Division is a very straightforward method of propagation. Simply put, a single large plant can usually be divided into several smaller plants. Most clump forming perennials will happily divide at this time of year. I have a few still in pots that I have not quite got round to planting out, so I am taking the opportunity to increase numbers. So how does one divide a perennial? The short version is “you just divide a perennial”. It’s not hard.
Slightly longer version if it’s not something you’ve tried before:
I started with a lobelia speciosa ‘fan burgundy’, still in its pot. The process is the same if the plant is in the ground, you just have to dig it up first.
I removed the lobelia from the pot.
Depending on the size of the plant or clump, different implements can be used to perform the operation. I have used a saw, a knife, two forks back to back, all sorts. In this case I was able to use my hands. Grabbing the root ball, I dug my fingers and thumbs in to tear the plant into two pieces, and then again to get four or five pieces in total. I could have gone even smaller, the plant will readily fall into smaller and smaller pieces until you just have teeny plantlets. These need a bit more care before planting out, so I have not been greedy this time. Plants like these often have a woody central section, particularly if its a decent sized clump. This can be removed and composted.
These simply need potting up, or planting out. I haven’t yet decided where to plant this lot so I have put them back in 1L pots. I put a little multi-purpose compost in the bottom, plonked the plant in then filled in around the sides, firming in as I went.
I started with three lobelia plants, and finished with sixteen. They were £15 to buy, so are now effectively decent plants for less than £1 each. Bargain!
The final step was to water them in. I might also give them a boost with a general fertiliser.
This is a very quick and easy way to get more plants. No special equipment is needed, no potions, no mucking about. I did something similar with a clump of helenium last year, you can read about it here. Give it a try!
I’ll be back soon with more propagation piffle.