Dividing Perennials in the Fall

After a wonderful summer with lots of heat, I find my perennial beds are starting to look as if they are bursting at the seams in places.  Fall is a great time to get back out into the garden and start evaluating your perennial beds. For many perennials, now is a good time for dividing perennials and move others around if you’ve found they aren’t in the right spot for you. Most gardeners start the season in the early spring by dividing  perennials and adding new ones, but if you missed the opportunity at the beginning of the season to do this, you can still get some work done now so that next spring you can relax a little.

Dividing Perennials: Timing is Everything, maybe

As a rule of thumb, spring and early summer flowering perennials are said to be best moved and divided in the fall, and any later summer through fall bloomers should be divided in the spring. However, this is a rule that can generally be broken as long as when your are dividing perennials, you are keeping them well watered in their new homes.  The best time to attack dividing perennials is when the foliage has started to yellow off after the first couple of frosts. At this point, your perennials will be heading into dormancy, so they won’t even know what you’ve done ‘til next spring when they wake up again!

Dividing Perennials: Let’s Dig In

Dividing perennials

Digging-up perennial clump

To start dividing perennials you will need to first cut back most of the foliage to make your job easier. Start by inserting your shovel into ground around the outside edge of the plant growth. This area is referred to as the ‘drip-line’ of the plant. Work your way around the drip-line of the plant, inserting your shovel into the ground deeply all the way around to loosen up the patch and make lifting it easier.  Once you have done this, lift the patch out with the shovel and start to shake off all the excess soil around the roots.

When you have the clump out of the ground, you will first want to make sure all the roots are healthy and firm. If any pieces of the roots are soft and squishy, cut these out and discard them. Once you have only healthy roots and plants left you can start to divide them. Don’t worry, it’s not a delicate job where you have to be very exact.

Divide and Conquer your Perennials

dividing perennials

Dividing perennials into smaller clumps

The best way to divide large heavy clumps of perennials, such as daylilies, hostas and coneflowers is to take 2 large garden forks and insert them into the centre of the clump and start pulling them in opposite directions. Don’t have a couple garden forks?  No worries, just use a sharp spade or knife to cut through the clump.  Some perennials will require a little more effort than others to divide so don’t worry about ripping the roots. When dividing perennial peonies, you want to make sure that each section has at least one eye in it. The eye is the little bit of growth visible just below the soil line when dug out. With peonies you can either pry pieces away, or take a sharp clean knife and cut sections. Make sure that all pieces are healthy and firm with no rotten roots attached. If there are any rotten or mushy pieces, cut these away and discard them in your compost or garbage.

With perennials, you can divide a mature clump into many pieces without worrying about hurting the plant. Make sure that each piece is a good size though, so that you aren’t re-planting very small clumps. Small clumps may take a few seasons to fill in again and may look small and sad for the next season or so. If you are dividing irises, you can divide them into small pieces, but when replanting, group a few smaller pieces together for a good show over the next season while they fill in again.

Replanting after Dividing Perennials

Divided perennials

Perennials ready to replant

Replant all perennials at the same depth as they were before the division, ensuring all the roots are covered in soil. Add some compost or manure to the soil before replanting to help rejuvenate older soil.  Once all clumps have been re-planted, give them a good deep watering to settle the soil around the roots. Give your newly planted perennials a little Parkwood Transplanter fertilizer or a small handful of bone meal to encourage a faster root development.  As a final step, a layer of mulch is a good idea in any garden, especially when perennials have been divided and moved. It provides much needed moisture around the roots and also extra insulation for the winter. A layer 2-3” deep is ideal. When placing mulch around perennials, make sure you keep the mulch away from the crown of the plant.

Sharing and trading is one of the great fun things If you don’t want to re-plant all the pieces of perennials that you divided, consider giving some away to friends and family.

Drought Proof Plants

Drought Tolerant Plants

It’s going to be another sizzlin’ summer! Summer drought doesn’t that mean you can’t plant? Absolutely not! Here are some plants that relish the summer heat, love dry conditions and add great colour to your summer garden!




Grasses such as Calamagrostis, Festuca and Miscanthus flourish under hot and dry conditions. Bring depth and height to you garden by adding these grasses this summer. Also adds great fall and winter interest.





