How to Fill Your Flowerbeds for Free! Dividing Perennials in the Summer

Hello, fellow garden enthusiasts! Are you looking to expand your perennial collection without breaking the bank?

Well, I’ve got some exciting news for you – summer is a fantastic time to divide many of your existing perennials, giving you free plants to fill out your flowerbeds or share with friends.

Let’s dive into the wonderful world of summer perennial division!

Why Divide Perennials in Summer?

You might be wondering, “Isn’t spring or fall the best time to divide perennials?” While those seasons are indeed popular for this task, summer division has some unique advantages:

  1. You can see your garden in full bloom, making it easier to identify which plants need dividing or where you’d like to add more.
  2. Many perennials have finished their main blooming period, allowing you to divide without sacrificing flowers.
  3. The warm soil helps new divisions establish roots quickly.
  4. It’s a great way to rejuvenate plants that have finished blooming and look a bit tired.

Which Perennials Can Be Divided in Summer?

Not all perennials appreciate summer division, but many do just fine. Here’s a list of some common perennials that you can divide in summer:

  • Daylilies (Hemerocallis)
  • Hostas
  • Irises (after blooming)
  • Coneflowers (Echinacea)
  • Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia)
  • Coral Bells (Heuchera)
  • Yarrow (Achillea)
  • Shasta Daisies (Leucanthemum x superbum)
  • Bee Balm (Monarda)
  • Astilbe
  • Liriope
  • Catmint (Nepeta)

How to Divide Perennials: A Step-by-Step Guide

Ready to get your hands dirty? Here’s how to divide your perennials successfully:

  1. Water thoroughly: A day or two before dividing, give your plants a good, deep watering. This will help reduce stress and make the soil easier to work with.
  2. Choose a cool day: If possible, pick a cloudy day or work in the early morning or late afternoon to minimize stress on the plants.
  3. Prepare your tools: You’ll need a sharp spade or garden fork, pruning shears, and a knife or saw for tough roots.
  4. Trim the foliage: Cut back the plant’s foliage by about one-third. This reduces water loss and makes handling easier.
  5. Dig up the plant: Use your spade or fork to dig around the plant’s drip line, then gently lift the entire clump out of the ground.
  6. Divide the plant: Depending on the plant’s root structure, you can:
  • Pull apart fibrous roots by hand
  • Cut through dense, woody crowns with a knife or saw
  • Separate rhizomes or tubers Aim for divisions that have 3-5 healthy shoots and a good root system.
  1. Replant promptly: Don’t let the divisions dry out. Replant them at the same depth they were growing before, in prepared soil with good drainage.
  2. Water well: Give your newly divided plants a thorough watering and keep the soil consistently moist (but not waterlogged) for the next few weeks.

Tips for Success

  • Be generous: Make sure each division has enough roots to support the foliage.
  • Improve the soil: Add compost or well-rotted manure to the planting holes to give your new divisions a boost.
  • Provide shade: If it’s particularly hot, consider providing some temporary shade for your newly divided plants.
  • Don’t divide too often: Most perennials only need dividing every 3-5 years.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

  • Wilting: Some wilting is normal after division. Keep the soil moist and the plant should perk up within a few days.
  • Lack of blooms: Divided plants may not bloom as vigorously the first year. Be patient – they’re focusing on root growth!
  • Pest problems: Stressed plants can be more susceptible to pests. Keep an eye out and treat any issues promptly.

The Benefits of Summer Division

By dividing your perennials in summer, you’re not just getting free plants – you’re also:

  1. Rejuvenating older plants: Division can give mature plants a new lease on life.
  2. Controlling size: Keep vigorous growers in check by dividing them regularly.
  3. Improving air circulation: Dividing crowded plants can help prevent fungal diseases.
  4. Creating a fuller garden: Use your divisions to fill in bare spots or create new planting areas.
  5. Sharing the love: Extra divisions make great gifts for gardening friends!

Wrapping Up

Summer perennial division is a fantastic way to multiply your plants, refresh your garden, and share the joys of gardening with others – all without spending a dime! Remember, every plant is different, so don’t be afraid to research specific care instructions for your particular perennials.

So, what are you waiting for? Grab your gardening gloves and get out there! Your flowerbeds (and your wallet) will thank you. Happy dividing, everyone!

P.S. Don’t forget to stay hydrated and wear sunscreen while you’re working in the garden. And if you end up with more divisions than you can use, consider donating them to a local community garden or plant swap. Spread the perennial love!