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Quick Tips for Cutting Back Perennials

How to cut back Perennials

If you didn’t get around to dividing your perennials last fall or wanted to wait, spring is also a great time, right before the plant starts to leaf out. Besides a great way to fill bare spots in your flower beds, there are many benefits to dividing your plants.

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Dividing your plants helps their overall health by:

  • Reducing crowding in the garden.
  • Allowing plants to display their full form.
  • Creating space for air to move between plants (helping to prevent disease and discourage some pests).
  • Lifting plants from the ground improves the condition of the soil by loosening compacted areas.
  • Dividing perennials can help keep more aggressive plants contained.

How To Cut Back Perennials:

  1. With your shovel, cut a circle an inch or two further past the leaf tips, around the outside of the plant, gently pulling up the whole clump of the perennial you want to divide so you can easily see its root system.
  2. Then cut the roots apart using a sharp knife, cutting the plant at the base between the stems. Each piece you pull or cut away from the original clump should be no smaller than what would fit in a 1-quart (4-6”) pot.
  3. Immediately replant the divided pieces into the garden or containers before their roots dry out.

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