How do I divide and transplant perennials?

Dividing and transplanting perennials is an essential gardening skill that allows you to propagate and rejuvenate your plants while maintaining a healthy garden

How do I divide and transplant perennials?

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Dividing and transplanting perennials is an essential gardening skill that allows you to propagate and rejuvenate your plants while maintaining a healthy garden. This article will guide you through the steps involved in dividing and transplanting perennials effectively.

Understanding Perennials

Before diving into the division and transplanting process, it's important to have a basic understanding of perennials. Perennials are plants that live for more than two years, and they typically grow and spread through underground parts such as rhizomes, bulbs, or crown divisions.

Choosing the Right Time

Timing is crucial when it comes to dividing and transplanting perennials. The best time to perform these tasks is during the plant's dormant season, which is typically in early spring or autumn. Dividing and transplanting during these periods ensures minimal stress on the plants and allows them to establish new root systems before facing adverse weather conditions.

Preparing the Plants

Prior to division and transplant, it is important to prepare the plants. Start by watering them thoroughly a day or two before the intended transplant date. This ensures the plants are hydrated and less prone to shock during the process. Additionally, removing any dead or damaged foliage will help redirect the plant's energy towards root development.

Digging Techniques

When digging up the perennial, it's crucial to do so carefully to minimize root damage. Use a sharp garden spade or a garden fork to dig around the root ball, creating a wide circle around the plant. Gently lift the plant, taking care not to break or disturb the roots excessively.

Division Methods

Depending on the type of perennial, there are various division methods to choose from. Some perennials can be easily divided by hand, while others may require the use of gardening tools such as a knife or a shovel. It's essential to research the specific division method for each type of perennial you are working with to ensure successful division.

Transplanting Process

After carefully dividing the perennials, it's time to transplant them into their new locations. Ensure the new planting area is prepared with well-draining soil and adequate sunlight. Dig a hole slightly larger than the root ball, place the divided perennial in the hole, and backfill with soil, gently firming it around the roots. Finally, water the newly transplanted perennials thoroughly.

Aftercare and Maintenance

Regular aftercare and maintenance are crucial to help divided perennials establish successfully. Water the transplants regularly, especially during the first few weeks, to ensure they remain adequately hydrated. Apply a layer of organic mulch around the plants to help retain moisture and suppress weed growth. Monitor the transplants for any signs of stress or disease, and address any issues promptly.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

During the division and transplant process, certain issues may arise. Common issues include poor root development, transplant shock, or pest and disease problems. Keep a close eye on the plants after division and ensure they are receiving proper care. If any issues arise, research and apply appropriate remedies promptly.


Dividing and transplanting perennials is a rewarding process that allows you to expand your garden and rejuvenate existing plants. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can confidently divide and transplant your perennials, ensuring their successful establishment and continued growth.

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