MN Landscape Maintenance: Fall is a Great Time to Divide Some Perennials

Our individualized landscape designs often include perennials because they require less maintenance than annuals; however, many need to be divided occasionally, and for some of these plants, fall is the best time for them to flourish and grow.

You should divide the plants you purchase based on bloom time for each one specifically. The bloomers in the fall and late summer can be moved in the spring, spring and earlier in the summer bloomers should be moved in the fall time. When all of the growth is shown on the outer edges of the perennials or if it does not bloom as well, it should be transplanted. Before you do any type of transplanting for any reason you, should always wait six weeks before the first hard freeze. The plants need time to get settled in the new area to be ready for the winter ahead.

photo courtesy of
photo courtesy of

Use a garden fork to dig around the entire area to lift the plant completely from the hole. Keep the soil and all intact. You can brush the soil off gently. If dividing, separate the crowns of the plant once it is lifted out by cutting them with the blade of a shovel or knife. Try to preserve as much as the roots as you can. If you’re not planting them right away, place them in the shade protected from sun and wind. Spray the roots with water and cover with newspapers. They should be placed in the ground as soon as possible.

Turn the soil in the new spot 8 inches deep. All rocks, debris and roots should be removed. Manure and compost should be added into this newly dug spot. The hole should be dug at least 1.5 times as deep and wide as the roots on the plant. There should be a mound inside the hole for the roots to sit on. Fill the hole around the plant. The plants should be kept moist with water until the hard freeze. Do not use fertilizer. Add mulch over this area once the ground is frozen. The relocated plants will bloom come the spring time.

Plants to Divide During the Fall

  • Bleeding Heart
  • Lily-of-the-Valley
  • Astilbe
  • Veronica
  • Japanese Iris
  • Asiatic Lily
  • Peony
  • Oriental Lily
  • Siberian Iris

If you’re looking for more variety in your yard, perhaps adding some perennials is just what you need. Talk to our landscape designers at ALD to see what would work best for you during your garden planning in Minneapolis.