Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Perennial divisions

In my area, Zone 5 of Northern Indiana, now is a great time for dividing perennials. It is really easy to find ideal spots for your divisions as the plants are sending up their shoots (see photo to right). For example, in my yard, I have lots of hostas. Hostas need to be divided every few years in order to perform well in the landscape. Due to their size and fairly delicate leaves, Hostas can be difficult to divide in the fall; although they can be divided in either the fall or spring. I prefer to do mine in the spring since it's so much easier.
By looking straight down onto a Hosta plant that needs to be divided, you will usually see some clumps of leaf shoots. They are often like small circles (see photo to left). In order to divide them up nicely, you will need to dig up the entire plant. First, be sure to remove any debris in and around the plant. You'll see in my photos, that fallen leaves litter the plant. They should be removed before starting this process. Start by digging a circle around the entire plant with your shovel. Your circle should be a few inches away from the edge of the plant. Then, use your shovel to gently lift the plant and all of it's roots. Once your plant is loose, you can use a shovel, spade, or other flat garden tool to divide the clumps. Simply slice through the plant, top to bottom, in the desired areas. Then, you can lift the divided clumps and plant them in new places or give them to friends. I planted mine in a new place in my shady garden, and then added a slow release fertilizer (see photo below). Regular water is also very important, as it is with any newly planted plant.

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