The Q&A Archives: Dividing Perennials

Question: Must you dig up a perennial plant and divide it when it starts getting bigger than you have space or can you just keep pruning it back?

Answer: The answer to your question would depend to some extent on what the plant is, but in most cases pruning it back repeatedly will eliminate the blooms and/or weaken and possibly kill the plant by limiting its foliage and thus its energy. Division is one way to control size, but many plants will reach their mature size and stop expanding, so a better approach might be to plant them at a more appropriate spacing to begin with.

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