Lifting and dividing perennial plants is an easy way to get new plants for free to fill any gaps in your borders, and it’s a great way to rejuvenate tired perennials that are no longer performing as well as they used to. Spring and autumn are the ideal times to lift and divide many perennial plants.
And if you’re planning to buy new plants, many can be divided before they’re planted out, to give you several plants for the price of one.
Plants you can divide include hardy geraniums, hostas and daylilies; autumn-flowering perennials, such as rudbeckias and asters; ornamental grasses and bamboo. You can also divide many spring-flowering plants when their flowers have faded, such as primulas and spring-flowering bulbs. In spring, plants are bursting with new growth, so if divided in spring, plants will settle into their new homes quickly – just make sure you keep them well watered. And in autumn, plants can take advantage of the warm, damp soil, to get their roots established, ready to grow away strongly the following year.
How to lift and divide perennials
Perennial plants that grow in a clump are easy to propagate by division. The clump can be teased apart or chopped up using a sharp knife or a spade. It may look brutal, but it helps rejuvenate plants and increase the vigour of the original plant – as well as giving you new plants for free.
How to divide hostas
Monty Don shows the best way to divide a clump of hostas. And don’t worry, far from damaging it, you’ll actually be doing it good. Follow Monty Don’s video guide, which includes tips on where to replant the new hosta plants you’ve made so they thrive.
How to divide primroses
As primroses finish flowering, it’s a great time to divide them. You can quickly and easily boost your stocks of primulas by following Monty Don’s video guide to lifting and dividing. Monty shows how one clump can be used to make dozens of plants within a couple of years. He also offers tips on buying primulas for propagation and shares advice on replanting your divided plants.
How to split ornamental grasses
Late spring is the ideal time to divide clumps of ornamental grasses to increase your stocks. It’s also the time to plant new grasses. Watch Monty Don as he splits a large Calamagrostis and replants the divisions. He also offers tips on caring for grasses to ensure they settle in well.
How to divide new plants
If you’ve been able to buy plants, you want to make the most of them. Monty Don shows you how to divide an aster, or Michaelmas daisy, that he’s just bought, to give you several plants for the price of one. But you can use this technique on many herbaceous perennials. He also gives advice on how to save money when buying plants.
How to divide spring bulbs
Just as your spring bulbs finish flowering is the ideal time to lift and divide them, so you get an even better show of flowers in future years. Read our guide to which bulbs to lift now and how to replant them for the best results.
How to divide daylilies
Daylilies (Hemerocallis) in full flower look glorious, but over time they can start to lose their vigour and produce fewer flowers. Dividing summer-flowering perennials, such as these, helps to reinvigorate them, plus you get new plants for free. You can divide summer-flowering perennials in spring or autumn.