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When Division Becomes Addition

September 22, 2011

By John Markowski

Yes, Fall has arrived with cooler temps, less humidity, and beautiful foliage. It is the perfect time to kick back and recover from the heat of summer. But not this guy, not yet.

My friends, there is still work to be done in the garden before the frosts hit us, and lucky for you, I am here today to urge you to do something that will give you pleasure for years to come.

Go outside, dig up your perennials, and divide them. “Dividing” your perennials simply means to separate one perennial into 3-5 smaller “divisions”. There is no reason to be intimidated by this task and I will show you why in the following photos. Why not turn one Siberian Iris into five?

 Here is an Iris with the telltale sign of requiring division; an empty hole in the middle of the plant:


 Look how easily it separates into multiple divisions after I dug it out of the ground:


Place the divisions on a tarp so they can be cleaned up:

Most of the soil has been removed from the roots:

 One division is planted in a previously prepared hole with the root ball at ground level:


The foliage is cut down so the plant can focus on root growth:

And like that, one becomes five:

All that remains is to keep the new divisions well watered. In a year or two, you’ll have five fully grown blooming plants. Your wallet will thank you also!

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