Site Map     Contact     Home

Dividing perennials

Nor sure when to do this? Well, read up on the techniques and purposes to dividing and propogating perennials.



Propagating and Dividing Perennials:


The two main purposes of propagation and division are:
1) increase your supply of perennials, and
2) encourage new, strong growth to the parent plant. Once the characteristics of a plant are known, one of the below methods will work.


PROPAGATING

Stem Cuttings:

Stem cuttings fall into one of three different categories: softwood, semi-hardwood, and hardwood. Softwood cuttings are taken from the current season's new growth, while the stems are still soft yet not too tender. Forsythia and Lilac are good candidates for softwood propagation. June and July are the best month's to make softwood cuttings. Semi-hardwood cuttings are also taken from the current season's growth but the stem is more mature and partially woody. Holly and Azalea cuttings are taken from semi-hardwood in June or July. Hardwood cuttings are taken in the late fall or early winter after a hard frost. By this time plants have become dormant. Cuttings from deciduous plants such as Honeysuckle, Poplar, Privet and Spirea are taken from Hardwood. Cuttings of Junipers and Yews, which are narrow-leafed evergreens, are also hardwood.

To make a cutting, cut about two inches from the tip of a plant, just below a leaf. Remove all but a few leaves from the tip of the cutting. For quickest root development, place the stem approximately an inch into a small pot of moist vermiculite and cover with clear plastic. The plastic will keep moisture in the vermiculite. Place the pot where it will get bright light - direct sun is not advisable, as the vermiculite will dry out too quickly. In a couple of weeks, gently tug on the cutting. If it is firm, then it has taken root and can be planted.

Another method of rooting cuttings is to place the stem in a small container of water and setting it in indirect light. Roots will eventually form, however, this method takes several weeks and the roots generally aren't as strong.

Root Cuttings:

When the plant is actively growing (normally in the spring), remove the plant from the soil and wash the soil from the roots. Cut the fleshiest part of the root into three-inch sections, making sure to leave plenty of root on the parent plant. Plant the root section horizontally, covering with a half-inch of soil. Replant the parent plant and water it, and the root cuttings, well.


DIVIDING

When divided every few years, perennials benefit by becoming stronger and producing more blooms. Dividing perennials creates more, smaller, clumps of the same plant. Even if more plants are not desired, perennials should be divided to rejuvenate old plants.

The first step to division is to dig up the plant to be divided. Wash a majority of the soil away from the roots so you can easily determine where to make the division. Some plants can be divided by gently pulling off sections of the crown, while other plants may require a sharp, clean knife to cut through he roots. Do not take too many divisions from one plant, as each section must have enough healthy root to sustain growth. If any part of the root looks dead, damaged or diseased, trim back to healthy white tissue.

As a general rule, plants that flower in the spring and early summer should be divided in the fall. Plants that flower in summer and fall should be divided in the spring before new growth is too large.


PLANT

BEST TIME TO DIVIDE

Aster

Spring

Bleeding Heart

Spring or Fall

Campanula

Spring or Fall

Chrysanthemum

Spring

Columbine

Spring

Coreopsis

Spring

Delphinium

Early Spring

Echinacea

Spring or Fall

Gailardia

Spring

Geranium

Spring or Fall

Hosta

Spring or Fall

Iris

Late Summer, Fall

Lily

Fall

Monarda

Spring

Oriental Poppy

Summer

Phlox

Spring

Rudbeckia

Spring or Fall

Scabiosa

Spring

Sedum

Spring, Summer

Vinca

Early Spring

Yarrow

Spring, Late Summer

Yucca

Spring or Fall