August 30, 2009

Fall is the Time to Divide - Tips for Dividing your Overgrown Perennials

I received this tip for dividing perennials from Jerry Baker's newsletter. It and other good advice can also be found in his book, Terrific Garden Tonics:

Some flowers are a little too vigorous, and they'll take over the whole backyard if you don't divide 'em. Others grow better after dividing them because you get rid of the old, weak growth that produces puny blooms and attracts pests and diseases. Best of all, dividing is a great way to get loads of new flowers for free!

Early fall is the best season for dividing crowded perennials, so now's the time to start chopping up those overgrown clumps. My Perennial Transplant Tonic will get your new divisions back on their feet without missing a beat.

Mix 1 can of beer, 4 tablespoons of instant tea granules, 2 tablespoons of dishwashing liquid, and 2 gallons of warm water in a bucket. Soak your newly divided perennials in this tonic for about 10 minutes just before replanting them. When you're finished, dribble any leftover tonic around your newly settled divisions to get 'em off to a supercharged start.

As I mentioned in a previous blog, I recently had to dig up my entire foundation landscaping because we needed to waterproof our basement. The picture is of my grandson, Tad, helping his daddy Josh (the one who did my foundation repair -Patterson Foundation Services) Sorry, but I had to get that plug in.

It was a good opportunity to divide and move some overgrown plants. I had a large Dawn Clematis vine that I divided into 3 new plants. I put a cup of Epsom Salts mixed with a cup of white sugar into the hole before I replanted the one in the front yard. I had cut it back severely and in 2 weeks it has grown about two and a half feet and has buds on the tips of all the stems! I'm pretty sure it was the Epsom Salts mix that gave it a power boost. I gave one of the vines to my brother-in-law and told him about the Epsom Salts trick and his is growing great too. I put this mix into the planting holes of all the Lilies that I put back in place and not a one shows any signs of stress.

For you folks out there who live in Middle Tennessee, I'll be speaking about plant propagation at the Middle Tennessee Plant Swap on Oct. 17 at Henry Horton State Park. It is a fun event and a chance to get some good plant trades.

1 comment:

  1. Great perennial transplant tonic recipes! I will try both. One question: when should fall-blooming perennials be divided?