Learn how to perform plant division to expand your garden without breaking the bank. This comprehensive guide provides step-by-step instructions on when and how to divide your perennials, including the best seasons for division and the tools you'll need. Discover the benefits of plant division, such as rejuvenating growth and maintaining plant health, and explore tips for successful replanting and care. Whether you're an experienced gardener or new to plants, this article will give you the knowledge and confidence to create beautiful new flower beds through plant division.


Have you ever wondered how you can expand your garden without spending a fortune on new plants? Plant division is an excellent technique for multiplying your beloved perennials and creating beautiful new flower beds. By dividing plants, you can rejuvenate their growth, control their size, and maintain their health and vigor. In this article, we will explore the ins and outs of plant division, including when and how to perform this propagation method. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or new to the world of plants, this comprehensive guide will provide you with the knowledge and confidence to successfully divide your favorite perennials.

When to Divide Plants

The timing for dividing plants depends on the specific plant species and its growing habit. Generally, spring and fall are the ideal seasons for plant division. These periods offer favorable conditions for root establishment and minimize stress on the plants. Spring division allows the plants to establish themselves before the heat of summer, while fall division gives them ample time to develop strong roots before the onset of winter.

Dividing plants in summer is generally discouraged due to the risk of water loss and stress caused by high temperatures. However, certain plants, such as daylilies, can tolerate division during the summer months. It’s always best to research the specific requirements of your plants to ensure you choose the right time for division.

How to Divide Plants

Before diving into the actual division process, there are a few important considerations. First, identify the type of plant you wish to divide. Plants that spread from a central crown and have a clumping growth habit are the best candidates for division. Some examples of plants suitable for division include asters, black-eyed Susans, chives, daisies, and forget-me-nots. On the other hand, plants with taproots are usually best propagated through cuttings or seeds rather than division.

Once you’ve determined that your plant is suitable for division, follow these step-by-step instructions:

  1. Preparation: Gather the necessary tools, including a sharp garden knife or garden fork, a spade or shovel, gardening gloves, and any other equipment specific to your needs. Having clean and sharp tools is essential to minimize the risk of damage or disease transmission.

  2. Moisten the Soil: Water the plant thoroughly a day or two before division to moisten the soil. Adequate soil moisture eases the division process and reduces stress on the plant. Ensure the soil is sufficiently moist but not waterlogged.

  3. Loosen the Soil: Using a garden fork or spade, gently loosen the soil around the plant. Start from the outer perimeter and gradually work your way towards the center. This technique helps in gently loosening the plant’s root mass from the soil.

  4. Digging and Lifting: Carefully dig around the plant, starting from several points around the edge, and work towards the center. Lift the entire clump out of the ground, taking care not to damage the roots or stems. If necessary, use two forks back-to-back to gently lift the plant out.

  5. Inspect and Divide: Examine the root system and identify natural divisions or sections where the plant can be separated. Smaller plants can be divided by hand, ensuring each section has an adequate number of healthy roots and shoots. For larger plants, use a sharp garden knife to make clean cuts, avoiding tearing or creating jagged edges. Remove any dead growth or damaged pieces.

  6. Replanting: Prepare new planting holes in advance, ensuring they are wide and deep enough to accommodate the roots without crowding or bending them. Place each division in its respective hole, ensuring the crown is level with or slightly above the soil surface. Backfill the holes with soil, gently firming it around the roots.

  7. Watering and Care: After replanting, thoroughly water the newly divided plants to settle the soil and eliminate air pockets. Provide regular watering during the establishment phase, keeping the soil evenly moist but not waterlogged. Monitor the plants for signs of stress or disease and take appropriate measures if needed.


Plant division is an effective and rewarding technique for expanding your garden and maintaining the health and vigor of your perennials. By following the proper timing and techniques, you can successfully divide your plants and create beautiful new flower beds. Remember to choose the right time for division based on the specific needs of your plants, and always research their unique requirements. With these guidelines in mind, you’ll be on your way to a thriving and flourishing garden that continues to bring you joy year after year.


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[^2]: The Ultimate Guide to Dividing Plants – FineGardening. (n.d.). Retrieved from <a href=”https://www.finegardening.com/collection/ultimate-guide-dividing-plants“>https://www.finegardening.com/collection/ultimate-guide-dividing-plants](https://www.finegardening.com/collection/ultimate-guide-dividing-plants)

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[^6]: The Art of Plant Propagation: Division – PlantPropagation.org. (n.d.). Retrieved from <a href=”https://plantpropagation.org/division/“>https://plantpropagation.org/division/](https://plantpropagation.org/division/)

[^7]: How To Propagate Plants by Division – Plant Propagation. (n.d.). Retrieved from <a href=”https://plantpropagation.com/how-to-propagate-plants-by-division/“>https://plantpropagation.com/how-to-propagate-plants-by-division/](https://plantpropagation.com/how-to-propagate-plants-by-division/)

[^8]: Six Propagation Mistakes to Avoid | BBC Gardeners World Magazine. (n.d.). Retrieved from <a href=”https://www.gardenersworld.com/how-to/grow-plants/six-propagation-mistakes-to-avoid/“>https://www.gardenersworld.com/how-to/grow-plants/six-propagation-mistakes-to-avoid/](https://www.gardenersworld.com/how-to/grow-plants/six-propagation-mistakes-to-avoid/)

[^9]: Why Plant Division Fails, and How to Ensure Success – FineGardening. (n.d.). Retrieved from <a href=”https://www.finegardening.com/article/why-plant-division-fails-and-how-to-insure-success“>https://www.finegardening.com/article/why-plant-division-fails-and-how-to-insure-success](https://www.finegardening.com/article/why-plant-division-fails-and-how-to-insure-success)

[^10]: When Should You Divide Perennials? (n.d.). Retrieved from <a href=”https://www.thespruce.com/when-to-divide-perennials-2132470“>https://www.thespruce.com/when-to-divide-perennials-2132470](https://www.thespruce.com/when-to-divide-perennials-2132470)

[^11]: When should I divide my perennials? (n.d.). Retrieved from <a href=”https://extension.unh.edu/blog/2021/03/when-should-i-divide-my-perennials“>https://extension.unh.edu/blog/2021/03/when-should-i-divide-my-perennials](https://extension.unh.edu/blog/2021/03/when-should-i-divide-my-perennials)

[^12]: RWAKELEY. (2022, April 29). The Dos and Don’ts of Plant Division – Divide & Conquer Your Perennials Now! Retrieved from <a href=”https://raiseyourgarden.com/home/the-dos-and-donts-of-plant-division-divide-conquer-your-perennials-now“>https://raiseyourgarden.com/home/the-dos-and-donts-of-plant-division-divide-conquer-your-perennials-now](https://raiseyourgarden.com/home/the-dos-and-donts-of-plant-division-divide-conquer-your-perennials-now)

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