Divide and Conquer your Perennials this Spring


Can I divide herbaceous perennials in spring?

Many of you out there have gardens that are littered with dozens of herbaceous or border perennials. Perennials that have been planted for three years or more may have formed a large clump with a deteriorating central area or perhaps the perennial is encroaching on the neighbouring plantings. Perennials like this are ideal candidates for division, which as well a benefiting the divided plant will also give you new plants for other areas of your garden.

The herbacous perennials you can split

There are only a few perennials that do not respond to spring division and they are.....Acanthus, Anemone, Aruncus, Centranthus, Dianthus, Gypsophola, Iris, Limonium, Linum, Meconopsis, Paeonia, Penstemon, Platycodon, and Verbascum. All other perennials are safe enough to divide during spring.

How to divide

Carry out all division on a "soft" day, by which I mean a damp day with damp soil and no harsh drying winds. This is because your first task is to carefully dig up the perennial clump thus exposing it to the air. You should aim to divide the plant so that the dead central area is discarded and you are left with four to six divisions from the fresh outer growths. Make sure each division has several healthy buds or shoots and a reasonable amount of root. What should you use to divide a perennial, well soft rooted types can be pulled apart simply by using your hands. If the clump is tough use two garden forks. On a very tough rootstock you may even have to chop with a sharp spade or hatchet. Replant all divisions as soon as possible; use a mix of one part topsoil and one part multipurpose compost as a backfill mix.
Give the replant a heavy watering and do not allow the surrounding soil to dry out over the summer.

View further information on this topic in the Irish gardeners forum >>>>

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