Thursday, March 18, 2010

Why Divide?

Dividing your perennials is one of those gardening tasks that beginners often overlook-if the plant's already in the ground, why should I dig it up?

For a variety of reasons. After years of growing in the same spot, some perennials can get overcrowded, compacted, lose blooms, and suffer from a combination of ennui and restless leg syndrome. You would too if you couldn't move for ten years.

I admit, I'm a little lazy when it comes to dividing perennials, but they'll reward you more often than not with fuller, brighter foliage and blooms. It's also a good time to weed that grass out from your daisy patch and it's actually easier than you think.

Here's what you do: Dig up the clump with a shovel or fork (a fork will cause less damage, but I'm tall and I find them a little difficult to use). Get a knife or a hori hori (everyone should have a hori hori anyway) and cut the clump in half so that it's more manageable. From there, cut it into as many different clumps as you want. Shake the soil out, pull out any dead, pull out weeds.

Replant the divisions so that they are several inches apart. If you're going to give them away and not plant them immediately stick them in a pot with some soil and keep them watered. Or better yet, take some to your cute new neighbor next door as a welcoming gift. (Just be sure you aren't harboring any nasty weeds if you want to make a new friend).

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