12 Cold hardy perennials that flourish when divided in spring rather than fall

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Welcome to our comprehensive guide on rejuvenating your garden by dividing perennials during the early spring months. This process not only ensures vigorous growth but also enhances the blooming capabilities of your plants. Let’s explore how and why spring is the ideal time for this vital gardening activity.

Why choose spring for dividing perennials?

Spring offers the optimal conditions for perennials recovering from division due to cooler temperatures and abundant moisture. This season alleviates stress on plants, allowing them ample time to re-establish themselves before the onset of warmer summer months. Additionally, dividing in spring capitalizes on new growth signals, making it easier to identify and handle root divisions properly.

Steps to successful perennial division

  • Watering: Ensure the soil is moist a day before the division to ease root separation.
  • Root cutting: Use sharp tools to minimize damage, slicing through roots with clean cuts.
  • Immediate replanting: Plant your divisions as soon as possible to prevent root drying.
  • Post-division care: Water generously and apply a light mulch layer to help retain soil moisture.

Reducing plant stress during division

To minimize stress and enhance recovery, always divide perennials on a cloudy day or during the cooler parts of the day. Early morning or late afternoon is preferable. After division, ensure liberal watering and protection from direct midday sun until signs of new growth are evident.

Sedum (Stonecrop)

Here’s a table with the 12 cold-hardy perennials that prefer to be divided in spring and specific instructions for dividing each:

Perennial Instructions for Dividing
Sedum (Stonecrop) 1. Dig up the entire clump. <br> 2. Use a sharp knife or spade to separate it into smaller sections. <br> 3. Replant immediately at the same depth.
Chrysanthemums 1. Lift the plant with a fork. <br> 2. Divide into sections using a knife or your hands. <br> 3. Replant the divisions promptly and water thoroughly.
Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox) 1. Dig up the whole plant. <br> 2. Divide into smaller clumps with a sharp knife or shovel. <br> 3. Replant divisions with ample spacing to improve airflow.
Helenium (Sneezeweed) 1. Lift the clump out of the ground. <br> 2. Pull or cut apart into several pieces. <br> 3. Replant sections with well-draining soil.
Russian Sage 1. Use a spade to dig around the base and lift the plant. <br> 2. Divide into smaller portions using a knife. <br> 3. Replant at the same depth and water well.
Japanese Anemones 1. Lift the entire clump. <br> 2. Divide into smaller sections using a spade or knife. <br> 3. Replant in rich, well-drained soil and mulch.
Rudbeckia (Black-Eyed Susan) 1. Dig up the entire clump. <br> 2. Divide using a knife or shovel. <br> 3. Replant promptly with good spacing.
Plumbago (Leadwort) 1. Dig up the plant and shake off excess soil. <br> 2. Divide into several sections. <br> 3. Replant immediately and water thoroughly.
New England Asters 1. Lift the clump carefully using a garden fork. <br> 2. Divide into smaller sections. <br> 3. Replant in well-draining soil.
Ageratum (Floss Flower) 1. Dig up the entire plant. <br> 2. Divide into smaller clumps by hand or with a knife. <br> 3. Replant in well-drained soil.
Echinacea (Coneflower) 1. Lift the clump using a fork. <br> 2. Divide into sections by hand or knife. <br> 3. Replant promptly in well-drained soil and water well.
Agastache (Hyssop) 1. Use a spade to dig up the whole clump. <br> 2. Divide into smaller portions. <br> 3. Replant in well-draining soil and water thoroughly.
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Tips for an everlasting lush garden

Regular division every few years prevents overcrowding, encourages airflow, reduces disease spread, and promotes more flowers. Always be mindful of zone-specific growing advice, and consider companion planting to maximize the ecological benefits and aesthetic appeal of your garden.

By following these guidelines, gardeners can efficiently manage their perennials, encouraging a vibrant, flourishing garden that brings joy throughout the seasons. Whether you’re refining an existing landscape or starting fresh, spring division is a vital step towards achieving gardening success.


Justin, an avid writer, is equally passionate about gardening, especially cultivating beautiful flowers and productive vegetable patches. His writing skillfully intertwines his gardening experiences with vivid descriptions and keen insights, inspiring readers to appreciate nature's beauty and consider their own gardening adventures.