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Dividing or splitting plants (perennial herbs)

Sharing is caring, right? Well did you know that you can split some plants into multiple pieces and hey you’ve got extra free plants to use or share with people to show them you care?

Now, this might sound scary but it’s actually really easy and we did it this week with some of our herbs because the herb bed was getting out of control. Over the last 10 years, we’ve really narrowed down what we grow, herbwise. Like most people, when we were eager bunny, new gardeners we grew just about everything, but we’ve realised that we actually don’t use a lot of herbs regularly enough to want to grow them ourselves. Yeah, we have staples like basil and tarragon but things like sage and thyme, we just don’t use. Now oregano we do use but, that plant has become a beast, so it’s time to make it smaller. Bear with me, it’s not scary, honest.

How to divide perennial herbs

You are best doing this between early autumn and mid-spring (depending on where you live) when the weather hasn’t fully heated up yet. This gives the plant the best chance to recover from the shock of being cut in half. Well come, wouldn’t you be a bit shocked? It’s also to do this regularly with plants that become quite large, for instance, with my oregano I do this every 4 or 5 years.

Now here’s the thing, it’s actually quite simple to do. It just requires a sharp spade or another chopping tool. You want to dig around the base and level the root ball out from its home. Place the plant onto a flat surface, like the lawn or patio and simple drive the spade down through the middle of the plant, dividing it in two. Obviously, if the plant is huge you might want to divide it into more sections than this, but just make sure each section has plenty of roots and shoots.

Now, this is important, that plant will start to suffer quite quickly from being out of its home and in the sun, so you want to work fast to make sure it doesn’t start to dry out. Replant quickly if you can or at least keep those roots moist until you are able to replant or pot up. And remember, once you have replanted or potted up, water thoroughly.

Told you it was simple, didn’t I? I gave my herb bed a good tidy this week and I’ve divided my oregano to make it a more manageable plant size, but I also divided some sage and gave that away to some neighbours with the extra oregano plants (I have just made) and I moved my thyme too. We don’t use it but it is a lovely little plant when it flowers and it smells gorgeous, so I just moved that to the rockery and the sitooterie where we can continue to enjoy it as a decorative plant.

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