Forum home Plants

Best time to divide or move Cottage garden plants?

Hi, I have a long cottage garden border which needs thinning out and I am donating "extras"/divisions to my daughter's garden.  Can anyone give me some advice on if now is a good time to do this or not?  Plants like Verbena Bonariensis/Anemones etc are still flowering so am I right in thinking wrong time? Others such as Geraniums/Thalictrum Black Stocking/Astrantia/Penstemons/Alchemilla have gone over now so can these be either dividied and/or moved now?


  • K67K67 Posts: 2,507
    I'm not very good with following the timing to move plants, if i can dig it up with enough root and either move or pot up i will do it anytime. I might cut down the top growth  a bit.
    Don't have most of your plants so can't be more help,
  • Thanks though!  Hopefully someone out there will know?
  • A very simple rule of thumb is to divide or move plants during their dormancy. Don't know why you're so obsessed with being given a rule book about such a large array of plants. There's very few steadfast no and yes answers in gardening, it's about getting a feel for your plants, not about following generic advice. 
    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
  • I just don't want to lose them and I want to learn - don't think that is being obsessed? Thought that is what this Forum was about.
  • We are all happy to advice but it's up to you to know the conditions of your garden and to pick up basic skills. At the end of the day what's the worst it can happen, it's just a plant not an internationally significant monument to humanity. We get so uptight about rules we forget that most of it is intuitive and a learning process. Autumn is coming there's very little harm you can do to plants by moving them.  
    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 11,408
    edited September 2020
    I wouldn't divide the penstemons but they should be okay to move (you could take cuttings as insurance if you had the time and inclination). I think the geraniums can be both divided and moved.
    I'm not too sure about the others to be honest,  but my general rule is to move stuff around this time of year while the soil is still warm. I'm forever moving things around. 
    The only thing l wouldn't move is the verbena bonariensis,  especially as it's still in flower. Hopefully someone can advise about that  :)
    Edited to add, you should be okay lifting and dividing the alchemilla mollis, just cut it back if you haven't already and lift and divide. 
  • Thank you so much for a positive reply!  That's really helpful thanks.  I have taken some Penstemon cuttings (first time I've ever done that) so hopefully they will take.
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 11,408
    Penstemon are the one type of cuttings that work for me every time. 
    Not that l'm putting you under pressure or anything 😁.
  • One of my neighbours gave me a clump of crocosmia  a couple of weeks ago. He had just dug it up and pulled some off for me, then replanted his bit. It was just coming to the end of flowering. The bit I put into my garden seems to still be alive (fingers crossed). 🙂
  • TackTack Posts: 1,205
    I move things when I decide I want them moved. Hardly anything dies if you try to take as much root as gently as possible and water every day for ages (it's dry here). In the last week I have put chunks of crocosmia, phlox, auumn crocus and 2 types of Japanese anenome in pots. They look dreadful but are alive and I expect them to be fine for next year. I move stuff in midsummer too, this year it was established fuchsias, alchemilla, penstemmons, calendula,potentilla. All alive and fine now. I too operate on a 'what's the worst that can happen?' basis. Good luck
    Central southern England
Sign In or Register to comment.