Make New Plants For Free

Plant propagation. It sounds like something from a science textbook, doesn’t it?

Now many gardeners approach their practice from a scientific point-of-view. They love soil tests and precise formulas and would never “wing it” when it comes to feeding their plants or filling their raised beds.

I am not one of those gardeners.

Which I think is why it took me years to accept that even non-technical, non-scientific me should be making new plants from the plants I already have.

One of the easiest ways to do this is through division.

Hostas, daylilies, and iris are common garden plants that are also very easy to divide. Division simply means to dig them up and then, sometimes gently, sometimes with the force of a sharp spade, the gardener splits her big plant into smaller ones before replanting them out in her space.

I divide my hostas and daylilies in early spring when they are just beginning to grow. I divide my iris after it blooms. A quick internet search can help you on the details of when and how for your particular plant, but most perennials can be divided in spring or fall.

Even easier than division is taking cuttings and rooting them.

This, too, sounds more technical than it is. “Take a cutting” by snipping off a stem of fresh, green growth. Strip the leaves from the bottom of the stem and then, depending on the particular needs of the plant, either plunge it in a glass of water and leave to grow roots, or plunge it into a small pot to do the same.

While some plants root more easily than others, it’s worth trying with most of our garden perennials like phlox or mums.

When I feel self-doubt or feelings of inadequacy holding me back, I remind myself to simply try. What’s the worst that could happen? Chances are that hosta will bounce back just fine, even if we do it “wrong.”

Gardens are forgiving places. They want to grow.

Explore all our Black Barn Garden Library posts here.


Posted on

June 2, 2020

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