Propagate plants with root Divisions, an easy way to get more of plants you love for free. Dividing perennials is easy and makes for a healthier plant.
Early Spring is a great time to divide your favorite perennial plants. This is one way to propagate and get more (free) plants to fill in another area of your garden or you can swap with a friend. So here I am going to share how I propagate plants with root divisions.
Not only do you get more plants by making root divisions but you also can keep what you have in the ground blooming much prettier. Thriving perennials can get crowded in about 3 or 4 years or if they are particularly robust they can become out of control. Dividing keeps them in line and healthier.
When to Divide
Most perennials can be divided in Spring or Fall. Many times I prefer Fall but with good care you can actually divide them anytime between Spring and Fall. If you divide in the heat of summer you will need to take extra care and keep the new divisions well watered. I also provide shade for them, they seem to do better when not being baked by the sun. Shade cloth, burlap or cheese cloth draped over them supported by a frame of sorts (I use tomato cages) does the job.
I like to start a few days ahead if the ground is not already damp and water the area around the base of the plant deeply, it makes the digging so much easier. In the early Spring the ground is plenty damp so I don’t have to worry about this step.
1. I start digging around the base of the plant, a few inches back so as to get a good amount of the root ball, I also shovel deep. My plants are very healthy and have deep roots.
2. Remove the clump. You may have to dig all the way around the clump to be able to lift it from the ground. I like to see what I am dividing so I wash the dirt away with a hose. As the dirt washes away you can see the individual plants and can cut or pull them apart. You don’t have to do this, you can cut through the mass with a sharp shovel.
3. Each plant needs a set of roots and leaves to grow. You can plant your divisions in a new spot in your garden or you can pot them up. Plant at the same depth they were before and water well. Mulch around plant to conserve water to help your new plants to get established.
Keep in mind that perennials with a single large tap root or multiple stems from one crown do not like to be divided. You are better off taking cuttings or planting from seed.
Another wonderful think about root division propagation is you get a nice sized plant right away rather than starting with tiny seedlings and you have an exact clone of the parent plant.
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