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Dividing Plants

Division reproduces plants asexually, resulting in genetically identical offspring, with all the original desirable and undesirable attributes. Many plants naturally reproduce by division, some much more readily than by seed. It is also easy, and produces more mature specimens quickly.

Water plants well for the two days prior to dividing. This is best done in cooler weather or later in the day. Divide after the plants have finished flowering, or in spring, for fall-flowering species.

Knock plants from pots, or dig up, and pull the rootball into sections, each containing part of the crown and a few good roots to support it. The rootball often falls easily into a few discrete clumps: use nature to guide you. A knife or pair of pitchforks may be needed to separate tougher root systems, and with some plants, such as Astilbe, an old saw may be needed to cut them apart.

Clump of daylily, or Hemerocallis, prior to division Daylily - Hemerocallis - clump division Daylily - Hemerocallis - planted after clump division

Both long leaves and long roots should be trimmed back, and dead or diseased parts of the clump discarded. Each new section needs both healthy roots and shoots. Replant immediately and water well, and protect from strong light and cold for several weeks.

Rhizomes or tubers can often be cut into pieces, each with one or more shoots, buds, or bud eyes. Replant, and protect several days. Suckers may also be cut or pulled off, each with a good root network, and should similarly be protected.

Plantlets produced on runners may be rooted while attached to parent plant, or be freed then planted into warm moist soil. Protect from sun for a week or two.

Hosta 'Golden Tiara' root clump division

Topics Referenced

Pots and Potted Plants

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