20 Easy-to-grow Perennials to Multiply by Division

Ilona

If you need more perennial plants, but must curtail your budget, learning to multiply plants that thrive with division is the answer for you. Easy to grow perennials are simple to divide, and often require this procedure every few years. Some can be divided into many smaller plants when buying an initial, larger pot from a nursery. Learn how to populate the garden with these 20 easy-to-grow perennials.

Late Summer and Early Fall Plant Divisions

I have three reasons to choose late summer to autumn for dividing up plants.

  1. Some plants are dormant and do best when lifted at this time.
  2. There are far less chores clamoring for attention later in the season.
  3. Early fall weather may be the most pleasant for outside work.

1

German Iris

German Iris is one of the easy-to-grow perennial plants that are best lifted and replanted in late summer, when they are dormant. First prepare the bed where you want to plant them. Add plenty of bonemeal and some compost to the soil.

Next, prepare your plants by lifting them with a garden fork. Discard any decayed or old rhizomesthickened rootstock;inspect for borers; cut back leaves to 4 – 6 inches long.

Plant each rhizome with its roots no deeper than an inch, with the top exposed or just lightly covered with soil. Space about a foot apart.

German Iris benefits greatly from undergoing this process every three years or so. When crowded and not blooming well, they should definitely be scheduled for division.

pale pink peony

Fairy Petticoat Peony

2

Peonies

Peonies are another plant that do best when planted at this time. These are very long lived plants that don’t like to be moved. Some are happy for generations in the same spot. For this reason, be sure to prepare the soil with well aged manure, bonemeal, and compost. They will reward you for a lifetime.

Peonies have thick roots and growing points called “eyes”. Lift the entire plant with a garden fork. Cut it into sections with three “eyes” each.

Place each plant section no more than 2 inches below ground in the prepared ground. Carefully spread out roots and cover with soil. Firm in and water well.

Complete Peony Instructions

In My Garden

Spring Perennial Divisions

The directions for propagation by division may seem redundant. A basic gardening technique, it is useful for a wide range of plants. According to the roots and leaves, some need a bit more care, the instructions might very slightly. However, all the plants listed here are easy to dig up and divide. The vast majority of perennials benefit from this task being done in either the early spring or fall.

Summer is risky because heat and drought can wither the plants before they get a chance to root deeply enough to survive; but even then, it is possible if you are willing to be careful to water and care for them.

Daylilies are easy-to-grow perennials

Daylilies, Hemerocallis

3

Daylilies

Daylilies, officially Hemerocallis, are easy to dig up and cut into growing size plants. Again, I like to use a garden fork to lift them so the roots aren’t as easily damaged. Once the plant is out of the ground they can be sliced into pieces with roots.

  • Replant in the spot where you wish to grow them, spaced about 18 inches apart.
  • Place as deeply as they previously grew.
  • Firm soil around them and water well (Mud them in to prevent air pockets).
Lambs ears

Lambs ears are very easy to grow perennials, just lift a clump and plant it where you want it.

4

Stachys Lanata

Lamb’s ears, Stachys lanata, have those gray, felty leaves that give them their name. Easy-to-grow perennials which make a good ground cover and are a bee plant. A cinch to multiply by taking up sections of plant. Not requiring division, but can be easily moved.

golden plates of achillea filipendulina

5

Achillea

Yarrow, Achillea, benefits from regular dividing, so you will always have plenty of plants if following this practice.

It is best to lift the whole plant and then cut into smaller clumps which are relocated to their new place, level with where they were previously growing. No particular care is needed outside of the usual concerns for moisture while they are re-establishing.

There are three main types of Achillea, (A.filipendulina, A.millefolium, and A.ptarmica), and this method is useful for each of them.

Brunnera leaf

6

Brunnera

Brunnera, Siberian Bugloss, is a plant I like to be a bit more careful with when making more plants. In the spring, when the first leaves emerge, I lift it with a hand fork. Then carefully pull out the pieces with some root to them.

It is best to get the new plants into the ground soon after dividing them. Brunneras are an easy-to-grow perennial if you follow this tip. Any new plant also benefits from planting when it is a cloudy day or protecting them from hot sun.

annabelle hydrangea arborescens

Annabelle Hydrangea arborescens paired with Threadleaf Coreopsis

7

Coreopsis Verticillata

Coreopsis verticillata, Tickseed, are the simplest to propagate since every piece of rooted stem will strike and create a plant which is similar to growing more of the Sedums.

Keep new plants moist while they are taking hold.

Nepeta mussinini

Nepeta mussinini Blatt by Kristian Peters — Fabelfroh 12:33, 3 October 2005 (UTC) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons”

8

Easy-to-grow Perennial Catmint

Nepeta mussinii, Catmint, is dug up and split into smaller pieces in the same way as other plants. I like to cut back the foliage to about half or a third before cutting the rootstock into the new starts. It transplants readily, with little trouble- simply follow the same methods of replanting in good, worked soil, and keeping moist afterwards.

Spring blooms

Spring flowering creeping phlox

9

Moss Phlox

Phlox subulata, Creeping Phlox, was the first plant that I made into numerous starts by cutting up a mother plant. Over the years I found that in spring you can increase your stock just by burying some sprigs (as long as they are kept moist until rooted).

It is so easy that it makes the perfect beginner plant for division. Lift a piece of the plant with some rooted stem attached; plant in average soil with good tilth. Space plants about 6 inches apart. They will soon grow into a mat of finely textured foliage which is solidly covered in flowers come next spring.

