Most perennials tolerate transplanting any time of the year, but it all depends on the type of plant and the climate where it is planted. Gardeners in the north would certainly not transplant anything in January or February because the cold would surely kill it. Southern gardeners, however, can get away with transplanting in the winter because it not is as cold.
Winter is not a time for transplanting perennials in any climate. Exposing roots to freezing temperatures does no good to the plant. In the south, it is possible to transplant in the winter, but one night of cold temperatures can be detrimental to the transplanted plant.
During the summer, perennials put all their energy into producing foliage and flowers. Transplanting during this time can disrupt this energy and stop the plant from producing.
Fall is a good time to transplant most perennials, including those that bloom with flowers like iris, astilbe and peonies. Cooler temperatures cause the plants to rest and prepare for the next growing season. Wait until flowers are finished blooming and cut the plant back by half. Transplant perennials early fall so roots have enough time to establish before cold weather arrives.
Spring is another good transplanting time for perennials. Ornamental grasses transplant particularly well at this time. Perennials that bloom in the fall, like chrysanthemum and aster, are best moved in spring. Dig a hole in the new area before digging perennials up from their homes. This allows them to be moved quickly so their roots will not be above ground for a long period. If there is already a great deal of growth on top, cut it back to about 6 inches before moving.
No matter what time of the year the transplant takes place, do it on a day when the sun is not shining brightly. Transplanting requires the plant to take up more water than normal and it will have trouble getting water if the sun is out.
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