If you’re just starting to garden, you might not realize that with a lot of plants, there’s really no reason to buy them. Aloe, succulents and most herbs all grow quickly enough that if you have a friend who has them, they’ll most likely be happy to share. Some of the bigger plants, like lilies, hosta or iris take a little longer to need dividing, but can still be pulled into chunks to give away or to add to new gardens around your home.
But how do you divide your plants? The first group I mentioned, the crazy fast growers, are easier to do, because you don’t have to be as careful, but the basic premise is the same for any plant.
I’m going to be showing you what I’m doing with mint. If you’re worried about killing your plant with your first splitting attempt, mint is the way to go. You CANNOT kill this plant. I’m giving some to a friend before I mow mine to ground for the season to try and get it back under control and keep the bees that have been hanging out in it from taking over my entire herb garden.
As a note, yes I know I technically should be pinching the blooms off my herbs and keeping it from bolting like this…I’ve been a terribly lazy gardener this year.
To start, look for a natural break in your plant. If you’re working with the less aggressive plants, make sure you’re not dividing them in the middle of their blooming season. Try not to cut through any more stems than you have to. If your plant doesn’t have any obvious divisions, roughly divide it in half. If the soil around your plant is packed down, use a pronger (apparently the “correct” term is “cultivator“) to loosen it up, bringing your roots out of the ground.
Again, if you’re working with mint, don’t sweat any of this, just dig the whole thing out and hack it up before throwing it into a pot. It’s going to go crazy and try and take over the world no matter what you do. If you’re working with a more delicate plant, try to untangle the roots to leave as many intact as possible before splitting the plant down the middle with the sharpest shovel you have.
Once you have a nicely divided root ball, place your plant into a container for transporting or move it to its new location in your yard. Cover it with dirt, making sure that you bury it to the same depth it was growing at originally and water well. Enjoy getting two plants for the price of one!