Expand Your Planting Potential by Dividing Your Perennial PlantsJun 4th, 2012 | By admin | Category: Organic Gardening Articles
As your perennial garden begins to mature, you will need to divide your plants. You have several choices available when it comes to the divisions. These choices include using the divisions to expand your garden, transplant the divisions into sparse areas of you garden or exchange your divisions with another gardener for different plants.
When it comes to perennial plants it is important to divide the plant before it gets too large. This is because overgrown plants tend to be weak compared to perennials which are smaller. Most perennials should be divided every two to three years to ensure the greatest bloom potential.
Most perennial roots extend beyond the edge of the foliage. Therefore, it is vital that you begin digging beyond the perennial’s foliage to decrease the amount of damage done to the roots. Dig straight down with sharp thrusts completely around the mature plant and begin gently lifting the plant away from the dirt. Once the plant is loosened from the soil, cut the mature plants into halves or quarters.
Perennial plants prefer to be divided during cooler weather either in early spring or late fall. During the hot summer months, new transplants normally have a difficult time setting their roots; therefore, divide your plants during cool weather.
It is important that the roots are kept moist both prior to and after division. Roots which are moist are easier to separate without damaging the plant. Also, once you transplant the division it is essential that the roots be kept moist. The original plant must also be kept watered for successful reintroduction into your landscape.
When transplanting both the original plant and the new division, work organic material into the soil to further assist proper nutrition of the transplants. Organic material not only adds nutrition to the soil, it also loosens and aerates the soil, allowing roots to spread out and develop.
To effectively divide perennials, do so either when the plant first starts emerging from the ground or after the plant blooms. Most of the plant’s energy is expended during the bloom cycle; therefore, it is best to wait until the perennial has stopped blooming. After the bloom period, the plant uses its energy to strengthen the roots.
As you divide your perennial you may notice that some specimens seem healthier than others. Discard the unhealthy looking divisions or those divisions which have little or no roots. Only transplant those divisions which have plenty of roots and look healthy for success.
As you begin transplanting your divisions, keep in mind the size of the mature plant rather than the size of the division. Within a year or two the transplants will have matured into full grown plants. By properly spacing your divisions, the plant can grow to maturity without the necessity of dividing the next year.
When it comes to dividing a plant, remember that a division needs ample roots to successfully transplant. Therefore, never divide a plant into more than fourths. If the plant is smaller, it may be best to only half the mature plant.
Your perennial garden will offer you years of enjoyment with just a little work. To keep your perennials looking their best, divide as needed and enjoy the abundance offered by perennial divisions.