Dividing Herbaceous Perennials
Autumn is upon us and now is a good time to plant herbaceous perennials ready for next years garden. Or if you have an abundance already in your garden, autumn is a good time to maintain them.
Herbaceous perennials will benefit from being divided every two or three years. This will encourage them to be more vigrous and will keep them healthy. Only divide up summer flowering perennials at this time of year - spring flowering perennials should be divided after they finish flowering in early summer.
Gently lift the perennial using a fork, trying not to damamge any of the roots as you do so. Shake off excess soil.
If the plant has small, fibrous roots, then it will be possible to gently 'tease' apart the plant to divide it. Most hostas and heucheras will have this sort of root.
Larger fibrous roots may need two forks inserted in the middle of the root system to be used as 'levers' to pull apart the plant. Hemerocallis is an example.
Larger roots and woody roots or crowns will need to be cut apart. Use a sharp knife or a very sharp spade to split the root system. Make sure that you leave some shoots on each section to regrow. Examples would be helleborus or delphinium.
Replant all your new plants in the garden, swap them with friends or put them in pots. Make sure they are regularly watered and you will have an even better display in the garden next year. Always beware of slugs and snails and be prepared - they love perennials!
Enjoy the garden.