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How to divide 45 favorite perennials

By: Garden Gate staff
Not sure how or when to divide your perennials? You can find out the details for each specific plant with this handy guide to dividing 45 different perennials.

how-to-divide-perennials-guide-pv2:Perennials like this lungwort can be divided for extra plants or to improve the health of the plant.

Divide your perennials to keep plants vigorous, improve the health of their foliage and to increase the number of blooms. Or simply divide them for the sake of having multiple of your favorite plants! Because every perennial has a preferred way to be divided, use this handy chart to help you know what time of year to divide, how to divide it and a handful of other helpful tips to ensure your success.

Keep in mind that each perennial’s root type determines how it likes to be cut and divided. For more information head to over to Three Ways to Divide Perennials to help you know.

Plant name Botanical name What season to divide Root type Special tips
Astilbe
Astilbe spp.
Spring, Fall Clump Divide in early spring or after it stops blooming in late summer to early fall; will bloom better with division every 2 to 3 years
Bachelor’s button Centaurea montana Spring, Fall Clump Easy to divide; needs to be divided every 1 to 2 years to keep plants vigorous
Bearded iris
Iris hybrids
Summer Rhizome Divide in summer when flowering is over, at least 6 weeks before frost so plants have time to get established
Bee balm
Monarda spp.
Spring, Summer Rhizome Spreads quickly; easy to divide; for ease of handling, divide in spring as foliage is emerging
Black-eyed Susan
Rudbeckia spp.
Spring, Fall Clump Easy to divide; divide every 3 to 4 years; for best appearance next season, don’t make divisions too small
Blanket flower
Gaillardia x grandiflora
Spring, Fall Clump Easy to divide; roots usually pull apart easily by hand; divide every 3 to 4 years
Bleeding heart, old-fashioned
Lamprocapnos spectabilis
Spring, Summer, Fall Clump Divide as foliage goes dormant in the heat or mark plant location; roots are brittle, handle carefully
Brunnera Brunnera macrophylla Spring, Summer Clump Divide in late spring to early summer, after blooming; will reseed but divide to keep specific cultivars true
Bugleweed
Ajuga reptans
Spring, Summer, Fall Clump, spreads by stolons Plants root as they spread; no need to dig whole plant; cut off rooted outer pieces and replant
Butterfly weed
Asclepias tuberosa
Spring Clump Difficult to divide because of taproot; for best results, purchase new plants
Catmint
Nepeta x faassenii
Spring, Summer Clump Doesn’t need division often; cut back whole plant by half so roots have less foliage to support
Columbine
Aquilegia hybrids
Summer, Fall Woody crown Divide every few years to keep this short-lived perennial around; reseeds but seedlings may not look like parent plants
Coneflower
Echinacea purpurea hybrids
Spring, Summer, Fall Clump Easy to divide; divide every 4 to 5 years for healthier plants; reseeds and seedlings are easy to transplant
Coral bells
Heuchera hybrids
Spring, Summer, Fall Woody crown Don’t worry about getting roots with each piece, they’ll sprout from the stem; cut individual leaves back by half to conserve moisture
Coreopsis
Coreopsis grandiflora
Spring, Summer Clump Division every 3 to 4 years helps this short-lived perennial stay around longer; cut plant back by half
Daylily
Hemerocallis hybrids
Spring, Summer, Fall Clump Divide every 5 to 7 years; rebloomers are best lifted in spring before they flower
Delphinium
Delphinium spp.
Spring Clump Blooms best if divided down into small sections; division every 2 to 3 years will prolong plants’ life
Dianthus
Dianthus spp.
Spring, Summer Clump Mat-forming types root as they grow; cut a rooted piece from the edge and replant
European wild ginger
Asarum europaeum
Spring, Summer, Fall Rhizome Easy to dig and split; likes moist to wet soils, so keep new plants well watered
Fall anemone
Anemone spp.
