Plant Propagation By Division

Plants like Michaelmas daisies make large quantities of spreading roots each season. From these rise numerous new stems, and if not checked, the group quickly becomes overcrowded, and flowers become starved and small in consequence. Such plants are best divided annually, and then the newest, plumpest pieces of root only should be retained.

A sharp, clean knife is the best tool for root division and at times a large old clump of roots can be broken by pushing into it two hand forks back to back, and levering them apart.

Plants with fleshy roots, such as the June irises, should be divided with a clean cut, and only fresh, new healthy portions should be kept for replanting.

daylily clump ready for division

Plants that resent disturbance, such as Peonies, are best not lifted at all, the root division being made in the following way. About September, when the foliage has withered, some of the soil should be gently removed from the side of the pony root, and then one or two small pieces, each with an “ eye “ or two, can be slipped off with a sharp knife, together with a few rootlets. Soil can then be replaced, and the old crown will generally not suffer at all, while the new pieces, planted in congenial soil, will grow on to make large flowering plants.

Some plants, such as chrysanthemums, which send up dozens of new growths from the old stools, can be treated like the Peonies in early spring, when the first green growths appear. If no rootlets can easily be taken off with the young shoots, it is generally possible to grow them on just the same, so long as the young growths are potted up in a sandy compost and kept moist.

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