Lavender and Thyme

These herbs love the hot sun. Add colour and delicious scents to your summer garden with either of these drought resistant picks.







Sedum and Sempervivum

These are a perfect choice to add unique and interesting plants to your summer garden. With a huge selection of different varieties, you’ll never get bored with these drought tolerant succulents.






Brighten up your summer garden with every colour of cone flower you can think of. It’s not just purple and pink anymore! They also come in several different sizes now, from under a foot to over 3 feet tall.







Want long lasting blooms in your summer garden? Russian sage provides a long bloom time with great colour for those hot and dry areas.









Blanket flower is a part of the sunflower family and its large flowers show you why. With several varieties in store you’ll have lots of colour to choose from. 










This heat-loving vine attracts hummingbirds and butterflies with its masses of fragrant flowers. Honeysuckle is a twining vine and will need some support in the garden, such as a trellis or fence.







Flowering Shrubs


Add outstanding deep purple foliage all season to your hot and dry garden, with smoke-like puff flowers in late summer. Grows 3m by 3m at maturity.







This drought-tolerant plant has very unusual fine feathery foliage and graceful plumes of deep pink flowers in late summer. Grows 3m by 2m at maturity.






Beauty Bush 

A graceful choice for this hot summer. Arching branches are covered with an abundance of pink flowers in June. Grows 3m by 3m at maturity








A compact, sun-loving shrub that provides excellent colour in the garden. Foliage and flowers come in several different colours depending on variety. June blooms are attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds. Height varies depending on variety.






Dwarf Burning Bush 

Once established, this shrub is perfect for your hot and dry garden. The dark green summer foliage turns a brilliant red in the fall. Compact and undemanding. Grows 1.25m by 1.5m at maturity.








Honey Locust 

Once established, the honey locust is a drought and heat tolerant tree that can provide shade as well as fragrant flowers in late spring. Relatively fast growing, this medium sized tree can tolerate a variety of soil conditions including alkaline soil





Weeping Caragana 

A small weeping accent tree with fine green foliage and yellow flowers in spring. Very hardy and heat tolerant. Grows 2m by 1.25m at maturity.









There are several varieties of juniper, spreading and upright, that tolerate hot and dry conditions. Blue and green tones provide excellent accents in the garden.






There are also several varieties of pine, whether shrub or tree form, that are heat loving and drought tolerant. With so many different varieties of pines available, there’s something for every garden!












A striking accent plant with broad sword-like leaves that last year round. White flowers bloom on a very tall stake in summer. Green and yellow varieties available.






Even though these plants do well in dry and hot areas, each one does need to be watered regularly for the first growing season until established.

Oh Canada! Red & White Plants for the Canadian Garden!

Red and white make a great colour combination in the garden.  Vibrant reds, just look so much better when they have a bit of white near by to really show them off.  As Canadians we seem to have a natural affinity to this colour combination out of our national pride.  So if you are thinking of showing your true colours in your landscape, you might like to consider a few of our top choices for red and white plants for the HARDY Canadian Garden.

Royal Red Maple

Acer Royal Red (3)

Royal Red Maple

Royal Red Maple is a faster growing tree with maroon red colour that turns brighter purple in fall. This splendid shade tree has a rounded, symmetrical growing habit. It is hardy and easy to grow. A magnificent lawn specimen for great colour. Grows to about 50’ high and 25’ wide at maturity.





Silverleaf Dogwood

Cornus alba Silverleaf

Silver Leaf Dogwood

Silverleaf dogwood has bright white and green variegated leaves on red stems that provide excellent contrast. A perfect shrub for year-long interest in the garden. Very hardy and easy to grow, this striking shrub looks best in mass plantings or combined with dark-leafed shrubs. Grows to 6’ high & wide at maturity.





Roseglow Barberry

Berberis Roseglow

Rose Glow Barberry

Rose Glow Japanese Barberry has attractive and interesting pink-variegated burgundy foliage which emerges red in spring. The small oval leaves turn an outstanding burgundy in the fall. It features tiny clusters of yellow flowers hanging below the branches in mid-spring. The fruits are showy scarlet drupes carried in abundance from early to late fall. And the bark is brick red. Grows to about 5’ high & wide at maturity.