Spring Woody crown, spreads by runners Doesn’t like to have main clump disturbed; sends out underground runners so dig small new plants around the edges to transplant
False indigo
Baptisia australis
Spring Clump Difficult to divide because of taproot; for best results, purchase new plants; slow to recover from being moved
Feather reed grass
Calamagrostis acutiflora
Spring Clump Divide in spring; lift clump and cut into sections; you may need a saw or hatchet to divide roots
Garden mum
Chrysanthemum hybrids
Spring Woody crown Easy to divide; divide every 2 to 3 years to keep plants blooming and vigorous; discard dead central portion
Garden phlox
Phlox paniculata
Spring, Summer, Fall Clump Divide every 3 years or when flowering diminishes; discard the woody center and plant the edge pieces
Geranium, hardy
Geranium spp.
Spring, Summer, Fall Woody crown A ring of foliage around a dead center tells you it’s time to divide; usually every 3 to 4 years is sufficient
Goat’s beard
Aruncus dioicus
Spring Clump Rarely needs to be divided; tough roots make dividing difficult; leave plenty of room around new transplants because the plant gets large
Goldenrod
Solidago spp.
Spring, Fall Clump Divide every 3 to 5 years to keep plants vigorous
Hellebore
Helleborus spp.
Spring Clump Rarely needs to be divided; if you do divide it, do it in early spring while plants are in bloom or right after they stop flowering
Hosta
Hosta hybrids
Spring, Summer, Fall Clump Easy to divide in early spring when foliage is emerging; dividing large clumps later won’t harm plants but leaves them lopsided for the summer
Japanese painted fern
Athyrium niponicum pictum
Spring, Fall Clump Rarely needs to be divided, so divide only for new plants, every 7 to 8 years
Joe-Pye weed
Eupatorium purpureum
Spring, Fall Woody crown Divide in early spring for easy handling; for fall division, cut back flowers; may need a saw or hatchet to cut apart woody crown
Lady’s mantle
Alchemilla mollis
Spring, Fall Clump Divide in spring or fall; easiest in early spring as leaves begin to emerge; doesn’t need frequent division
Lamb’s ear
Stachys byzantina
Spring, Summer, Fall Clump This hardy plant roots along the stem; cut a piece off the edge and replant; cut leaves back by half; don’t overwater
Lily-of-the-valley
Convallaria majalis
Spring, Summer, Fall Rhizome Rhizomes pull apart easily; make sure each new division has a leaf and a cluster of roots
Lungwort
Pulmonaria hybrids
Summer, Fall Clump Big leaves wilt easily; cut each leaf back by half and keep summer transplants well watered
Maiden grass
Miscanthus spp.
Spring Clump Divide in early spring; use a hatchet or saw to cut clump apart; can dig whole clump to divide or chop out segments
Oriental poppy
Papaver orientale
Summer Woody crown Divide in midsummer; foliage goes dormant quickly after flowering so mark the plant’s location; keep new transplants watered
Peony
Paeonia spp.
Summer, Fall Clump New plants will take a few years to flower; set new plants at same depth as they were previously or they won’t bloom; keep watered; does not need to be divided often
Russian sage
Perovskia atriplicifolia
Spring Woody crown Very difficult to divide because of taproot; for best results, purchase new plants
Salvia
Salvia spp.
Spring, Fall Clump Divide every 5 or 6 years or when plant dies out in the center
Sedum (tall)
Sedum spp.
Spring, Summer, Fall Clump Easiest to divide in spring when foliage is still small; dividing clumps later won’t harm plant but may reduce bloom for the year
Shasta daisy
Leucanthemum x superbum
Spring, Summer, Fall Clump Easiest to divide in spring when foliage is still small; dividing clumps later won’t harm plant but will reduce bloom and leave plants lopsided for the year
Speedwell
Veronica hybrids
Spring, Summer Clump Easy to slice into pieces; make sure to get plenty of roots with each new section
Turtlehead
Chelone lyonii
Spring, Fall Clump Divide every 4 years or as needed; if you divide in fall, wait until the plant is done flowering
Yarrow
Achillea spp.
Spring, Summer Clump Easy to divide; most types spread quickly so divide every 2 to 3 years

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