Budget Gardening:

Propagating Houseplants and Dividing Perennials for a Thriving Garden

By Trace Barnett

Whether you’re expanding your indoor jungle or revitalizing your outdoor landscape, spring is the perfect time to propagate and divide for a thriving garden. We’ll discuss some resilient varieties that transplant well and delve into the art of propagating begonias from cuttings for a lush and vibrant indoor display.

Dividing Perennials

Perennial plants that benefit from division tend to become overcrowded, exhibit declining vigor, or have a clumping growth habit. Some popular perennials that are commonly divided to maintain their health and vigor include:

Hostas: These shade-loving plants can become overcrowded over time, leading to reduced vigor and smaller leaves. Dividing hostas every few years helps rejuvenate them and promote healthy growth.

Daylilies (Hemerocallis): Daylilies form clumps that can become congested, resulting in fewer blooms. Dividing them every few years encourages new growth and enhances flowering.

Bearded Irises (Iris germanica): Bearded irises tend to become overcrowded, which can lead to reduced flowering. Dividing them every three to four years helps rejuvenate the plants and promotes better blooming.

Peonies (Paeonia): Peonies benefit from division every few years to prevent overcrowding, which can lead to decreased flower production. Dividing peonies also allows you to propagate new plants.

Ornamental Grasses: Many ornamental grasses, such as Miscanthus and Pennisetum, develop dense clumps that can become less vigorous over time. Dividing them every few years helps maintain their health and shape.

Shasta Daisies (Leucanthemum x superbum): These cheerful perennials can become overcrowded, leading to reduced flowering. Dividing them every two to three years helps rejuvenate the plants and encourages abundant blooms.

When dividing perennials, it’s best to do so in early spring or late summer when the plants are not actively flowering. Make sure to water the divided sections well after replanting to help them establish quickly. With proper care, divided perennials will continue to thrive and beautify your garden for years to come.

Propagating Houseplants

Propagation is an excellent way to expand your houseplant collection and share your favorite varieties with friends and family. Here’s how to propagate houseplants through various methods:

Stem Cuttings:Select a healthy stem with several nodes and remove it just below a node using a clean, sharp knife or scissors.Remove any lower leaves to expose the nodes, which will encourage root development.Dip the cut end in rooting hormone (optional) and place it in a small pot filled with a well-draining potting mix.Keep the soil consistently moist and provide indirect light until roots develop, typically within a few weeks.

Leaf Cuttings: Choose a healthy leaf and cut it at the base, ensuring the cut is clean and straight. Place the leaf cut-side down on a tray or pot filled with a mixture of perlite and peat moss. Mist the leaf occasionally to keep it moist and provide indirect light until new plantlets emerge from the base of the leaf.

Dividing Summer and Fall Blooming Perennials: Dividing perennials not only helps rejuvenate overcrowded plants but also allows you to multiply your garden’s beauty. Here’s how to divide perennials effectively:

Preparation: Water the plants thoroughly a day or two before dividing to ensure they’re well-hydrated and easier to work with.Choose a cool, overcast day to minimize stress on the plants.

Digging: Use a sharp spade or shovel to dig around the perimeter of the plant, keeping a generous distance from the base to avoid damaging the roots.Gently lift the plant from the ground, shaking off excess soil to expose the root system.

Division: Carefully separate the plant into smaller sections, ensuring each division has a healthy portion of roots and foliage.

Trim any damaged or overcrowded roots with clean pruners or scissors to promote healthy growth.

Perennials that Divide and Transplant Well

Iris: Divide iris rhizomes in late summer to early fall for optimal growth and bloom.Black-Eyed Susans (Rudbeckia): Divide clumps of black-eyed Susans in early spring or late summer to maintain vigor and prevent overcrowding.

Spiderwort (Tradescantia): Divide spiderwort plants in spring or early fall, replanting divisions in moist, well-draining soil.Coneflower (Echinacea): Divide coneflower clumps every 3-4 years in early spring to rejuvenate the plants and encourage prolific flowering.

Propagation of Begonias by Cuttings: Begonias are prized for their stunning foliage and delicate flowers, making them popular houseplants. Here’s how to propagate begonias through stem cuttings:

  1. Select a healthy stem with several nodes and remove it just below a node using clean, sharp scissors or a knife.
  2. Remove any lower leaves to expose the nodes, which will encourage root development.
  3. Dip the cut end in rooting hormone (optional) and place it in a small pot filled with a mixture of perlite and peat moss.
  4. Keep the soil consistently moist and provide indirect light until roots develop, typically within 4-6 weeks.

With the arrival of spring, take advantage of the opportunity to propagate houseplants and divide summer and fall blooming perennials. By following these techniques and considering resilient varieties, you can rejuvenate your garden and enjoy a season of lush growth and vibrant blooms.

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