your new plant take up much more nutrients and water than it could otherwise.  This results in faster and better root establishment.

Replant your divided clumps.  Keep in mind that the further apart you plant them, the longer they will take to fill in.  If you know which variety you are working with, consider the mature width of the plant and space appropriately to get the most out of your divisions.

For more information on dividing, please visit this blog post.