By Pat Cook, Master Gardener, SCMG
In order to maintain vigor and health and ensure good performance year after year, it is important to divide perennials regularly (every two to three years). There are three main benefits of dividing perennials:
1) Dividing perennials offers an opportunity to multiply perennial plants in your garden. It increases the numbers of plants you have (useful for your mass plantings), or allows you to share plants with others;
2) Restores vigor to your plant. Plants show signs of decline by producing smaller foliage, smaller and fewer blooms. Dividing gives them the boost they need to bounce back strong and healthy.
3) To reduce competition with surrounding plants. As your perennials get bigger, they may outgrow their space in the garden.
Generally, plants should be divided early in the spring or just after blooming. Division is most successful when the plants are not in active growth. If dividing plants in the fall, you should ensure that there is a good six weeks before the ground freezes to allow the plant to become well established before winter sets in. Plant divisions as soon as possible and water them well after planting.