05 Nov When, Why, & How: A Guide to Splitting Plants
Good gardening habits are necessary to create a beautiful and healthy garden, from correct planting and proper watering to weed control and pest and disease management.
One often overlooked gardening habit is plant splitting, or plant division — a process of digging up plants and dividing them into two or more sections or pieces. But why is this sometimes necessary, how do you do it correctly, and when is the best time to complete it?
Read all about plant splitting here:
WHY DIVIDE & TRANSPLANT YOUR PLANTS:
Plant splitting keeps plants healthy by giving an overgrown plant air circulation and more room to grow. It also gives you the benefit of having additional plants to transplant to other parts of your garden, saving countless dollars and trips to the garden center.
WHEN TO SPLIT & DIVIDE PLANTS:
The timing of plant division depends upon the type of plant you have and what climate you live and garden in — make sure you have that information first before charging ahead. Many different types of perennials and bulbs are great candidates for splitting, but those that have distinctive tap roots are not (plan to take cuttings or gather seeds for those types of plants).
Most plants are divided every 3-5 years in either the spring or the fall. In general, spring and summer-flowering plants are divided in the fall with other plants preferring spring division, but again — there are many exceptions to this rule, so you’ll have to research the guidelines for your particular plants.
Perrenials aren’t the only plants you can divide and transplant in the fall there are some trees and shrubs that can be planted and transplanted in the fall.
- Taking Root: Roots need to get established in the new location so make sure soil is optimal and that you allow enough time for the roots to dig in.
- Dry soil is the main cause of transplant failure so it is essential to properly water, think Goldilocks – not too much or too little, it needs to be just right.
A FEW FLOWERING PLANTS TO SPLIT IN THE FALL:
- Lilies (Daylily, Lily of the Valley, Oriental Lily)
HOW TO SPLIT & DIVIDE PLANTS:
Using a shovel, carefully dig up the entire plant, getting as much of the full root ball as possible. Now, depending upon the size of your plant and its rootball, you’ll divide the plant into two or more sections. You can use your hands to easily pull some roots apart, but with other plants you’ll need to use a sharp knife or a garden spade. Although it seems harsh to literally cut through the root ball, you’re actually doing your plant a favor, so don’t be timid. Shake off the excess soil, remove any dead growth, and consider lightly cutting back the top growth prior to replanting it.