When Blooms Fade, Grab Your Spade! A Guide To Dividing Plants In The Fall

As the summer season winds down, so do the blooms of many of our favorite flowers in the garden. As a gardener, your work is never done, and many of us have made notes over the growing season about what needs to be divided and moved to new homes before next year. It’s time to put those plans into action!

Wild and Free

If you have an established garden, you might have large clusters of unruly flowers begging to be divided.

Plants like coreopsis, bee balm, echinacea, Shasta daisies, daylilies, hostas, and Liatris spread throughout a space quickly, their clusters growing bigger and bigger by the season. Sometimes, they outgrow the garden, and some varieties fare better if split into smaller clumps.

So when the blooms start to fade, grab your spade!

Simple Division

You can divide in the spring or the fall; I prefer the latter because it gives plants time to settle into their new homes and ensures they’ll be ready to bloom come spring.

Dividing plants is simple, and although you might worry about killing them, perennials are hardy and can handle the process.

Let’s say you’re dividing a hosta:

  • Dig the entire root ball out of the ground.
  • Take a spade or a garden knife and split the hosta into twos, threes, or fours, depending on its original size.
  • Plant the divisions into the ground and add some water if needed.

Next summer, these divisions will look like mature plants!

If you’re dividing large clumps of flowers, you don’t need to dig the entire bunch of blooms out of the ground first. Check the base of the plant and dig out a healthy chunk from the parent plant.

Plant Sale!

If you don’t have enough room for divisions, consider giving them away to friends or family or selling them in the community for an affordable price. I’ve recently been filling my gardens with plants purchased cheaply from people in my neighborhood. Just be sure they’re not full of chemicals before you buy! You can also organize a plant swap with others to add more variety to your garden space.

Whatever you end up doing, don’t fear dividing your plants! Your garden will look a little neater and bigger, and your plants will be healthier and more vibrant.

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Catherine Sherriffs

Editor at Garden Culture Magazine

Catherine is a Canadian award-winning journalist who worked as a reporter and news anchor in Montreal’s radio and television scene for 10 years. A graduate of Concordia University, she left the hustle and bustle of the business after starting a family. Now, she’s the editor and a writer for Garden Culture Magazine while also enjoying being a mom to her three young kids. Her interests include great food, gardening, fitness, animals, and anything outdoors.