Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Asexual Propagation By Plant Dividing

Our favorite way to propagate plants is division. The plants do most of the work and the rest is relatively easy! Division is necessary to keep some plants healthy and vigorously growing. Perhaps the easiest division is when the plant sends out suckers. Suckers or runners develop below the surface in the area around the crown; they are simply dug up and replanted. The new plants will need to be trimmed back to encourage growth and kept moist until established. Offsets are branches that develop at the base of the parent plant. They may look like a thick stem with a rosette of leaves. They can be severed from the parent when they have developed a root system and then rooted like a cutting. These are common in cacti and many bromeliads. Many perennials and some shrubs can be divided at the point where the roots come into contact with the shoots of growth or the crown. There are many methods, but generally the entire plant is dug up in late winter or early spring. If the plant has multiple stems growing from the crown and a fibrous root system, it can be cut from the top to the bottom along the stem growth. Plant the divisions quickly so that they do not dry out. Herbaceous perennials like daylilies, hostas, and asters that grow in large clumps can simply be dug up and pulled apart, usually in the early spring. This can be done by removing some of the plants around the outside of the root ball or by lifting the entire clump out of the ground and separating by hand. If the clump does not come apart easily you can use a sharp knife or pruners to cut it into pieces. Be sure to include good sprouts and roots on each piece. Try not to divide the plant into pieces that are too small to thrive. Replant the divisions at the same depth as they were growing before and keep them well watered until they become established.

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