Pee Gee Hydrangea

Hydrangea paniculata Pee Gee (2)

Pee Gee Hydrangea

Pee Gee Hydrangea features bold conical white flowers with rose overtones at the ends of the branches from mid-summer to late fall. The flowers are show-stoppers in the garden and are excellent for cutting. It also has green foliage throughout the season. Pee Gee Hydrangea is a multi-stemmed flowering shrub with an upright spreading habit. Its relatively coarse texture can be used to stand it apart from other landscape plants with finer foliage.




Crimson Queen Japanese Maple

Acer Crimson Queen (2)

Crimson Queen Japanese Maple

Crimson Queen Japanese Maple has attractive deep purple foliage which emerges crimson in spring. The deeply cut ferny palm-shaped leaves are ornamentally significant and turn an outstanding scarlet in the fall. This Japanese Maple is an open deciduous dwarf tree with a rounded form and gracefully weeping branches. It lends an extremely fine and delicate texture to the landscape composition which can make it a great accent feature on this basis alone. Grows slowly to 8’ high and 10’ wide at maturity.



Diana Rose of Sharon

Hibiscus syr Diana

Diana Rose of Sharon

Diana Rose of Sharon features bold white large flowers from summer to fall. Forest green foliage covers multi-stemmed, stiffly upright branches. A vigorous grower, this flowering shrub does best in full sun. Grows to 10’ high & 8’ wide at maturity.





Scarlet Flowering Quince

chaenomeles Rubra

Scarlet Flowering Quince

This exquisite old-fashioned favourite flowering shrub blooms profusely over a long season! Fiery red apple blossom-like flowers cover the densely branched thorny stems in spring and are replaced by lustrous dark green foliage later in the season. An ideal for shrub borders and as a background plant. Very hardy and easy to grow. Grows to about 4’ high & wide at maturity.




White Ball Butterfly Bush

Buddleia White Ball Close-up

White Ball Butterfly Bush

White Ball Butterfly Bush features showy panicles of fragrant white flowers at the ends of the pendulous branches from mid-summer to mid fall. Flowers attract butterflies and are excellent for cutting. This shrub has grayish green foliage throughout the season and can be cut back like a perennial in early spring. Grows to 5’ high & wide at maturity.




Maroon Swoon Weigela

Weigela Maroon Swoon

Maroon Swoon Weigela

Don’t let the name fool you! This weigela flower is as red as they come! Rich red trumpet shaped flowers bloom on deep green foliage from summer to fall. This shrub has a compact rounded habit and is an excellent accent for shrub borders or perennial gardens. This flowering shrub has incredible red colour and attracts hummingbirds too. Grows to 4’ high and 3’ wide at maturity.




Samaritan Chinese Dogwood

Samaritan Chinsese Dogwood

Samaritan Dogwood

Samaritan Chinese Dogwood features showy clusters of white flowers with white bracts held atop the branches in late spring. It has attractive white-variegated green foliage throughout the season. The pointy leaves are ornamentally significant and turn an outstanding pink in the fall. It features an abundance of magnificent red berries from early to mid-fall. The peeling gray bark adds an interesting dimension to the landscape. Grows to 20’ high & wide at maturity.






Red Perennials

Hibiscus Dinnerplate red

Dinnerplate Hibiscus

With a full table of red perennials at Canadale to choose from you’ll have no trouble finding something to suit your Canadian Garden! From Coral Bells to Coreopsis and Dinnerplate Hibiscus (pictured) to daylilies, striking red perennials add a bold pop of colour to any garden!








White Perennials

Leucanthemum Snow Cap

Shasta Daisy

White perennials can add contrast to any garden. Combined with the red, they create an especially Canadian effect! With a table full of different white perennials available there are several different shades of white – from ivory to pure – to add a Canadian touch to your garden.

6 Perennials for C O L O U R from Spring to Fall! 


These six essential perennials are plants of size and substance. They can act as the backbone of your perennial garden. With the wide choice of cultivars available in each of these six basic plants, any colour scheme is possible.

Your perennial garden could realistically consist of just these perennials. You would have colour all year. But if space permits, it is so easy and fun to fill in and add to your perennial garden with the hundreds and hundreds of perennials available!


