Best Knife For Dividing Plants [And How To]

A knife is an essential tool when dividing a plant as it would help split or cut through the roots. Want to know some best knives for dividing plants and most especially how to divide plants? You are in the right place! We've researched and compiled some gardeners' views in the field to help you with this matter.

The best knives you can use for dividing plants are:

  • Hori Hori Knife
  • Grip Knife
  • Budding & Pruning Knife

 For successful dividing of plants, the steps are:

  1. Gather your tools.
  2. Make sure the plants are getting enough water.
  3. Dig up the plant.
  4. Shake off the roots' soil.
  5. Divide the plant.
  6. Replant the divided sections.
  7. Look after your plant divisions.

In this article, we’ll go into detail about each of the best knives for dividing plants. Also, we’ll go through the steps of dividing plants and the kinds of plants that can be divided. So keep on reading.

human hands wearing light green garden gloves, dividing the plant and roots, Best Knife For Dividing Plants [And How To]

Why Divide Plants?

Plant division is a technique for growing new plants by dividing a parent plant into sections, each of which has its own set of roots. Below are the benefits of dividing plants:

photo of dividing plants with bear hands, light blue garden gloves

Reviving Plant & Encouraging New Growth

Your plants will begin to compete with one another for water and nutrients if they become too big. Large plants also have limited ventilation, which increases the risk of illnesses that might destroy your plants.

Plant division encourages fresh development while reducing any competition. Your plants will grow rapidly as a result, which promotes more robust blooming.

Control Plant Size

Some plants tend to spread quickly out of control, and you don't want one plant to take over a whole garden bed. Plant division controls the growth rate.

Multiply Plant

It's simple and affordable to increase the number of plants in other garden beds when you divide them. You can quickly fill a new bed with plants if you add a few divisions from other plants.

What Are The Best Knife For Dividing Plants?

A multi-purpose knife is essential for gardeners. If you are unsure about what knife to purchase, especially for dividing plants, the following are the best knives you can use: 

Hori Hori Knife

This knife is sometimes called a soil knife. The blade of this garden perennial splitter has a nice beveled edge that is excellent for slicing. For cutting tough and rough roots, there is a serrated edge on the opposite side as well.

With its ergonomically shaped handle, the knife is made to offer a firm grip and complete control. Using the product in challenging situations won't put you at risk of developing wrist or palm cramps.

Furthermore, this blade makes it simple to carry out virtually all gardening tasks, such as dividing, digging, cutting, weeding, planting bulbs, and pruning.

It has a rust-resistant 6 to 7-inch long blade that can handle even the most difficult gardening tasks. There are many knives to consider in your toolbox, but a Hori Hori knife offers plenty, especially for dividing plants.

Check here to see this Hori Hori knife on Amazon.

Grip Knife

This enduring splitter blade has an incredible cast aluminum head. High-quality polished blade with a serrated edge on one side and a sharp edge on the other. While the serrated edge is ideal for carving hard surfaces, the sharp side is useful for cutting through plants, stems, roots, bags, and other objects.

A sizable, padded handle is also included. A very controlled and tight grip can be had over the tool due to the oversize ergonomic design. Even for digging in tough soil, you can use this knife blade. With this combination of a soft-molded grip and a sharp blade, cutting through sod is much simpler.

A big, padded handle is another feature. A very tight and controlled grip over the tool is possible thanks to the oversize ergonomic design. Even for hard soil digging, you can use this knife blade. This tool has a soft-molded grip and a sharp blade, which greatly facilitates cutting through sod.

Click here to see this grip knife on Amazon.

Budding & Pruning Knife

This knife is a workhorse that is primarily used for dahlia propagation or any having tubers, but you can use it for any gardening or growing needs you may have. It has two razor-sharp blades, one that is curved and the other that is straight. 

The straight blade is used for work on propagation and grafting. The curved blade is for trimming and dividing tubers and roots. 

Click here to see this pruning knife on Amazon.

How To Divide Plants?

Follow the detailed procedures outlined below. You must take each plant's root system into account when dividing it.

Step 1. Gather Your Tools

Tools like a sharp knife, shovel, garden forks, spade, large shears, pruners, and gloves are useful to have on hand. You might wish to use a handsaw for tough root systems.

