Dividing/Planting Perennials - Spring or Fall?

mainerose(4)August 10, 2004

I have several perennials which have gotten WAY too big. Usually I divide and replant in the spring, but I would like to get this chore out of the way this fall and maybe even purchase a few new plants. Do you prefer spring or fall planting? If you've transplanted in the fall, how has the winter survival rate been? I've planted dormant roses in early Novemeber, and planted spring bulbs, of course, but never done any other fall planting. Is it generally successful in cold Zone 4?

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I've divided blanketflower, catmint, centaurea, tiger lilies and asiatics in fall and all did well. Watch for root heave when the ground first freezes. then after the ground freezes, I put piles of chopped leaves over everything except iris.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2004 at 10:49AM
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Yay! Free plants!

    Bookmark   August 10, 2004 at 10:51AM
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CindyC(Z4 Maine)

I live in the western mountains of Maine and run a small perennial nursery. I go by the rule of thumb, if it flowers in the spring - divide in the fall, if it flowers in the fall - divide in the spring. It is not always possible to go by this little rule of mine, but if you can then you usually do not loose a season of blooms.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2004 at 1:35PM
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I know many people plant in the fall but I've had bad luck with this from frost heaving the plants the next spring. If I dig it is no later than the end of september so hopefully some roots are set to hold the plants in place. It is a trial and error type of deal. Some people have great luck with this and some(like me) don't.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2004 at 9:11PM
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CindyC(Z4 Maine)

You may want to try a little extra mulch when planting in the fall. You can use your regular mulch, leaves, some straw (not hay -weed seeds!) or even some branches from some evergreen trees. This may give you enough protection. The only time I have had a problem with heaving is when it is an entirely new bed prepared and planted in the fall and I didn't add extra protection.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2004 at 7:14AM
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