Splitting Perennial Plants

Splitting Perennial Plants

How to split a perennial plant:  When I married Fred in 2005, much of our yard was a big wild mess of trees, vines, plants and shrubs covered in wild grape vines and poison ivy.  Farmer Fred and I tackled the gardens one area at a time.  When we began working a section, we would name it.   We created the dip garden, the shade garden, the hill garden and the pump garden.   Fred and his Kubota did the heavy work of clearing out all the plants, vines, and bushes we didn’t want.  Once an area was cleared, I created a plan for the new garden.  I bought a few of each type of plant I wanted in the new garden. 

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woodland road
2014
woodland road
2019

Over the next several years, as the plants grew, I split them into more plants and slowly filled in the gardens.  I also moved the plants around to see how they looked and grew in different locations.  Fred calls it rearranging the outdoor gardens furniture.   Now I rarely buy perennial plants.  I just “go shopping”  in my own gardens.   An added bonus is I have plants to share with a friend

Rx for How to Split a Perennial Plant:

Step 1
shovel of dirt
Step 2
hosta plant
Step 3
splitting a hosta
Step 4
planting a hosta
Step 5
Step 6

Step 1.  Dig the hole for your new plant.

Step 2.  Add compost or peat moss to the hole.

Step 3.  Choose the plant you want to split.  Hostas are a great choice.  

Step 4.  Split the plant, cutting out a portion of the plant with your shovel. 

Step 5.  Place the part you split off in the hole you prepared.

Step 6.  Cover with soil and top off with mulch. 

Step 7.  Water well and watch it grow big enough to be split again in a few years.

shovel of dirt
Step 2
ferns
Step 3
planting a fern
Step 5

A fern is another perennial plant that is easy to split and grows fast.  The fern spreads by sending runners or rhizoids under the mulch.  The rhizoids send up a shoot that forms a new fern.  So instead of splitting the main plant, dig up the new plant and relocate it to other areas of your gardens.

Step 3
splitting a day lily
Step 4
transplanting a day lily
Step 5

Daylilies are a perennial flowering plant that form elongated underground stems called rhizomes. The rhizomes form the new plant.  However,  the process is the same.  Cut the daylily in half and move the cut portion to the hole you prepared.  If your daylily is small, you can split out a few of the rhizomes and plant them.  It will take several years for the daylily to reach maturity when started from a few small rhizomes. 

Follow these steps for how to split a perennial plant next time you want more plants for free.

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