New plants may be created by division or root cuttings. Division is the easiest method of propagation and provides the largest plants in the shortest time. Root cuttings provide many more new plants from a parent plant than division. To divide a plant, dig the entire clump. The entire root system will be vigorous without the center weakness often seen in perennials. You can make several divisions approximately six inches across from each plant. Set the divisions in improved soil, spaced between 12 to 15 inches apart.
There are two methods of taking root cuttings. The first method is to take a section of the roots. The mother plant is left in place. This is a good procedure if you are creating reserve plants. The second method is to dig up the entire plant. Some of the brittle roots are inevitably left behind and sprout on their own, maintaining the clump.
It is important to maintain the orientation of the cutting. The top of the root cutting, the end closet to the crown, forms stems and leaves. The bottom produces roots. To help identify the orientation of the cutting while working with the cuttings, cut the top square and the bottom at an angle. Make cuttings between three and four inches long.
The cutting can be set immediately into predug holes in the garden. Cover with ½ inch of soil. Some gardeners prefer to start the cuttings in pots. The pots must be deep enough to permit the cuttings to be set ½ inch below the soil surface. New leaves will appear above the soil within a month. Potted cuttings can be set in the garden as soon as the leaves appear or over-wintered in the pot. Hold potted cuttings in a cold frame.
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Copyright © 2000-2009 Frank H. Sommer
Sommer in the garden
zone 6 gardening Pennsylvania
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Web site created September 26, 1999
Updated August 8, 2011