Three Steps To… Free Plants!

Not everybody has plenty of money to spend on their garden and buying plants can be an expensive business. This method of dividing certain plants can turn one clump into 3, 4 or more plants. For many plants, this is ideally carried out in spring, so you should get it done in the next few weeks or so; other plants can be successfully reproduced in autumn. The result could be that you turn one favourite plant into a whole group of them – for nothing. If you don’t have any clumpy perennial plants to divide, find a friend or family member who does and see if you can call in a favour…

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Step One

Identify a perennial plant (one that dies back over winter but regrows in the spring/summer) that seems to have formed a clump.

We chose some clumps of chives in our herb garden.

Dig them up – taking care to dig the whole plant out, including all the roots.

At this point, you could wash some of the soil off the roots with water to help you see them more clearly.

Clumps of chives

Step two

Next you need to divide the roots into smaller clumps. This can be done by hand if the roots are a bit tangled or, if the roots are too tight together, you can use a spade or knife to carefully split them apart.

Make sure each piece you divide off has strong looking roots and shoots of growth above.

Divided clump of chives

Step three

Find a place for your new, free plants to live and dig a hole slightly bigger than the roots. Place the roots in the hole and fill it with good soil or compost then firm around the plant.

Finally, give the plant a good soaking and keep an eye out for it over the next week or two – watering it well if the soil dries out.

PS, if you don’t have plants of your own to divide, just make friends with someone who does – perhaps you could do a few small garden jobs in exchange for a lovely clump…

Replanted chives