Dividing Perennial Herbs and Houseplants

Dividing perennial herbs and houseplants helps to enlarge and revitalize often old unproductive plants.

By David Squire
May 2017


Propagation (Fox Chapel, 2016), by David Squire, is the essential guide to raising new plants for the home and garden for both novice and experienced gardeners. Squire contributes his lifetime experience with cultivated and native plants with an interest in historical medicinal roles, folklore, and customs of plants. This excerpt is from “Division and Layering”section.

This is one of the simplest ways to increase herbaceous perennials, and the technique needs little equipment other than a couple of garden forks. Herbaceous perennials survive in cold regions because, during the cold winter months, they die down, leaving only old, dead stems showing above ground; each spring, they develop fresh shoots. In late autumn or early winter, this growth dies down and the plants survive by means of their dormant roots.

Autumn or Spring

You can lift and divide herbaceous plants at any time between early autumn and mid-spring, whenever the soil and weather are suitable. Usually, this means autumn in areas where the weather is mild; but spring is better in areas where cold winters are regularly experienced.