Q: When is it too late to transplant my flowering perennials? How late into the fall can I divide and move my plants?
A: It’s not too late! You can transplant perennials anytime until the ground freezes in the fall, or wait to transplant them in the spring. Fall is an excellent time to transplant herbaceous perennials because your plants will then have three seasons to establish a good root system before hot summer weather sets in next year. Herbaceous perennials are non-woody plants whose tops die down in the winter. They come back each year from the root system.
Transplanting can be done to move plants to a more suitable location, to reduce overcrowding, and to make more plants (divisions). Perennials grow at different rates. Some plants need dividing more often than others to remain healthy. On average, dividing every four years is recommended unless you want to reproduce more plants faster.
Be sure to prepare the soil at your new site before you transplant. Take time to improve the soil by adding compost. The time spent improving the soil will pay off in the long run by promoting good root growth. You will see the results in much healthier plants with vigorous flowering.
- Introduction to Herbaceous Perennials | Includes a list of recommended plants for a succession of blooms
- Dividing Herbaceous Perennials | How to make divisions and care for newly divided plants
Have a plant or pest question? University of Maryland Extension’s experts have answers! Send your questions and photos to Ask an Expert.