Step 2. Make Sure The Plants Are Getting Enough Water

Divide plants after the rain or water them thoroughly beforehand. Apply enough water so that it reaches the plant's roots. This makes it less difficult to dig up a cluster and less stressful to divide them.

Step 3. Dig Up The Plant

At the plant's natural drip line, dig four to six inches away from it. Cut under the clump at an angle from various locations all around the edge. Out of the hole, lever the plant.

Step 4. Shake Off The Roots' Soil

By doing this, you may determine where to divide the plant. Alternatively, you can use a watering nozzle set to "soft wash" to remove the soil.

Click here to see this garden hose nozzle on Amazon.

Step 5. Divide The Plant

You must handle each root system differently in order to split the clump into smaller sections:

Spreading Root Systems

The plants have matted or interwoven roots. With a sharp knife, cut the smallest of them into portions or use your hands to separate them. Large plants can pull apart by placing two forks back-to-back in the center of the root ball and carefully pulling the handles apart. 

Click here to see this garden hand fork on Amazon.

There need to be three to five healthy shoots in each division. If the plant is dead or weaker than the outside, discard the center and any small, weak, woody divisions.

Clumping Root Systems

This particular kind of root system develops from a central clump that has numerous growth points. Use a sharp knife to slice through the crown to divide. If necessary, use back-to-back forks. With every division, leave at least one bud, or more if you desire bigger plants.


Their horizontally growing roots (technically, stems) are above ground level. Use a sharp knife to cut the rhizomes into two, eliminating any affected by disease or insects. A fan of leaves and a few inches of the rhizome should be present in each segment.

Tuberous Roots

In Pennsylvania, they must be dug out in the fall and preserved until spring in a frost-free place. The root mass should be divided into portions with at least one bud using a knife.

Step 6. Replant The Divided Sections

Keep your sections from drying out. Before planting them, moisten them. As soon as possible, plant them in containers or the garden's prepared holes. Bury them at the same depth as before. Remember that rhizomes should have their tops exposed just above the soil level.

If you divide your plants at fall, use a mulch to stop the heaving brought on by alternate freezing and thawing. However, if you did it in winter, a loose mulch-like straw is appropriate.

Step 7. Look After Your Plant Divisions

Give your new plants time to develop new roots before fertilizing them. Water only as necessary. Avoid overwatering, which encourages fungal development and root rot. If the sun becomes unexpectedly hot, offer temporary shade.

What Kinds Of Plants Can You Divide?

Plant division is only effective with clump-forming species, which includes the majority (but not all) of perennial plants. The following list includes a few different plant categories:

Perennial Flowers

Plants that form clumps generate a large number of stems from a wide mass of roots, making them excellent candidates for division. Daylilies, garden phlox, geraniums, penstemon, and coral bells are a few examples of clumping flowers.

Bulbs & Tubers

Divide them to keep them healthy because bulbs and tubers grow together closely. Dahlias, garlic, hosta, and saffron are some examples of tubers that might benefit from division.


Several succulents also form clumps, and the pups( tiny offspring that surround the mother plant in the center) can be divided. Aloe, various cacti, and sedum (stonecrops) are examples of succulents that can be divided.

Trees & Shrubs

Suckers (stems that emerge from the plant root away from the main trunk) are produced by some trees and shrubs and can also be transplanted.

Wrap It Up

human hands wearing light green garden gloves, dividing the plant and roots, Best Knife For Dividing Plants [And How To]

For many species to remain healthy, plant division is necessary. When plants grow in the best conditions, they can quickly outgrow their borders or containers. For plants to remain in bloom and appear their best, division is also essential. 

However, you cannot do it successfully without the help of an appropriate knife for this job. Gardeners often utilize any of those useful multi-purpose knives mentioned above. As these knives are not just for dividing but also for other gardening tasks. And if you haven't tried it in your own backyard garden yet, you're going to be amazed!

Before leaving, don't forget to check out some of our valuable topics below to gain more knowledge in gardening.

7 Perennials That Thrive In Acidic Soil

7 Best Root Stimulators For Plants

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *