When to divide perennials?

Dividing Perennials in the Spring

Perennials 101, Seasonal Activities through the Year

One of the most rewarding aspects of perennial gardening is the fact that most plants actually increase in size over the years. After a time, some of your perennials are going to benefit from being divided, and in most cases spring is a terrific time to go about this task.

We divide perennials for a number of reasons:

1. Clumps have started to die out in the middle. The classic “doughnut” shape with an empty hole in the center is a sure sign that a perennial clump needs attention.

2. Flowering performance has declined. The clump may have become congested, or the roots old and woody.

3. Soil nutrients have been exhausted around the clump. Signs of this might be stunted growth, yellowish leaves or lack of bloom. Dividing and moving to a new location is a wise idea. Sometimes simply fertilizing the plant will make it smarten up.

4. Perennial weeds have infested the clumps. When this happens, usually the best approach is to dig up the entire clump and divide it, picking out every single piece of weed root that can be found.

5. We want to make more of our favourites. Dividing established clumps can provide plenty of new plants for a new garden bed, or to share with friends and neighbours.

What to divide in spring?

One rule of thumb for division is this: perennials that flower between early spring and mid June are best divided in early fall. Perennials that flower after mid June are best divided in the spring.

This rule is one that many gardeners break with regularity, experiencing relatively few problems. I don’t like to see spring-flowering perennials divided while they are blooming, but doing it immediately afterwards often works just fine. Primroses, for instance, can be dug up and divided into numerous piece in late spring, giving them an entire season to recover before flowering again the following year. Same thing with many of the spring-flowering rock garden plants, such as Rock Cress (Aubrieta), Basket-of-Gold (Aurinia) and Moss Phlox (Phlox subulata).

Summer and fall-flowering perennials have the whole spring and early summer to recover from being divided, and most will give you an excellent flower display the same year. Spring is the very best time for dividing most ornamental grasses, and especially the fall-flowering types such as Maiden Grass (Miscanthus) and Fountain Grass (Pennisetum).

Three plants that I prefer to see divided at other times are Peonies (fall only), Oriental Poppies (in July or August when they are dormant) and true Lilies (mid to late fall). Daylilies (Hemerocallis), on the other hand, can be divided at nearly any time, but spring seems to suit them perfectly.

Traditionally, the time for dividing Bearded Iris is shortly after flowering, in July or early August. But if you have stubborn clumps that refuse to flower, then you might as well go ahead and divide them in the spring, since they likely won’t bloom this year anyhow.

How to Divide

For beginning gardeners, the first time or two you divide perennials you are going to be nervous and unsure of what you’re doing. This is normal! But once you see the results, you’ll start to realize that most often plants will recover quickly and be all the better for the experience. Even seasoned gardens get carried away at times by dividing plants into pieces that are too small, and the results are sometimes mixed — some pieces grow well, some die. We usually still end up with more plants than we started with, so consider it a success.

The basic steps of dividing are simple. Once your plant shows signs of growth in the spring (an inch or two of new shoots is fine), dig up the entire clump. Try to be generous and get as many thick roots as possible. I like to dig about 4 inches or so beyond where the shoots arise. A narrow and long spade (called a rabbiting spade) is a handy tool for this, especially in a closely planted border. Dig all the way around, then pry the clump out of the ground. Put down a tarp somewhere handy, and transport your clump there.

Pick up the clump and drop it a few times, to try and knock off any loose soil. Some gardeners will actually blast off the soil with a strong jet of water. Then, go and find a knife… I’m using an old kitchen bread knife these days for larger clumps, but a paring knife, steak knife or special garden knife will do just fine. Look closely at your clump, sort of parting the shoots in an attempt to find a natural point where the clump can be easily separated. If there is no such point, then just be brave and cut directly down the center with your knife, from top to bottom. Once it’s split in two, then look at each half to see if there is a sensible spot to cut yet again, then split these each into two. Depending on how large the clump was, you can keep going if you like. Try and keep the sections generally of a good size, say the diameter of your fist or larger. Each piece should have both green above-ground shoots as well as roots below.

Remember, unless you’re starting a nursery you probably don’t need 20 divisions of anything! The best and most vigorous pieces are usually those found towards the outside of the original clump. The roots are less woody and can recover more quickly, giving you strong and healthy new plants. Discard old and woody roots from the middle (add them to the compost pile).

Certain perennials when dug from the ground will almost fall apart into pieces. Others will need a lot more effort to split. A few kinds (like Miscanthus) may actually require an axe or hatchet to get out of the ground and then chop into smaller sections.

Once your dividing task is complete it’s time to replant the pieces. Try to plant them at approximately the same depth they were growing. Water them in well at planting time, then maybe once a week for the first month unless spring rains are generous.

One last idea

If you have loads of extra divisions, consider potting up a few of them for donations to your local Horticultural Society spring plant sale. Be sure to label them at potting time. These also make terrific and inexpensive gifts when visiting other gardeners.

— John Valleau, Corporate Horticulturist

Below are some books which contain lots of good information on gardening with perennials.

September is a great month for doing a little renovating in your perennial garden. It’s time to divide and/or transplant your bulbs. The heat of summer has hopefully passed, the chances of rain have returned and there is still plenty of time for plants to recover from being moved before the ground freezes.

Look for the Signs

The rule of thumb for deciding which perennials to transplant or divide is based on bloom time. Late summer and fall bloomers are suited for moving in the spring while spring and early summer flowering perennials can be transplanted in fall.

There are several signs that can tell you it’s time to divide a perennial when all the growth appears on the outer edges, it doesn’t bloom as well as it used to or the blooms are smaller than usual. All these indicators are symptoms of overcrowded roots.

When and How to Divide and Transplant

Transplanting can be motivated by the desire to change the look of your garden or if you’ve discovered that the perennial needs a different growing environment.

Whether transplanting or dividing, you should give the plants about 6 weeks before the first hard freeze occurs in your garden so they can be settled into their new home and ready for winter.

Start by digging around the entire clump with a garden fork or sharp shooter (narrow shovel) and lifting the plant, soil and all, from the hole. Then gently break as much of the soil away as you can. If you are dividing the plant, once it is out of the ground, separate the crowns by cutting them with a sharp knife or shovel blade. You don’t have to be gentle, but try to preserve as many of the roots as possible.

Keep newly dug and/or divided plants covered and protected from wind and sun while you get their new homes ready. If you can’t transplant them the same day, place them in the shade, spray the root ball with water and cover them with wet newspapers. They’ll be okay for a few days, but I recommend getting them in the ground ASAP.

Prepare the new planting spot or revive the old one by turning the soil at least 8-inches deep. Remove rocks, roots, and debris. Add plenty of compost and some aged manure.

Dig a hole that is 1.5 times as deep and wide as the plant’s roots. Build a firm mound of soil in the middle of the hole. Spread the roots over the mound so that the crown sits at or just below the soil line. Gently back fill the hole and pull the soil up around the crown just as you would a container grown plant.

Water the plant and keep it consistently moist until a hard freeze. Don’t bother with fertilizer as it will only encourage top growth, which takes energy away from the roots.

Once the ground freezes, apply a 3-inch layer of mulch and you are done. Next spring your perennials will emerge with a new lease on life.

Plants to Divide in Fall

  • Astilbe
  • Asiatic Lily
  • Oriental Lily
  • Lily-of-the-Valley
  • Bleeding Heart
  • Siberian Iris
  • Japanese Iris
  • Veronica
  • Peony

3 simple ways to divide plants

What’s the best way to get more of the plants you love? Divide the ones you have! On the other hand, this isn’t the only reason to divide: Sometimes plants need to be split — they’ll let you know when it’s time. The good news is that the process is simple and easy to do, though it looks a little different depending on the roots of the plant. Let’s walk through a few of the basics to make sure you can divide your plants in the right way and at the right time.

See our Flowers & Plant Guide

Signs that your plants need to be divided

If you’re wondering whether or not your plants need to be divided, here are a few indicators that the plant is getting overcrowded:

  • Smaller leaves
  • Clumps that are dying out in the center
  • Fewer, smaller flowers

Dig out plants to divide them

A good rule of thumb is to dig 4 to 6 in. away from the base of the plant. That way you’ll get plenty of roots as you lift the clump out of the ground. In the photo at above, we’ve dug all the way around the phlox. Actually, there is no need to completely lift the plant up and out — all of that soil can be heavy. Instead, the easy method is to simply tilt the whole mass of soil back on the blade of your spade so you can see the roots and break, or cut, the old plant into smaller sections. Often the soil falls away. If not, scrape or shake some of the excess off so you have some “wiggle” room to gently pull or cut the divisions.

Dividing tip

Sometimes the roots are easy to break apart with your hands or a shovel, but for tough and strong roots, a soil knife with a serrated edge makes the task easier.

Look at the roots

After you dig out your plant, take a look at the roots before you start separating the plant. Not all perennials have the same types of roots. Look at the illustrations below to decide which category your plant fits into. Then you can make the correct cut.

The dotted lines let you know where you should make dividing cuts on each type of plant. You can divide into small sections with just one stem attached to a few roots. But for a bigger impact faster, leave three to seven stems on each new division.

Can’t decide which roots most closely match your plant? See our chart of over 40 perennials that will let you know which type of root system each has, the best time to divide it and some other helpful tips.

3 ways to divide perennials

Most perennials fall into one of three categories — spreaders, clumpers and those with woody crowns. Each type has a few quirks you need to know as you dig it out of the ground and separate it into new plants. Learn a bit about each below.

Spreaders

Many ground covers, like the bugleweed above, spread by modified stems that root where they touch the ground. It’s easy to dig up the newly formed “baby” plants and transplant them.

Clumpers

Dividing plants with fibrous or spreading roots like this daylily is easy. Dig up the whole clump and pull or cut the root ball apart. Or just dig out a chunk along the edge, if you don’t mind a gap in your plant for a season.

Woody crowns

Some plants, such as the coral bells above, have a woody crown. Dig up the whole plant and shake off the soil. Cut off sections of crown, each with a few leaves, and replant them individually.

When’s the best time to divide plants?

Now that you know how, let’s talk about when. If possible, choose a cool and cloudy day to dig perennials out of the ground. Spring or fall is usually less stressful than the heat of summer. But if you have to divide when it’s hot, we have some handy tips for helping plants adjust below. If you want to know which season is best for your particular plant, check out our list of how to divide 45 perennials for more specific information.

Tips for transplanting in hot weather

Dividing and transplanting in cool weather isn’t always practical. In July, if you find you need to move a plant, even though it’s 90 degrees and sunny, here are some secrets that will help ensure your plants’ survival.

  1. Start by watering the plant and its future home the day before you dig.
  2. The next day cut the foliage back by half: This way a smaller root system won’t have to support lots of foliage in the heat.
  3. Next, dig the hole where the new divisions will be set.
  4. You’re now ready to dig the plant out of the ground and divide just as you would at any other time of year.
  5. Once you have a division set into its new spot, fill the hole halfway with soil and soak it thoroughly.
  6. Fill the hole the rest of the way with soil, water it again and put down a layer of mulch.
  7. Keep the area wet for a few days.
  8. If the plant wilts in late evening or early morning, water again. And a little protection from the sun is a good idea, too.

Check out more helpful How To articles

With most things in life when you divide you get less.

The birthday girl gets less cake when she divides it up amongst her guests.

The heiress gets less when the fortune is divided amongst her siblings…and so on.

You get the picture.

This is not the case in the garden. In the garden when you divide you get more…much more!

Isn’t the garden a special place?

Got questions about dividing your plants?

I have answers for you Dividing Plants 101.

Let’s dig in!

Why Divide your Plants

There are three main reasons to divide your plants:

  1. control the size (avoiding the hostsa that ate my house scenario);
  2. to rejuvenate;
  3. to increase the number.

When to Divide your Plants

Divide Spring/Summer bloomers in the fall.

Divide Fall/Winter bloomers in the Spring.

Easy to remember, if it is flowering, or should be, don’t divide. Also don’t divide in super hot weather. That will put too much stress on the plant.

How to Divide your Plants

  • Prepare the area where you will put the new divisions
  • Prune the ‘mother’ plant to 6″ off the ground
  • With a pointed shovel dig all around the plant in a circle following the drip line
  • Pry under the plant with the shovel & lift
  • Shake off the lose soil
  • Separate roots

In separating the root systems keep in mind all roots are not created equal.

Plants have Four Basic Root Systems:

  • Spreading – separate by hand. Examples are asters & purple cone flower
  • Clumping – separate with a knife. Examples are hosta & day lilies
  • Rhizome – separate with knife leaving a few inches of rhizome & a leaf. Best example is the bearded iris
  • Tuberous – separate with a knife with each tuber having some roots & a sprout. Best example is the dahlia

Some plants are so huge you’ll need a shovel & some brute force to divide. Don’t be timid…go for it!

Just get the new divisions in a bucket of water or in the ground right away. If you do, despite some rough handling, they will flourish.

I complied a new page for you ~ a dividing cheat sheet.

Click for the down & dirty on dividing common perennials.

I think this cheat sheet will be really helpful when the time comes to divide & conquer!

Oh and, not all plants like to be split up, so…

Plants NOT to Divide

Some plants should simply not be divided.

Lenten and Christmas roses (Helleborus) are very difficult to move when more than a few years old. Usually you can find tiny seedlings around the base. These are easy to move.

Lavender cotton (Santolina chamaecyparrus) and several other perennials are actually small woody shrubs and should not be divided.

These include perennial candytuft (Iberis sempervirens), lavender, rosemary, southernwood (Artemesia abrotanum), and several other artemesias.

These plants often have rooted layers (branches that have developed roots while touching the soil). The layers can be cut off the parent plant, dug up and replanted as though they were divisions.

You now have lots of info so get dividing & multiplying!!

Don’t forget to click for your Dividing Plants Cheat Sheet.

** Kelly **

The Ultimate Guide to Dividing Perennials

By Marty Ross

Dividing perennials, such as hostas, daylilies and peonies, is a great way to make the most of plants already in your garden. Plants that have multiplied into big clumps can take over and compete with others for moisture and nutrients in the soil. When dividing perennials, you’re keeping the garden tidy and healthy, encouraging plants to bloom, and getting more plants to put elsewhere.

  • Why should you divide perennials?
  • It’s time to divide perennials when they have outgrown their spaces or crowd neighbors in a flower bed. Some perennials, such as irises, need to be divided from time to time to encourage them to bloom rejuvenating the plants. Dividing perennials also saves money. If you’re making a new flower bed, simply start by dividing perennials in your garden and plant some of the divisions in your new bed.

  • When should you divide perennials?
  • Early spring through early summer is a great time to divide most perennials. This allows the transplants to establish their roots long before the following winter’s frosts.

    Early fall is another great time to divide perennials, especially peonies. In early fall, there is less heat stress on your plants than there is at the height of summer. To make sure to allow plants time to put down roots before winter arrives, divide them while the weather is pleasant and you’re comfortable outdoors in a shirt or a light sweater.

    No matter when you divide perennials, move them quickly to their new place, and pay careful attention to watering.

How to divide perennials

Follow these 6 steps to separate perennials, specifically daylilies.

  1. First, gather your tools.
  2. You’ll need a spade, a garden fork, a trowel, a tub or tarp, a hose and nozzle. Garden gloves are a good idea, too.

  3. Make sure the plants are well watered.
  4. This relieves the stress of dividing them and makes it easier to dig up a clump. Divide plants a day or two after a good rain or water well beforehand with a Gilmour Thumb Control Watering Nozzle using the “garden” or “flower” setting. Apply enough water to penetrate to the roots of the plant.

  5. Dig up your plant.
  6. It’s easiest to use a garden fork, but a spade can also work. Loosen the soil around the plant, pick up the clump and place it on the tarp. If you don’t want to divide the whole clump, simply slice through the clump with the spade and dig part of it out.

  7. Shake the soil off the roots
  8. This helps you see where to divide the plant. You can also use a watering nozzle on the “soft wash” setting to wash off the soil.

  9. Pull or cut the plant apart to divide it.
  10. For daylilies, the ideal division has three “fans” of leaves. If the clump is growing tightly together, you may need to use a trowel or a knife to separate them. Each division should have a root section and leaves. If the leaves are hard to manage, cut them back by about two thirds.

  11. Replant each divided section.
  12. Place them at the same depth they were growing when you dug them up.

    Firm the soil around each division and make a watering ring to limit runoff. Next, water well by using a Thumb Control Watering Nozzle whenever the soil dries out. Test the moisture in the soil by poking your finger into the ground near the crown of the plant. A light layer of mulch around the divisions keeps the soil in place, helps retain moisture in the soil, and limits weeds. If you can’t plant in the ground right away, temporarily plant them in flower pots.

    Take care of your divisions by continuing to water regularly while they become established. Daylilies divided early in the season should produce a few blooms their first summer. After three years, you’ll have impressive clumps that bloom regularly.

Plant Division: How To Divide Plants

Plant division involves digging up plants and dividing them into two or more sections. This is a common practice performed by gardeners in order to keep plants healthy and create additional stock. Let’s look at the how and when of dividing plants.

Can I Split a Plant?

Wondering about the answer to the question, “Can I split a plant?” Since plant division involves splitting or dividing of the crown and root ball, its use should be limited to plants that spread from a central crown and have a clumping growth habit.

Numerous types of perennial plants and bulbs are suitable candidates for division. Plants having taproots, however, are usually propagated through cuttings or seeds rather than by splitting apart.

When to Divide Garden Plants

When and how often a plant is divided depends on the type of plant and the climate with which it is grown. Generally, most plants are divided every three to five years, or when they have become overcrowded.

Most plants are divided in early spring or fall; however, some plants can be divided at any time, like daylilies. Basically, spring and summer-flowering plants are divided in fall while the others in spring, but this doesn’t always have to be the case.

There are also plants that do not respond well to having their roots disturbed. These plants are best divided while dormant to reduce the effects of shock.

How to Divide Plants

Dividing plants is easy. Simply dig up the entire clump and then carefully divide the crown and root ball into two or more section, depending on the size of the clump. Sometimes you can divide garden plants with your hands, as with many bulb species, while the use of a sharp knife or garden spade is oftentimes necessary to get the job done when dividing plants.

Once you have divided plants, shake off the excess soil and remove any dead growth. You might want to cut the plants back prior to replanting too. This helps reduce any shock received from the division process and transplanting. Replant your plant divisions in a similar location or another pot.

Perennials are wonderful garden plants. Plants that are hardy enough to continue growing each year in your garden are considered perennials (as opposed to annuals which you need to replant every year). They can be very low maintenance once established, providing gorgeous blooms and even edible parts through the growing season.

Dividing perennials is often the only job that is needed to keep them in tip-top shape. Dividing helps perennials from becoming overcrowded, keeps them within the space designated in the garden, and can give you more plants for free!

As perennials develop an established root system in the ground, they spread and form larger and larger clumps. Dividing helps to improve aesthetics and blooming as well as protection from fungal diseases and insects. If any of your perennials are underperforming, dividing may just be the solution!

When to Divide Perennials

The best time to divide perennials is after they have bloomed and gone dormant for the year. With the exception of irises and fall bloomers most perennials would adore to be divided in the fall, and thank you for it next year. (Divide irises in summer after blooming, divide fall perennials in fall after blooming or the following spring). Dividing perennials in the fall gives the plants more of a time for the roots to develop strongly into the soil before the next gardening season.

Related: Fall Perennial Gardening: Garden Design on a Budget

Divide the perennials when the plants are looking full and lush but before they start to show signs of overcrowding. The growth and performance of perennials decreases as the plants become crowded. The centers can start to die or the whole plant can underperform like this Heuchera.

Of course, do what you can and divide the perennials when you have the opportunity, but if you’re noticing that your plant is performing well but is starting to push the boundaries of the space, this is the time to divide the plant. You can use divisions elsewhere in the garden or to give them to friends. Free plants!

How to Divide Perennials

If you’re dividing in the fall, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a cool day. The best time to divide is when the weather is not overly warm as plants establish more quickly in the soil when they aren’t under stress.

Lift the plant from the soil with as little root disruption as possible. Imagine that the roots below equal the size of the plant above to get an understanding for how much spread there is. Use a shovel to start digging around the soil at the edge of where you think the roots are. Dig the perimeter of the roots by driving the spade around the root ball. Now put the spade into the soil and gently trying to start to lift the plant from the bottom of the roots by pushing the handle down and the spade head up. Do this around the circle until the perennial pops out of the soil easily.

I find it handy to have a large tarp or blanket in order to put the big perennial roots on so I can then take a good look at what is there. Shake off the soil have a look at the roots. How much are they entangled? Are there any plants that look like they’ll easily start to separate? Use your hands or two garden forks to gently pry the roots of the divisions of plants apart. If the roots are strongly tangled into clumps difficult to pry apart you can use a garden saw (keeping in mind that this might cause damage to the plant).

Prepare your garden soil for transplanting by adding in compost and manure into the soil. Remove any debris or diseased leaves and give the soil a good turning so that it continues to be healthy, light, and well draining.

Plant a vigorous, healthy-looking section of plant back into the space that you removed the larger clump from. Backfill the area with soil and water well.

The remaining sections can either be planted in the garden right away or potted up to be given away. The same rules apply whether the plants are being transplanted to other areas are put into pots that they should go into healthy soil rich with compost and watered well.

If any parts of the plants don’t look healthy then dispose of them rather than planting them in the ground or in pots. There should be plenty left over of healthy plants and you want to start them off on the right foot.

More Perennial Gardening Fun

  • These Hardy Perennials are the Toughest on the Block
  • Save Money and Start these 14 Perennials from Seed
  • Top 10 Drought-Tolerant Perennials
  • Landscaping for Drought: Inspiring Gardens That Save Water
  • Grow These Fall Perennials for Brilliant Autumn Color!
  • Fall Perennial Gardening: Garden Design on a Budget
  • Made for the Shade: Low Maintenance Fall Planters Bursting with Colour
  • The Best Perennials for Sun
  • The Best Perennials for Shade

Dividing Your Perennials

Plants can handle being handled. Experienced gardeners know that plants are pretty tough. Some actually perform a little better under a little stress. So when it’s time to divide your perennials, be brave. All you need to do is sink your shovel in the ground, loosen the soil deeply around the perimeter and grab the plant. It’s going to be fine.
Dividing is the process of lifting an established perennial out of the ground, loosening or cutting the root system and making more plants from one. While it may sound like plant abuse or a primitive form of cloning, the process is beneficial on many levels. Division helps control the plant’s size, peps up the plant, and creates more plants.
Think of division as harvesting new perennials from your garden. It’s nature’s bonus plant program. With these freebies, you can expand your garden or create masses for added impact. Expand friendships by gifting bonus plants.
There are just a few things to consider. Different perennials like to be divided at different times and there are some that just don’t like it much. Bloom times can help you figure out when to divide which plant.
“If it blooms in the spring, divide in the fall. If it blooms in the fall, divide in the spring,” said Horticulturalist and perennial plant guru Wendy Brister; “However, in the spring, right as everything is just emerging is usually a safe time to divide most things.”
Early in the spring, there is less foliage for the plant to support and continued mild and moist spring conditions give the root system time to grow before the plant is stressed by heat or periods of drought. Fall offers similar conditions. Just make sure to divide about four weeks before the first hard frost so the root system has time to rebuild before winter.
“The great thing about perennials is if you HAVE to, you can divide any time of year and they are pretty resilient. They may just go into early dormancy but they
should bounce back by the following year,” said Brister.
There are a few plants that like to stay put.
“Perennials with a taproot don’t divide well. Baptisia australis, False Indigo, is a big one. Asclepias tuberosa, Butterfly Weed, doesn’t divide well either. For those types, wait till you get some seedlings and move the babies,” said Brister.
Seedlings transplant better because the taproot has not had time to develop. A taproot is a vertical and deep growing root. Poppies and thistle, for example, get grumpy about moving due to their long taproots. Again, not to worry. Plants really want to survive, so if you lift a plant and find it has a long taproot, just replant it. Keep it watered until the plant has re-established and chances are, the plant will be just fine.
While some plants are homebodies, others like to roam. If you notice that after a few years, a perennial is not blooming well or you begin to notice that the center of a clump is dying out, those plants need to travel. Dividing rejuvenates many plants.
“In my experience, it’s important to divide daylilies. They tend to bloom less
when the clump gets too big,” said Brister, “Some plants, like Rudbeckia, tend to die out in the center after a couple years.”
Iris is another plant that likes to be on the go. They like to be divided after they bloom in the summer and into early fall. Iris roots are rhizomes and they spread by growing new rhizomes. To divide Iris, cut back the leaves to several inches tall, lift the plants, then use a sharp knife to cut the new plants from the older plants. Often you will see new leaves on the baby rhizomes. You can discard the old rhizomes. Shallowly replant the smaller rhizomes.
Iris can stop blooming if not divided routinely. Most perennials can be divided every two to three years.
“Usually, the plants let you know when they need to be divided,” said Brister, “OR if your friends want some of your plants, then divide away!”
Healthy plants do their best to stick around. Handle your plants. Move them around. They will reward you by growing beautifully.

What do you do when you get ill? What do you do when your child becomes ill?

Do you automaticaly pick up the phone and call the doctor or do you consult the internet or your guide on herbal or natural remedies? What about healthy eating? Homeopatic remedies? Ayurvedic medicine? Healing frequencies? Linen garments? There are so many different possibilities out there. What do we choose ? What can or should we as believers in YHVH do when we or our family members get ill? We are His set-apart people. Can or should we as His set-apart people be putting our faith in any of the above or should we turn to YHVH in prayer? I believe that we need to first and foremost seek YHVH in prayer in order to know what we should do and then act in obedience. Doing anything other than that is idolatry! That is quite a harsh statement. Let us explore this further.

Jeremiah 17:7
7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in YHVH And whose trust is YHVH.

Psalm 28:7
7 YHVH is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him.

In the above quoted verses it is quite clear that we shall be blessed and helped when our hearts trust in YHVH. The reverse is also true: In Jeremiah 17:5 YHVH says that we shall be cursed if we trust in mankind and makes flesh our strength.

Look at the progression in this verse: you making flesh your strength and this then results in your heart turning away from YHVH.

Jeremiah 17:5
5 Thus says YHVH,
“Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind
And makes flesh his strength,
And whose heart turns away from YHVH.

The word “flesh” can also be translated as: mankind, myself, all living things,
(Strongs 1320 בָּשָׂר )

Mankind can also mean people or man’s ideologies and ideas. It can also mean trusting in myself – my own ideas or plans. Putting my trust in any or all livings things: plants or animals, healthy eating, herbal remedies, vitamins, wearing linen garments to name a few.

Also look at these verses:

Psalm 146:3
3 Do not trust in princes, In mortal man, in whom there is no salvation.

Isaiah 2:22
22 Stop regarding man, whose breath of life is in his nostrils; For why should he be esteemed?

Isaiah 30:1
1 “Woe to the rebellious children,” declares YHVH, “Who execute a plan, but not Mine, And make an alliance, but not of My Spirit, In order to add sin to sin;

When our hearts are turned away from our Creator – where is it turned to? It is turned towards someone or something else. It means we have transferred our trust in YHVH to something or someone else. Is that not idolatry?

We are told very specifically that we are to worship nothing or no-one other than YHVH. It is stated very clearly in the Bible:

Exodus 20:3–5
3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.
5 “You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, YHVH your Elohim, am a jealous Elohim, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,

Is there any connection between trust and worship? When we look at the account of Daniel who was thrown in the lion’s den and also Daniel’s three friends who were thrown into a burning furnace. In each case they were forced to worship an idol – they refused. They chose to worship YHVH therefor putting their trust in Him. If we choose to worship YHVH, we should be putting our trust in Him.

Daniel 3:28
28 Nebuchadnezzar responded and said, “Blessed be the Elohim of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, who has sent His angel and delivered His servants who put their trust in Him, violating the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies so as not to serve or worship any god except their own Elohim.

We learn from the above that we are to trust in YHVH for everything. We need to pray to YHVH and ask Him for guidance. We should not be putting our faith blindly in any and all kinds of new information or people – even doctors- promising healing. Sometimes you hear about a new remedy or new research done in a specific area. You might think: wow! Maybe this is an answer to my prayer! Before you run off to buy it and try it, consider this: Which treatments or “science” is “kosher” and which are actually pagan or have pagan roots? How do we discern right from wrong? When are we just benefiting from science and when are we practicing idolatry? Can idolatry just be wearing the mask of science? Wearing linen or using homeopathic remedies, even listening to certain frequencies that are claimed by “scientists” as having “healing power”. Who is guiding us if the core of these practices are occult?

YHVH will not guide us towards using anything contrary to His Word. For instance He will not guide you to use homeopathic medicine – which are occult to it’s very core- (see notes underneath “What is homeopathy?”) I also doubt that He would guide you to go to a New Age Holistic healer. That would in a sense be for me like instructing you to use witchcraft which is against Torah. Some use the logic that all was created by YHVH, so how can it be wrong. “It was stolen by the enemy and perverted for his use” is often said. That is simply not true – witchcraft was not created by YHVH! Using remedies with occult roots are wrong – has always been and will always be. It is said in the book of Enoch that these practices were taught to man by the fallen angels.

Enoch 7:10
Then they took wives, each choosing for himself; whom they began to approach, and with whom they cohabited; teaching them sorcery, incantations, and the dividing of roots and trees.

Enoch 8:3
Amazarak taught all the sorcerers and the dividers of roots.

We should gain proper knowledge of what we get ourselves into prior to just jumping in and trying every new trend especially in healthcare. Healthcare has always been and still is very connected with spirituality. The roots of some alternative health care practices are very occult and can just be the door Satan uses to pull you into occultism.

Hosea 4:6
6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
Because you have rejected knowledge,
I also will reject you from being My priest.
Since you have forgotten the law of your Elohim,
I also will forget your children.

It has become easier to follow the newest healthcare trends than it is to pray, read the Bible and do proper research. We want to belief the media. We do not want to repent and follow YHVH’s ways. Man’s way is easier and more trendy to follow.

2 Timothy 4:3–4
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,
4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths

If one pursue health and healing for the sake of health and healing, one has not attained much except just another form of idolatry. We should pursue health and healing in order to be able to -without hindrance of illness- use our time to acquire knowledge of YHVH and most importantly getting to know YHVH personally. This basic concept is also taught in Judaism by Rambam.

I have made some excerpts of some of the topics out of a book by the name: Basic questions on alternative medicine : What is good and what is not?. Stewart, G. (1998) to shed some light on some of the alternative therapies out there, it’s origin and the belief system behind it. This is by no means an exhaustive list and I will add to it as I research further. I have attached these excerpts to the document for your easy reference here:

Excerpts from Basic Questions on alternative medicine

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