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September through late October is a good time for dividing your spring and summer blooming perennials in Brunswick County and the Cape Fear Region.
For the most part, flowering should be nearing an end at this time of the year. That allows plants to put their energy into developing leaves for next season. Roots will continue to grow through the winter and this will help the plant get well established before the next bloom sequence.
There are a number of good reasons to divide perennials. Often time, they may outgrow their space and crowd out other desirable plants. You should provide them with adequate space for proper growth.
Another good reason to divide perennials is when you notice clumps having hollow centers or dying foliage at the bottom of the plant. Crowded plants cannot get enough sunlight and this could cause the plants to turn yellow or brown in the center.
Hot dry days can be hard on plants you are dividing. If at all possible try dividing your perennials on a cloudy or an overcast day. Typically plants are divided in the fall and spring months. You should divide spring and summer flowering perennials in the fall.
Fall blooming perennials should be divided in the spring. Many perennials benefit from being divided every four years. If your perennials begin to exhibit little growth, less bloom and smaller sized flowers, then you may need to divide them more frequently instead of waiting the typical four to five year timeframe.
Chrysanthemums should be divided every year.
For all you diehards out there growing peonies, keep in mind they don’t need to be divided at all unless you are trying to propagate them.
Bulbs can be purchased now but you should wait to plant your spring flowering bulbs until after Thanksgiving or in early December.
Your local County Cooperative Extension Office may be able to help you with additional handouts on bulb planting care and maintenance.