General Discussion:

Transplanting perennials

Messages posted to thread:

Nancy13-Aug-02 10:59 PM EST 5a   
Debbie15-Aug-02 02:25 AM EST 8   
Northern Gardener15-Aug-02 12:45 PM EST 3   
Nicole19-Aug-02 07:55 PM EST 6a   
Karen25-Aug-02 09:27 AM EST 5a   
linda31-Aug-02 07:26 AM EST 5b   

Subject: Transplanting perennials
From: Nancy
Zone: 5a
Date: 13-Aug-02 10:59 PM EST

Don't know if Montreal is in zone 5a or 5b.

I discovered some small perennials in back of my larger ones. The garden is one year old. When should I transplant the perennials? After it has finished blooming, immediately, autumn or spring? Thanks

Subject: RE: Transplanting perennials
From: Debbie
Zone: 8
Date: 15-Aug-02 02:25 AM EST

I would wait for spring to do any transplanting just to be on the safe side. Your winters can get pretty nasty. It also depends on which perennials you had planned on moving. A few such as Monarda will most likely die if disturbed in the fall.

Subject: RE: Transplanting perennials
From: Northern Gardener (
Zone: 3
Date: 15-Aug-02 12:45 PM EST

Still ok to transplant perennials. Rule of thumb: 30 days prior to hard. killing frost. This is important to allow plants time to 'settle-in'. Our freeze-thaw cycles throughout winter months can result in plants being heaved out of the ground, roots and all, if root system hasn't developed enough in new location. I have been successfully re-locating perennials in late summer, early fall for over 20 yrs.

Taken from this month's newsletter ( "Why fall is a good time to plant

The cooler weather of fall usually brings reliable moisture along with it. These two things provide the ideal environment for most perennial plants to become firmly established before winter, getting a nice jump-start on size for the following summer. As a busy person I find that fall planting also allows me to spread out some of the spring gardening chores to a different point in the year. This means less pressure so that I not only enjoy the activity more but I'll probably do a better job of it. Most container-grown spring and summer-flowering perennials can be safely planted until about 4 weeks before the ground freezes hard for winter. Smart retail garden centers are now carrying a much better selection of perennials, shrubs and trees in the fall for us to take advantage of. Currently experiencing water restrictions? Take note: by planting in the fall your new plants will have two seasons (fall and spring) of cool, moist weather to become established before the stress of summer heat and drought returns!

Our customers have reported mixed success with fall planting of late-blooming Ornamental Grasses, specifically Miscanthus (Maiden Grass) and Pennisetum (Fountain Grass) selections in Zones 5 through 7. Depending on the winter weather, losses or dieback may occur so spring or summer planting is wise. Same goes for Japanese Anemone: try to get these in the ground before September, and mulch with a pile of leaves for the first winter."

Subject: RE: Transplanting perennials
From: Nicole (
Zone: 6a
Date: 19-Aug-02 07:55 PM EST

I would have to agree with Northerngardener. My mom is from the Gaspe area and she always transplants in the early fall, as her mother did in Gaspe. Last year I transplanted a 17 year old garden to our new property, and while hubby was moving the furniture inside, I was moving the plants to their new location. This was done late August, although I can go 'til mid-September. I lost not one plant!! (And I have lots!!) Just give them plenty of water to establish their roots, and mulch a bit for winter protection once the cold sets in. Don't worry about the top part - worry about the ROOTS. And in the spring, be patient. Nicole.

Subject: RE: Transplanting perennials
From: Karen
Zone: 5a
Date: 25-Aug-02 09:27 AM EST

I agree also that late summer and fall are best times (unless its blooming!! Why destroy the show?) Fall transplanting is like striking the blow while the iron is hot. We look at our gardens now and see the errors of our planting ways and the changes that need to be made. ACT NOW!!! experience has shown that in the spring... everything looks so small and innocent. Besides don't we have enough spring tasks already? After transplant cut back perennials to about 6 inches and give a good drink of water and a blanket of mulch. They will sleep better and wake up refreshed in spring!

Subject: RE: Transplanting perennials
From: linda
Zone: 5b
Date: 31-Aug-02 07:26 AM EST

I need to move my jackmanii clematis. Is it best to do know or wait until spring. Also should I cut them back when I transplant them.

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