Q: When should I divide my bleeding heart? Is it too late this year? What about other perennials?
A: Late fall is a good time to divide perennials that flower in the spring. If you’ve got perennials that are flowering now, such as asters and sedum, it’s better to wait until spring to divide them.
It’s not too late to divide your bleeding heart. You might even want to wait a bit longer, if the foliage has not died back yet. And if you don’t get to it, you can still divide bleeding heart in early spring.
You usually don’t have to divide bleeding heart to keep it healthy. But if you want to have more plants to spread around your garden, dig the plant out and divide the crown into several pieces. The roots of bleeding hearts tend to be brittle, so you’ll want to handle them carefully.
Plant your divisions in their new home immediately. Plant them at the same depth that the plant was growing before you divided it. Water them well. It’s a good idea to put down a layer of mulch, such as straw or shredded bark. Mulch helps retain moisture and also helps protect the plant from being damaged by temperature changes.
Another way to get more bleeding heart plants is to wait for your plant to reseed. Bleeding heart often produces new plants on its own, and you can dig those up gently and replant them in a new spot in the garden.
There is a good article with detailed information on how to divide different kinds of perennials here: hgic.clemson.edu/factsheet/dividing-perennials.
Written by U of M Extension Master Gardeners in St. Louis County. Send your questions to email@example.com.