How To Divide & Share Plants With Friends This Fall
If you’re one of the lucky gardeners who is faced with the fun problem of too many Daylilies, Hostas, or other perennials that need to be divided this fall, why not share plants with friends or neighbors? Fall is an ideal time of year to dig up and divide these overcrowded plants in your garden. It's also the perfect time to help your favorite new (or seasoned) gardener add to their landscape!
Step One: Identify Varieties That Should Be Divided
There are several varieties that should be divided every few seasons to avoid overcrowding and disease. Dividing can be done in the late fall after the plant has died back for the season, or in the early spring just as new growth emerges.
These orange daylilies at the front of our home had grown overcrowded and needed to be divided. We dug them up in fall after much of the growth had died back.
Plants To Divide And Share:
Step Two: Divide
Digging up and dividing plants is easy!
- Dig around a large clump of the plant you’re going to divide in a circle, so that it's easier to get the plant out of the ground.
- After you dig the plant up, you can divide it into smaller, more manageable clumps using a sharp knife. Typically, you’ll want each section to be at least 20% of the entire clump.
- Re-plant several of your smaller, healthy plants where you dug the entire plant up, with plenty of space in between them.
- You’ll have several plant clumps leftover, which is where the plant sharing fun begins!
- Place your extra plants in a container (like a tubtrug or bucket) that has a couple of inches of water at the bottom. This will keep the root systems healthy until the plant is in its new home, without soaking the roots which could lead to rot.
Have a container with a couple of inches of water at the bottom ready when you divide your plants.
Step Three: Presentation
If you know of someone who is new to gardening or just moved into a new home, they are the perfect candidate for your extra plants. We recommend having fun with your gift presentation: pair your divided perennials with a fun container, a tubtrug (which every gardener should have), gloves, a trowel, or whatever else you think is a must-have garden tool. The key is that they can plant the perennials as soon as they get them in the fall and then use the container in the spring (or winter if they’re growing Amaryllis bulbs).
If you're giving your divided plants away to a new gardener, put together a "starter package" for them. Include your favorite tools, gloves, garden tchotchkes, and more. Also, make sure to label your plants!
If you’re a thrifty wildflower gardener and like to save your seeds at the end of the year, this is another great gift for a gardening friend. Harvest your seeds at the end of the season and place them in an airtight container like a mason jar or tupperware. Your lucky recipient can either plant the seeds in the fall or save them right in the container until spring.
Harvested seeds — or leftover seeds from your own planting — also make fantastic garden gifts.
Step Four: Lend A Helping Hand
If you want to add even more (free) value to your garden gift, when you bring your plants or seeds over to your friends’ garden, come with your shovel and gloves and help them plant. Or, if they aren’t quite sure where they want to plant the perennials or seeds, offer up your help at a different time. This — especially if you’re giving plants to a new gardener — may be the most exciting part of your gift.
Although you can (almost) always find a place for extra plants in your own landscape, the joy that gifted perennials and seeds brings to a gardening friend is absolutely worth it. Also, the fact that these plants came from your garden — and your green thumb — makes the gift that much more special.
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