Friday, April 8, 2011

How to Purchase and Divide Perennials

When perennials are planted to closely together or grow closely together over time it is best to divide the plants before they become stunted. I purchased a pot of Sweet Williams aka Dianthus from Walmart last Fall; Sweet Williams are bi-ennials, yet they willl still come back in our climate. It is best to buy perennials, from Walmart and other super stores that have garden centers, in during the last weeks of Summer or Fall. Plants are discounted later in the season, because they lack blooms and are not as pretty at the moment; you only need to inspect the roots by gently pulling the plant out of its pot. Look for white and thick roots with no sign of being root bound. These plants can be discounted 25% or more, this is good for perennials that will continue to grow each season.
Once you have purchased your plants or dug the plant and its root ball up, you can either plant them soon or wait until the Spring. The Sweet Williams were overwintered in their pots and need to be divided. The plant to be devided needs to have at least three inches of growth, this guides you so you do not cut the stems. Lets get to work.

1. Remove the plant from the pot. Shake of any bugs that may be in the rot ball, I commonly find rolly-polly bugs at the drainage hole site. Cut the plant ball in half, using a knife or the blade of a hand trowel. I used the trowel to cut the ball.

2. Now divide the halves into quaters. Be careful to not cut into the stems of the plants.

3. Remove any dead leaves and stems. You can pull the quaters apart.

4. These plants were very dry and easrier to divide this way. To rehydrate you can place the plants into a wash basin and set a rock or brick under the side with the stems to allow the roots to only get soaked.

5. Water the plants and alow to set in the water for at least 10 minutes. Be sure to rotate the plants so that all sides are drenched.

6. Now you can plant your new plants into pots or straight into the ground now.
Happy Rainy Friday!


  1. Thank you! That were some great tips!


  2. Very good post! I always like to get two for one by dividing perennials when I buy them.


  3. Beautiful job of dividing plants... I must say, mine never look that neat! Great tips too!
    thanks so much for your entry!