Flowering MAY to JUNE

Bearded Iris

'Messenger' intermediate bearded iris

Iris Messenger

Unlike the common wild Iris, Bearded Iris (like Messenger pictured here) need a sunny location and well-drained soil. When planting, the rhizomes should be set just below the surface of the soil. After flowering, the stems should be cut back and leaves left alone until fall. Before winter the foliage should be cut back to a few inches from the ground and dead leaves removed. Don’t mulch, as holding moisture near the rhizomes can cause rotting.







Peony Festiva Maxima

Peonies (like Festiva Maxima pictured here) are long-lived plants that will continue to flower for generations. They don’t ever need to be disturbed. However, if you do need to move them, they should be separated into sections with 3-5 ‘eyes’. A large clump moved whole would most likely stop blooming. Plant peonies no more than two inches deep, with ‘eyes’ into the soil. They will not flower if they are planted deeper.





Flowering in JUNE & JULY

Oriental Poppies

Oriental Poppy - Royal Wedding

Poppy Royal Wedding

Oriental poppies set the June garden ablaze with colour. They need well-drained soil and full sun or part shade. To plant poppies (like Royal Wedding pictured here) set the root straight down into a planting hole, deep enough that the crown is covered by at least 3 inches of soil. After June’s giant blooms have faded, the flowerheads should be removed and not allowed to form seed. The foliage then dies down and can leave a void in the garden. Plant daylilies nearby to fill the space. Mulch for winter, but do not cover the new basal rosettes that form in September.





Delphinium ‘Superstars Mix’

These stately perennials need rich, well-drained soil. Use lots of manure in the planting mix and mulch annually. Delphiniums (like the Superstarsmixture pictured here) are best planted in groups of 3 of a kind. By cutting out all but 3 of the best shoots to about 15cm, they will produce faster, stronger, better flowers. Plant in a spot protected from wind and/or stake delphiniums to save them from high winds. In about mid-July, when the main flowering period is over, cut some of the flower stems back to the first leaves so that they will re-bloom in August and September.



Flowering in JULY & AUGUST



Daylily Stella D’Oro

Daylilies are the heart of the mid-summer garden. They flower pretty much non-stop through the heat of July and August (Stella D’Oro pictured here continues to bloom through September). They come in a huge range of colours. They are hardy, tough and reliable. Each flower lasts only a day, but they are continuously in bloom over many weeks.






Flowering in AUGUST & SEPTEMBER 

Summer Phlox


Phlox Purple Flame

These tall phlox are invaluable for continuing the summer long display of colour in the perennial garden. Choose a few kinds and plant them in irregular drifts for a magnificent display. There are a variety of colours from which to choose from (like Early Start Light Pink pictured here), many with a contrasting eye.







Re-flowering in SEPTERMBER



If in about mid-July, when the main flowering period is over, you cut some of the flower stems back to the first leaves,  that they will re-bloom in August and September.

New & Exciting Plant for 2016

If you’re like most avid gardeners, you’ve probably already been out rooting around in your garden making plans on how to make this year’s garden better than ever.  These plans often include adding a few new specimens.  At this time of the year, many new and exciting plants are starting to make their way onto our benches.  To help you along in your search for that perfect plant, take a look at a few plants that we’re excited about. Watch for them to make their appearance this season at Canadale Nurseries – Ontario’s Favourite Garden Centre!

New Perennials

2016 Perennial of the Year: Anemone ‘Honorine Jobert’


Honorine Jobert Anemone

Every year the Perennial Plant Association honours one perennial with outstanding qualities to be its perennial of the year.  For 2016, they went way back in history and chose a plant that was first introduced 158 years ago –  Anemone ‘Honorine Jobert’.  As you would expect, a variety introduced in 1858 and being honoured in 2016, must be one outstanding perennial.  This reliable and showy Japanese (autumn) Anemone will brighten up any semi-shaded garden from September to October, a time when there are usually few plants still in bloom.  This heirloom selection features large, white single blossoms on tall stems. It does best in rich loam soils but is quite adaptable.  Hardy to zone 5.