Named cultivars in blue, white, and pink.

rudbeckia fulgida

Rudbeckia fulgida

10

Rudbeckia, Black Eyed Susan

Rudbeckia

There are numbers of plants to buy under this name, but ‘Goldsturm‘ is an old variety that has stellar qualities.
Dig up the mother plant in spring, pull apart the divisions and replant. Simple as pie. It is best to divide plants you like to get the characteristics that you love- each new plant is a clone of the mother stock.

sedum

Like cheerful sunshine in the border

11

Easy-to-grow Sedum Spectabile

Sedum spectabile is probably the easiest plant to grow on this list. The succulent leaves ensure that it can withstand the shock that comes with being separated from the main rootstock. Sections of the plant can be used, or simply a single stem with a bit of crown and root, to grow entire new clumps.

As with all the other perennials here, firm into the soil and keep it moist while it is getting established.


Always keep your new plants moist until well rooted and established. Usually a bit more care for the first season reults in good success.

12

Heuchera

Heuchera, Coralbells, have become wildly popular and the breeders have spared no effort in providing plants where the spectacular foliage highlights shady garden spots. The flowers are secondary to the foliage for most people who grow Heuchera in their gardens. If you have purchased any of these varieties, it is simple to have more by pulling apart the main clump into smaller ones and then replanting in good soil. They appreciate compost and a moist, but well drained spot.

Bloody Cranesbill

Hardy Geranium

13

True Geraniums

Geraniums, Cranesbill, are a group of hardy perennials that do well with division. They aren’t picky about soil or light conditions, although they won’t grow well in extremes. My favorite is G. sanguinueum ‘Album’.

Use your garden fork to easily lift the mother plant. Cut the plant into pieces that can all be replanted into good garden soil that is well drained, but with consistent moisture. When a plant is called an “easy-to-grow perennial”, that means it needs its basic requirements met, although most gardens can supply this. Note if your area is prone to droughts or other challenging conditions.

bergenia cordifolia

14

Bergenia

Bergenia cordifolia is another one of those plants which has root rhizomes. These are usually easy to dig up and take apart for new plants. Their succulent leaves help them do well with transplanting the new starts. An easy-to-grow perennial that was a favorite of Gertrude Jekyll.

Use your spading fork again and when separating off new sections be sure to keep a piece of the crown from which the leaves will grow.

perennial candytuft

Iberis sempervirens

15

Iberis Sempervirens

Iberis sempervivum, or Candytuft, is one of those wonderful perennials that has good looking foliage throughout the season and beautiful pure white flowers in spring. The succulent like foliage means that it takes easily to recovery from division.
Simply take a piece of the plant that includes root, stem, and leaves firming it into good soil that is kept moist after replanting. Or take the large plant and cut it into sections with your spade, replanting each piece.

16

Brunnera

Brunnera macrophylla, Siberian bugloss, is one of the lovely plants that have forget-me-not like flowers but with very attractive large heart shape leaves. In my garden they can look a little ratty by the end of the season due to insect damage. In the spring they are fresh and lovely. Find the little nodules of plant in the early spring and lift and replant.

evening primroses

17

Oenathera

Oenothera, Evening Primrose, are short lived, so they definitely benefit from regular division. Easy-to-grow perennial or bi-ennial which can self seed. To divide, just take small portions of the plant stock and replant in fresh soil. My experience is that this perennial pops up wildly for a couple years and then runs out without consistent replanting. Dividing is the way to keep them in abundance, although reseeding also works well.

Monarda

18

Monarda, Easy-to-grow Prairie Perennial

Monarda didyma, Beebalm, holds its own against competition from other plants. Use a garden fork to bring up the roots and to separate pieces for new plantings. This easy-to-grow perennial likes a bit of moisture and doesn’t mind partly sunny, but full sun suits it best.

lamium maculatum

Lamium maculatum

19

Lamium Maculatum

Lamium maculatum, Dead Nettle, is dead easy to divide. Pieces can be separated from the main plant and set directly into the ground where you wish them to grow.

I often help them establish in areas where I wish them to grow with just little bits of the plant, and no real care is needed.

If you lift the plants and cut into sections with the dirt they are growing in, the plants are immediately happy with just being kept moist at the beginning. This makes them the quintessential easy-to-grow perennial.

Honorine Jobert Anemone

20

Anemone Japonica

Anemone japonica is a lovely addition to the late summer and early fall garden. The video shows the typical method for splitting a large size plant into smaller parts.


New Plant Secret: Super Thrive Solution

To give your new plantings an immediate boost use transplanting solution. A few drops of ‘Super Thrive’ in a bucket of water is easily poured onto the soil surrounding the new plants and helps boost fresh root growth and vigor.
A mild booster like this is not the same as using fertilizer which may burn the roots and result in loss of your plant. Buy on Amazon

Another good booster is Seaweed solution. I’ve used both this and transplant solutions and they have worked equally well for me. I think it makes a big difference in the vigor of your plants.

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Ilona Erwin, author

Meet the Author

Ilona

I started working on this website beginning in 1998, when it was part of "Ilona's Reflecting Pool". Since then I've branched out into a number of online endeavors and work at writing lots of content for my sites. The work on "Ilona's Garden" remains my primary site and is dedicated to home gardener's success.