Dividing Plants To Improve The Garden
Now is the time of year when you should be dividing your herbaceous plants if necessary. The Dividing of plants is however not something that needs to be done every year, but is very rewarding if you put the effort in. Lifting herbaceous out of the ground is to be done for two varying reasons, either to bulk up the flower bed or more commonly to reduce an amount that has out grown its space in a garden border.
Reducing a clump of Herbaceous plant is widely accepted as the most common reasoning behind dividing plants. This occurs usually when a herbaceous plant out grows it's space in a border, growing into another plants given space resulting in the border beginning to becoming messy and wild in appearance, rather than uniform. An example of this being Alchemilla mollis also known as lady's mantel, which although produces a fantastic yellow flower for most of the year self seeds a lot and spreads at an fast rate. So for this example with Alchemilla mollis, when it or similar Herbaceous plants out grows its space, you will need to dig out the plant with a fork working outwards from the crown of the herbaceous plant.
Then make sure that you gently shake off any excess soil so you can see the root clearly. This is then where some plants vary. some plants can easily be pulled apart gently by hand whereas others will need the effort of two forks to separate some plants. Once you have separated the herbaceous into even size clumps, you need to replant the desired amount to re fill the space. Excess clumps from the original plant use can then be put elsewhere in the garden or given away to friends.
Increasing your size of Herbaceous plant by bulking up a clump is very different on the other hand. Instead of being used to thin a clump of herbaceous which has out grown its space and into another plants space, the idea of bulking a clump happens when you have a herbaceous perennial in a flower bed which hasn't been able to fill the space it has been planted in. Or you may have a well filled clump that you want increase the size of because it will make the overall design better, contasting better against other large clumps of herbaceous or shrubs behind the herbaceous area.
When you have newly planted out a border or even a section within an established border, it takes time for the plants to mature and fill their spaces given. Some Herbaceous grow quickly and spread well, here you can be pleased that your design is fulfilling the idea. Other plants that are not so helpful in this respect, many Geums as an example! The original Geum plants must be lifted out of the ground, lets say you have planted three to begin with. These three will have increased in size, and you can divide each one into three again to make nine smaller plants. I suggest that you should not make the newly divided plants too small, as they need to take again well, and plants divided too small may struggle to do this. Once you have your nine plants to go back in, dig the soil well and add compost in preparation of planting. Place the nine clumps or root balls of herbaceous plant evenly in the required space, and plant them in the bed, firming the soil thoroughly to ensure they can not come out. Lastly water thoroughly, being Autumn, it should be cool to mils and wet, so you should be able to leave the newly divided plants to get going themselves! If there is an unusually dry Autumn, then water regularly enough to keep the soil moist.
Opportunity to remove fibrous perennial weeds such as Couch Grass or Ground Elder. While you are pulling apart your plant for division, this is the best opportunity to remove fibrous roots that otherwise will not be tempted out of you plant when its in the ground.
Some examples of Herbaceous that need dividing regularly to keep them under control
Geranium (not all)