Sunday, 18 March 2007


Photo: Perennials benefit by division.

Photo: Aubrieta kitte.

Photo: Daphne mezereum rubra.

Many herbaceous plants can be divided and by doing so you can have lots of new plants. Plants with fibrous or roots can easily be lifted and divided, but plants with fleshy or rhizomatous roots need to lifted and divided by using a sharp knife.

Dividing fleshy rooted plants.
Dig up the plant and with a sharp knife separate the woody crowns. Make sure that each new piece has strong roots and several bud growths. Again if its an old big clump that's been in the ground for several years or more then throw away the centre part. Plants with fleshy Crowns include: Delphiniums / Lupins / Astilbe / Hosta.

Fibrous rooted plants

Dig the plant out of the ground and place two garden forks or hand forks back to back and then lever their handles together. This pulls the plant apart and untangles the roots. You will need to repeat this technique several times to end up with small divisions of the main clump. A golden rule is usually to throw away the centre part of the main clump and keep and replant the outer parts of the plant. The centre of the clump is the older part and becomes woody.Plants with fibrous roots include: Artemisia, Asters, Golden Rod, Herbaceous Campanulas, Herbaceous Geraniums, Meadowsweet, Perennial Spiraea, Perennial Sunflowers and Yarrow.

Dividing rhizomes.
Dig up and select young outer pieces. Use a sharp knife to separate the rhizomes. Select pieces that have at least one or two fans of leaves from the outside of the clump and discard the centre rhizomes. Plants with rhizome roots include: Flag Iris, Lily of the valley and Orris Root.

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