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How To Cut Back And Divide Daisies In The Fall – Fall Daisy Care!

Looking for a few tips and hints on how to care for your daisies this fall after they finish blooming – including when and how to cut back and divide them?

Daisies are one of the most beautiful late-summer flowering perennials of all. Not only do they shower the landscape with their light and airy foliage through the early summer months, daises truly come to life in the late hot summer months when their blooms burst out in a mass of flowering color.

Although daisies are most commonly known for their white flowering blooms, there are also varieties that bloom in red, blue and even pink. Whatever the color, they are great for attracting key pollinators in droves. All while filling your landscape with big, beautiful summer interest!

cut back and divide daisies
Although white daisies are by far the most popular grown in home landscapes, daisy varieties can also be found in red, blue and pink.

But as late summer gives way to early fall, the gorgeous blooms of daisies begin to fade. And when they do, it’s time for a little late season care to keep your plants healthy and strong for the following year.

As an added benefit, late season care can also keep the plant from seeding and spreading beyond where you would like it to grow. With that in mind, here is a look at a few key tips for fall daisy care, including when and how to cut them back, and how to divide overly large plants to create new starts for you or your friends!

How To Cut Back And Divide Daisies

Why Removing Spent Blooms Is Important

Once daisy plants have completed their bloom cycle, it is extremely important to remove the spent blooms. Although seed heads are great food for birds, allowing them to remain can create a lot of issues. Not just for your flowerbeds, but for you as the gardener as well!

Daisies are prolific self-seeders. When seed heads remain late into fall on the stems of plants, they dry out and drop from the plant. And all of those seeds can quickly become new daisy plants.

Most of the seeds drop right around the existing daisy clump. Others can blow in the wind or be carried by birds. And as they are, they are then deposited all over the landscape. One thing is for sure, it can create an overload of volunteer plants that can border on being invasive.

seed head of a shasta daisy
Daisies reseed easily when the spent flowers are allowed to remain on the plant. This single Shasta daisy flower head contains hundreds of seeds alone!

By simply cutting back the spent flowers as they finish blooming, you can all but eliminate volunteer plants. And whatever you do, keep those seed heads out of your compost bin. Most home compost piles simply don’t get hot enough to kill the seeds!

This is a good practice to follow when cutting back any of your perennials in the fall. The fewer the seeds in your compost pile, the less chance you have of volunteers coming up wherever you use your compost. (See: When To Cut Back Perennials In The Fall – And How To Do It!)

Cutting Back Foliage – How To Cut Back & Divide Daisies

Spent blooms should be cut back as soon as they begin to fade to keep reseeding issues to a minimum. But as you progress deeper into the autumn season, the foliage of daisies will begin to fade as well. At this point, it is time to cut the entire plant back near the ground for winter.

A sharp pair of hedge shears will work wonders for this task. Simply take the shears under the plant, and shear the foliage off a few inches above the soil line. If you have already removed the seed heads, all of the stems and foliage are a great addition to your compost bin.

Dividing Overgrown Daisies – How To Cut Back & Divide Plants

Daisies grow outwardly in a clump formation. When these clumps get too large, they often begin to die from the center out. At the same time, larger root structures also make it hard for the plant to absorb proper nutrients and moisture to power the plant.

daisy clump
Daisies grow their roots in a clump. As they age, these clumps can begin to deteriorate from the inside out. Regular dividing can keep plants healthy and free of dead spots.

The end result is an overgrown plant that not only looks unsightly, but blooms with far less frequency and vigor. To avoid this, you should dig up and divide your daisy plants every three to five years.

Dividing Made Easy – How To Cut Back & Divide Daisies

To divide, begin by cutting back all of the foliage and stems as if you were preparing the plant for winter. Next, dig a few inches all around the outer edges of the clump to loosen it from the soil. The plant should then pop out of the soil fairly easily as the roots of daisies are usually not extremely deep.

To divide the plant, turn it over to expose the bottom of the roots. By turning it over, it makes it easier to see the true size and structure of the roots. It also happens to make slicing the plant into even sections much easier.

Using a sharp spade or garden knife, slice the plant into three or four even sections. Keeping the divisions all about the same size will give you equal size plants the following year. This is where a Hori-Hori knife comes in handy. They are one of the best tools around for slicing and digging up perennials! Product Link : Hori Hori Knife

Transplanting – How To Cut Back & Divide Daisies

You should always transplant any new plant divisions as soon as possible. The longer the clumps remain out of the soil, the quicker they can dry out and die off.

To transplant, dig the planting hole to twice the diameter and one and a half times the depth of the clump. This will allow loose soil for the roots to easily re-establish in their new space. Daisies do not require a lot of nutrients to survive, but planting each new start with a 50/50 mix of compost and soil will do wonders for helping the plants to thrive.

Fill the bottom of your planting hole with the soil/compost mix. Set the new transplant in the hole so the top of the clump sits barely above the soil surface line. Keep the transplant slightly elevated. This will keep water from pooling around the roots, which can rot the clump out before it establishes.

Finishing Up – How To Cut Back & Divide Daisies

To complete transplanting, water the plant in with a deep soaking, and then apply a two to three inch mulch over the top of the plant. This will help keep moisture in, and help protect the plant’s roots through winter.

Even if you are not digging up and transplanting new starts, you should still mulch your daisies in the fall for winter protection. A few inches of mulch on top of each plant will do the trick. Here is to cutting back and dividing your daisies this fall, and to having bigger and better blooms next growing season!

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