Saturday, April 14, 2012

Stingy Gardening

I just hate to pay too much for perennials, or any plants, really. Sometimes I feel like I'm paying for dirt! You've seen it, haven't you? A big container and an itty bitty plant with a root system that takes of one-tenth of the volume? It just kills me.

A hosta I found on sale that can be divided into at least
two more hosta. Love this lime color. It will add
light to the shady border I have in mind.

One way I make the most of my plant purchases is to look for a split-able plant. What's split-able?

- already has one or more plants in the pot
- has a root system that can be divided
- is basically healthy

Not all plants can be split or divided. Certainly not most annuals like petunias, impatiens, geranium or the like. Roses and other ornamental bushes cannot be divided either. Luckily lots of other gorgeous perennials can be divided with great results.

After the hosta is split. I used a sharp shovel. Turn the plant  out of the
container. Then turn it on its side. Use the shovel to split in between
the individual plants to split the root system. Then plant it normally,
tamping down around it to be sure the roots make contact with the new soil.

Patience is the key here. Divided plants are initially smaller and may need a little extra nurturing for the first year. If you wait until next year - - you will be rewarded!

How do you know if a plant can be divided? If you don't know, Google the plant. This may take another trip back to the nursery or big box store but the information is worthwhile. Check to see how it is propagated. If the propagation technique includes root division - - that's the clue. Also check on the method of division.  Is it simply pulling apart roots, like creeping jenny? Or does it need to be cut (like iris or hosta)?

Here are some of the perennials I have had success with dividing:

- hosta
- iris
- creeping jenny (aura)
- bugleweed (ajuga)
- creeping thyme
- jacobin flower (an old fashioned flower my dad gave me)
- balloon flower
- black eyed susan
- monkey grass

Hosta in their new home. They don't show up very well in this
picture, but see the big one? It was a split from last year.
Patience pays.

What plants have you divided successfully?

Obviously I have more work to do.

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