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It’s Time To Divide And Move Perennials

Your summer and fall gardens will reflect your April efforts. This is our time to move things while they are still small.

pink cranesbill geranium

Photo: Jonathan Billinger (geograph)

Roadside yellow loosetrife and pink cranesbill in bloom.

Do not leave town in April, because it is this month that we gardeners need to spend a lot of time in our gardens.

Not only is the weather cool, but there are hopefully some of those legendary April showers. So this is the time to divide and move and plant perennials. Hold off on annuals, though, until all danger of frost is past.

Your summer and fall gardens will reflect your April efforts. This is our time to move things while they are still small, particularly anything with a tap root like tiny Japanese anemones and butterfly weed, for example.

Groundcovers like perennial cranesbill geraniums can be divided and tucked into many different spots around the garden. When the same variety blooms in multiple spots in the future, it will provide repetition and integrate the plantings in your yard. If the perennial is a long-blooming variety like ‘Rozanne’, in future years it will give your summer and fall garden a lot of cohesion.

Catmint, especially the low-growing kind, is a good plant to move to hot dry places as a ground cover. The gray foliage softens other plantings, and the catmint can be sheared off after the first bloom and it will bloom again later.

The other ground cover that I love because it blooms later in the season is plumbago. It grows in either sun or shade, and it also stifles weeds. It has drought resistance, deep blue little flowers and red fall foliage, so it livens up the late season garden.

Divide as many of your perennials as you can now or after they bloom this year. Buy more early bloomers to plant, and next year you will be even happier with your spring display.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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