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Southeast Gardening: Dividing Perennials

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Get more perennials without going to the garden store by dividing the ones you already have with these easy steps.

green leaves
green leaves

Nurseries are not the only sources of new plants. I'm not talking about sowing seeds or rooting cuttings. By far the easiest way to make a new plant is to divide a clump-forming perennial such as a hosta, daylily, Siberian iris, ajuga, thyme and many more.

When I bought this 'Gold Standard' hosta, I chose one that had several growing points that developed into "rounds" of leaves. Although the ideal time to divide is in early spring, when the buds are beginning to emerge from the soil, you can do it anytime, but preferably before the weather heats up.

cutting roots

The only tools I use are a sharp paring knife and a little patience. Remove the pot, or dig up the plant if it is already growing in your garden. Look carefully at the cluster of shoots and use the knife to cut and break the clump into two parts.


Begin where the plant emerges from the soil. Then put the knife down and tease the roots apart. It is important that each piece has leaves and roots attached.


three roots

I was able to repeat, dividing the larger half into two more plants. Now this plant has become three plants without compromising their appearance. It was possible to do more, but experience told me to stop. Smaller divisions could take all season to recover.


ground plants

The divisions were set into a prepared and mulched bed at the same depth they had originally been growing. Then all that was needed was water - today and whenever the plants look dry for the next couple of weeks. After all, they've had surgery and their roots need to heal.


See more Southeast gardening tips.