How to Divide Flower Plants


Perennial flowers add beauty to your home landscape year after year. Chrysanthemums, iris, daylilies, peonies and other flowering plants multiply each year and need to be divided before they become too crowded. Dividing plants keeps them healthier and increases blooms, and is an economical way to expand your garden. Divide plants that bloom in the spring and summer in the fall. Fall-blooming plants such as chrysanthemums and asters need to be divided in the spring.

Step 1

Water plants the day before you divide them. This helps soften the ground and makes the soil easier to work.

Step 2

Prune any dead branches or foliage.

Step 3

Dig your shovel or spade straight down into the earth four to six inches away from the plant. Do this all the way around the plant.

Step 4

Work the shovel beneath the plant and lift it out. If the plant is very large it's a good idea to have someone help you.

Step 5

Brush off the roots and separate them as much as possible, using your fingers. This will allow you to get a clear look at the root structure.

Step 6

Divide the plant into two to four sections. Use the shovel to slice straight down through the roots. Use a knife to divide the roots of iris or daylilies. Each clump in your division should have a section of strong, healthy roots.

Step 7

Dig new planting holes for your transplants. Deposit one divided clump into each hole. Cover with soil and water well. Return one clump to the original hole, filling in with soil as needed before adding the transplant.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Pruning shears
  • Sharp shovel or spade
  • Knife


  • Texas Cooperative Extension: Divide Perennials
  • Clemson University: Dividing Perennials

Who Can Help

  • Cass County Extension: Planting and Dividing Perennials
Keywords: perennial flowers, dividing plants, how to divide flowers

About this Author

Cynthia James is the author of more than 40 novels and her nonfiction work has appeared in publications ranging from Modern Bride to Popular Mechanics. A graduate of Sam Houston State University, she has a degree in economics. Before turning to freelancing full time, James worked as a newspaper reporter, travel agent and medical clinic manager.