Late summer is a great time for dividing most perennials, and the perfect time to create a whole slew of new plants for your landscape.
And best of all, all for free!
Although many perennials can be divided anytime from early spring through fall, splitting plants in mid to late summer offers a few additional advantages.
The Advantages of Dividing Perennials In Late Summer
By splitting plants in August and early September, new starts have plenty of time to establish their roots before winter.
And that can make all the difference in a plant’s health and vitality the following spring.
Unfortunately, spring-divided plants sometimes lag behind in their first year growth.
They spend most of their energy the first few months on root development, and not on producing better foliage and more blooms.
But by dividing in mid-summer, the plants have a few months to develop and store energy for the following season.
And that means they are ready to start growing and blooming as soon as the soil begins to heat up!
A Few More Reasons…
Another great advantage to dividing plants in the summer is that you are able to see a plant’s actual size at maturity.
This is huge in helping determine what plants need attention, and where!
In the middle of summer, it is easy to see what plants are growing too big or thick. And, vice-versa, what portions of your flowerbeds and landscape need additional plants.
But that task can be difficult in the early spring.
Many plants haven’t even broken through the ground. And others have only reached a small portion of their final size.
But splitting and dividing in the summer makes thinning and filling areas in with more plants a cinch!
And by filling those empty spots with more plants, you cut down on future mulch costs – and more importantly, weeding! (see : How To Keep Flowerbeds Weed Free All Summer Long)
How To Divide Perennials In The Summer
Nearly all early to mid summer blooming perennials can be dug up and split after they bloom.
Here is a quick look at a few of the most common perennials found in landscape , and how to divide them in mid-summer.
Black Eyed Susans, Coneflowers & Daisies
All three of these commonly found perennials can be divided in the same method.
Cut spent bloom stems and foliage back to a few inches above the ground. Dig up and split with a sharp shovel or knife. And if you have never used a Hori-Hori garden knife, it is a great tool for this task!
Water the roots well when replanting, and every few days for the first few weeks after transplanting.
Although plants may not show much top growth during the final months leading up to winter, below the soil, their roots are becoming well-established for great spring growth!
Once the tall wispy blooms of the coral bell plant have completed their cycle, cut the flowers and stems back to the plant’s base.
Keep the remaining foliage at the base, and simply dig around the edges of the plant base to lift out of the ground.
Next, split the roots and foliage with a sharp knife or spade.
Water the roots well at planting time and for the following weeks into late fall.
In some cases, the foliage may die back or die off, but the plant’s roots will survive and be ready to go next spring.
In the middle of summer, it’s quite easy to see which hosta plant might be getting a bit too large!
Although you can dig up and replant hostas at nearly any point, waiting until after they bloom allows a little more beauty in the landscape.
Simply cut back all foliage and blooms to about an inch or two above the soil. Next, dig up the root area and split into multiple plants.
Like with splitting any perennial, the size of the root split will determine the size of the perennial. Small splits will create smaller plants, larger splits, larger plants.
Water the roots well and replant into the landscape. Be sure to water every few days after planting for the first 3 to 4 weeks.
In most cases, you will see new growth begin to appear in about 3 to 4 weeks. And by next spring, it will be ready to take off.
Start by cutting back the foliage and all flower stems of daylilies to around an inch above the ground.
Split the plant into the desired size, water the roots, and replant. Daylilies are one of the easiest and hardiest of all perennials to transplant.
As with the hosta plant, you will see new growth appear from the base within a few weeks after transplanting.
Avoid Splitting Ornamental Grasses In Mid-Summer
One perennial to avoid splitting during the summer months are ornamental grasses.
They are simply unable to handle the stress and heat of mid-summer dividing.
Springtime is the best time to split ornamental grasses See : How & When To Divide Ornamental Grasses
Here is to dividing your perennials this summer, and filling your beds with loads of free plants!
Happy Gardening! – Jim and Mary.
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