Divide & Conquer
It's Time to Divide Bulbs & Perennials
Have you noticed your iris or day lilies looking a little pale or beginning to outgrow their spaces? Are any of your other bulbs ... even perennials like calendulas ... dying out in the center?
If so, fall is the right time to divide and replant these and other spring- and summer-blooming plants that grow back year after year.
It's also appropriate because the 68th Annual Houston Bulb & Plant Mart is today, tomorrow and Saturday at the Westminster United Methodist Church, San Felipe at Bering. Plus, I'll be speaking there at 8:30 a.m. Friday.
Dividing established bulbs and perennials during autumn months is the easiest and quickest way to make them healthier. You'll also wind up with new plants for your garden or for sharing with neighbors.
The best candidates for division are perennials that have been in the ground several years and have large, healthy clumps. Here are the rules for dividing each category.
Certain bulbs need to be divided or separated to maintain a healthy, flowering stand. Crowded bulbs are less likely to produce quantity and quality flowers. When flower numbers and size start to diminish, consider separating and replanting the bulbs. Bulbs planted at recommended depths initially require less dividing and resetting.
Spring-flowering bulbs like daffodils, tulips and hyacinths should be divided in September or October. Granted, it is difficult to determine the location of bulbs without staking or mapping them out previously. Care should be taken when digging to prevent damaging them. It usually is easier to dig up a large area and separate the bulbs then trying to dig up individuals.
If bulbs are planted among trees, shrubs or perennials, consider replacing them every three to five years instead of separating. This minimizes damage to the root system of the nearby plants. Summer-flowering bulbs can be divided in early April or late fall. Some, including surprise lilies (Lycoris) may not appear to need dividing. However, plants will produce more flowers if divided. When dividing or separating bulbs, you need to carefully remove side bulbs from the main bulb. Replant at correct spacing.
The following table provides a guideline for dividing bulbs.
It's actually so much more than bulbs these days, but it's still what they specialize in. This year, I'm doing a talk at 8:30 a.m. Friday, so bring your wagon and your questions to this awesome event. By the way, even if you miss the talk because it's early, I will hang out at the Q&A table for a couple of hours after.
Plants for All Seasons, Highway 249 at Louetta
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