2016 Hosta of the Year: Hosta ‘Curly Fries’


Curly Fries Hosta

The 2016 Hosta of the Year as chosen by the AHGA (American Hosta Growers Association).  Hosta are well known as some of the best performing perennials for shady gardens.  However, not everyone has room for the big leafed monsters, hence the growing popularity of smaller (miniature) varieties. Perhaps that is why ‘Curly Fries’ was awarded the 2016 honour. Or perhaps it was because it is one of the most unique varieties around.  Stiff, long narrow leaves with heavily ruffled edges emerge chartreuse and brighten to yellow, especially if provided with sun for half the day.  Lavender flowers in midsummer add extra colour, as do the red speckles on mature leaf petioles.  Fantastic in smaller containers, or perhaps in front of that bright blue hosta in your border.

Remember when you shop at your favourite garden center this spring that whatever else you order, you’ll want some ‘Curly Fries’ with that!  Zone 3


Heuchera ‘Champagne’


Champagne Coralbells

There has been an explosion of new coralbells in recent years with many new varieties being introduced.  This year is no exception.  One variety that has caught our attention is Heuchera Champagne.  This hybrid Coral Bell selection is a terrific choice for adding a touch of colour towards the front of a border. The leaves are medium-sized and change from peach to gold to champagne-gold over the season and feature a strong white veil overlay. Free-flowering maroon stems with light peach flowers most of the season. Protect from hot afternoon sun to prevent leaf scorch.   Hardy to zone 5.



Clematis Serious Black


Serious Black Clematis

Seriously? This unusual selection of clematis is not a vining plant like most other clematis. InsteadSerious Black’ Clematis has a sprawling, bushy habit.  This plant quickly bursts out of the ground in the spring, with foliage of smoky-purple, nearly black that matures to deep olive green. Plants produce a good display of cloud-like fragrant little ivory flower clusters in late spring to early summer. This clematis may require staking, or plants can be allowed to sprawl through an adjacent shrub or even as a groundcover. Prune to the ground in fall or early spring.  Hardy to zone 2.


Happy Jack Clematis


Happy Jack Clematis

Another new clematis variety that has caught our attention this year is Clematis ‘Happy Jack’.  It’s hard to image that there could be an improvement on the ever popular Jackmannii clematis. Happy Jack sports velvety plum-purple flowers with intriguing center highlights and bright yellow stamens. This early and long-flowering beauty blooms from mid-summer into fall, and is noted for its intense purple flower colour and large (3-5″) blooms. It flowers on new wood and old wood so you simply prune it back to 2 feet each spring.  It will grow 6-8’ high.  Like all clematis, Happy Jack will do best in full sun to part shade.  Hardy to zone 5.

Check out more great perennials at Heritage Perennials.




New Annuals

Annuals are a must for the summer garden.   They provide easy, continual colour anywhere in the landscape from large mass plantings to the smallest of containers.  This year we found a few new exciting plants that are getting our attention.


‘Campfire Fireburst’ Bidens


Campfire fireside Bidens

A breakthrough colour for bidens, Campfire Fireburst’ Bidens bears rich orange and yellow bicolour blooms on compact plants.  These delicate looking flowers are a lot tougher than they look. Once established, they will stand up to hot dry conditions in the sunniest locations.   It can be used in combination with other medium to high vigour plants such as Supertunia® or grown on its own in hanging baskets and landscapes. This is a sun-loving plant that is heat and drought tolerant once established.


‘Holy Moly!’ Superbells


Holy Moly! Superbells

Holy Moly!™ is a funky, fun new Superbells®. With its yellow base colour, Holy Moly!™ is splashed with dark pink on its petals. Known for their abundant flowers, and long bloom time, Superbells® are a must-have for containers and hanging baskets. The trailing habit can grow as long as 24 inches in a hanging basket. Superbells® like to be in well-drained soil for best growing conditions. Fertilize every one to two weeks for best performance. 



New Ornamental Plants

Woody ornamental plants (trees, shrubs, evergreens and vines) provide the backbone to any garden, adding structure and interest all year around.  Remember, we enjoy our gardens 12 months of the year, so it’s important to include these.


