Often times we have perennial plants that have been established for a few years. A very cost effective way to expanding your garden is to split those larger perennials into several smaller ones. Over time those will grow and expand and be able to be split again, and again.
I prefer to do my splitting in either the early spring or late fall. It helps when the plant isn’t fully in bloom so you can see where you are splitting them. With plants that I am only dividing in half, I will put the shovel in the middle of the plant and split all of the way down, being careful to retain all of the roots for that half of the plant. It will likely still be in tack and can be quickly replanted to elsewhere in your garden.
In the case of much larger plants, or those that haven’t been split in several years, I split them in two steps. First of all I will decide how much of the original plant that I want to leave at that site, then place the shovel between that section and the remainder of the plant. Carefully split through the roots and dig up the remaining plant. Once the plant is out I lay it on the ground to begin splitting it further, by hand. Look at the base of the plant and find some natural places to rip, or cut the plant apart from the larger section. Once completely split, those new plants can be placed throughout the garden.
Recently I decided to remove a tulip garden on the side of my house and make it more of an ongoing green space. The tulips were so pretty while they were in bloom, but quickly lost their flowers and became a lackluster garden. My dad has many varieties of perennials in his garden so I asked if he could split a hosta plant and a day lily plant. The original plants were large enough that, once split, I had 10 smaller plants of each. They are now nicely planted in an every-other style in the garden on the side of my house. Next up is to work on a grass clipping mulch and a new brick paver boarder to dress it up a bit.
I’m excited to watch these grow over the next few years and multiply. I will have to soon consider when to split these and replant into a new location!