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When to move perennials and shrubs?

I have a few plants which are in the "wrong" place - they are too tall and hiding others or too short and being hidden etc. I wanted some advice on when to move them. Specifically I have Hydrangea Vanille Fraise which I want to remove from a border and put in a container; Hydrangea PanicuLara which has been Ina container and now need to go into the border; penstemon; osteopsurmum, achillea and canna Lily which all need moving from their current positions to new places.

the hydrangeas have both flowered and the flowers are going brown. The others are mostly finished flowering, just one or two blooms left. 

Should I move them now so they have time to grow into their new homes before winter, or wait until they are completely dormant?

Thank you in advance for your advice.


  • Where do you garden?

    Cannas cannot cope with any frost and some penstemons and osteospermum cannot tolerate a long or a hard frost, so all of these could need moving undercover unless you are somewhere very mild.The last two are fairly easy to move but I have no experience with cannas. Monty was talking about them on the last GW, but I think I tuned outimage

    Vanille Fraise makes quite a large plant and needs plenty of moisture. It is always going to be happier in the ground than in a pot. If you do decide to move it, it might be better to wait until it has lost most of its leaves, to save having to cut it back.

  • punkdocpunkdoc Posts: 14,630

    Do you mean Canna or Calla?

    How can you lie there and think of England
    When you don't even know who's in the team

    S.Yorkshire/Derbyshire border
  • Thanks, I live somewhere very mild (South West). 

    It is the WHEN to move I'd like advice on if anyone can offer help on that it would be great. Thanks

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,852

    When the plants are dormant so after leaf fall but whilst the soil is still warm enough for the roots to recover and grow out into their new home, ready to support the spring burst of growth.

    Water the plants well to reduce root disturbance and dig them up with as much root ball as you can carry after they've had a chance to soak it up.  Re-plant immediately in prepared planting holes with added well-rotted garden compost or manure and a sprinkling of bonemeal which promotes roots.   Microrhyzal fungae scattered on the root ball will also help.

    Vanille Fraise is a paniculata form of hydrangea and will be happiest in the ground.   Too easy to stress it in a pot with lack of moisture, lack of space, lack of nutrients.   They can be pruned back hard in spring so you can control size and shape that way.

    Perennials such as osteospermums and cannas can't take frosts so need to be sheltered over winter.  Again, dig up and re-plant or pot up in autumn.  

    Autumn is also the best time to move other perennials such as achillea and penstemons but not the late flowering rudbeckias, asters etc.   They're best done in spring.    Penstemons are hardy but to varying degrees.  Usually, the broader leaved forms are more tender than the finer leaved.

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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