Hydrangea ‘Miss Saori’


Miss Saori Hydrangea


You say you don’t have room for another hydrangea in your garden?  Well, you might have to make a little more space.  This is one you will definitely want front and centre.  Bred by one of the most highly respected Hydrangea breeders, and a worthy winner of the coveted Chelsea Flower Show Plant of the Year 2014 award!  ‘Miss Saori’ Hydrangea is quite unique. Each fully double, white bloom is frosted with a soft rose edge, giving the large rounded flower heads a delicate, frothy appearance. This is the first of a new breed of Hydrangeas that will remain the same colour regardless of your soil type, so you are guaranteed to see these beautiful blooms at their best.  The foliage compliments the blooms perfectly, taking on an attractive burgundy hue in spring and autumn that only adds to the appeal of this stunning mophead hydrangea. ‘Miss Saori’ grows 1m high and wide. Hardy to zone 5.  Very Limited Supply.



‘Scentsation’ Honeysuckle

Lonicera Scentsation

Scentsation Honeysuckle Vine

The name says it all! A very showy vine with extremely fragrant yellow flowers, ‘Scentsation’ Honeysuckle blooms from mid-spring to late summer, followed by bright red berries. This floriferous honeysuckle has a very long bloom time, and is a wonderful addition to summer gardens, especially when trained up along a trellis or fence.  Honeysuckle is a favourite of hummingbirds, butterflies and bees.  This vine can grow 12-15 feet high.  It will do best in fun sun and well drained soils.  Hardy to zone 4.




‘Everlasting Revolution’ Hydrangea


Revolution Hydrangea

This is one of the most exciting new hydrangeas to be introduced in recent years.  This compact re-blooming variety offers loads of colour over a small shrub.  Each blossom lasts for weeks, gradually creating fascinating combinations of light and dark pinks (or blues with a more acid pH) and pale green. In sun to part shade, you’ll enjoy these large, showy flowers all summer.  ‘Everlasting Revolution’ Hydrangea is quite hardy and reliable, blooming on both old and new wood.  Ideal for a smaller garden space as it only grow 2-3’ high and wide.  Revolution enjoys rich moist soil in a sunny area. Hardy to zone 5.




Dakota Pinnacle Birch

‘Dakota Pinnacle’ Birch

This is a fantastic new introduction from North Dakota with smooth white bark, spire-like columnar habit of growth, quite dense, great for skyline articulation; insect resistant and drought tolerant.  ‘Dakota Pinnacle’ Birch has dark green foliage throughout the season, turning yellow in fall. The smooth white bark is extremely showy and adds significant winter interest. As an added bonus, deer don’t particularly care for this plant and will usually leave it alone in favour of tastier treats. Grows 25 feet high and only 6 feet wide. Very hardy to zone 3.





‘Green Giant’ Cedar


Green Giant Cedar

What is better for year around interest than a commanding evergreen? One of the finest evergreens for screening or windbreak, this upright conifer is versatile, strong-rooted and virtually disease-free. Its uniform shape seldom needs pruning, but responds well to shearing. Fertilize every spring with a high nitrogen fertilizer. Keep it well-watered until ‘Green Giant’ is established. Grows to 30 feet high and 8 feet wide. Hardy to zone 4.

These are just a few of the many new and exciting new plants for 2016.  Be sure to stop into Canadale Nurseries to see our entire selection.

Spring Helebores

If you have shade gardens & you don’t yet have any Hellebores in your beds, you really should come in & take a look at these beautiful perennials; no shade garden should be without them! Until you have planted these stunning beauties, you may not realize how much colour & interest they provide each year to your gardens. Before the snow has even started to melt, many varieties are hard at work underneath the snow starting to bud & flower.


Hellebores (Helleborus) are also known by a few different common names including Lenten Rose & Christmas Rose. Although the flowers of Hellebore may resemble the flowers of wild roses, they are not related to the rose. The foliage of the hellebore is tough & leathery in appearance, & blooms vary greatly from variety to variety. The colours of the flowers can appear a little unusual compared to other flowers, however they are very unique!  A mature Hellebore plant can be literally covered in flowers for weeks & weeks on end each spring, & there really is no other spring bloomer that will last as long the Hellebores!


In general, Hellebores prefer moist but well drained partly shaded areas where they can exist for many many years happily. Mulching them will help to retain moisture around the plant, which is especially important in the summer months.


Spring is a great time to also clean up some of the older foliage, cut back any leaves that have become weathered over the winter months. The size of the plant will depend a little on the variety, but expect from 8-24″ height & at least a 24″ spread.