Perennial plants: Lift, divide, repeat
Now is the time to divide perennials, spring divide perennials
With many plants just revealing themselves after winter hibernation, it seems that last thing you’d want to do is dig them up. But for many, it will be doing them, and you , a favour. This is my ethos for perennial plants: lift, divide, repeat.
Some require this radical attention to maintain their vigour. Others to curb it. Or at least reduce the impact of it. That could be to stop a plant dominating an area, or to be able to use some of it to make a bigger display with more impact, or to split it and use the same plant to maintain the repetition.
Repeating the same plant in a border or adjacent borders helps to tie the scheme together. The same thing works with plants that are of similar colour and height. Using the same plants occasionally, or the same few plants in a repeating pattern adds cohesion. Otherwise there would a jumbled flow of individual plants, with nothing to bring it together.
Some plants either can be split, or need to be split, every 3-4 years. Some others can be done every two years, and sometimes more frequently than that. If the conditions are just perfect you can double the stock every year. This has happened in my garden with some crocosmias, and geraniums.
Self-seeding plant factory
In addition there are those that self-seed, providing a random imbalance of repeating that is entirely natural. These don’t actually need to be split, but it is inevitable that some will need to be moved. So, in effect, the same rules apply.
The small area of vacant soil at the front of borders is a favourite setting place for foxgloves, verbascums and verbenas. Sometimes they have found the perfect place to grow. But there is only so many 6ft high flowers you want at the front of the border.
Other great self-seeders include eryngium, various poppies, cornflowers, nasturtiums and marigolds.
Don’t be afraid to split your border plants now. They’ll forgive you. Remember, for perennial plants:lift, divide, repeat.