An easy and inexpensive way to expand your houseplant collection is by dividing them. Whether you want to keep them for yourself or share them with others you want to be sure you perform this task at the right time of year and to it in the correct way. There are different ways to do this and every gardener probably has their own little special tip which you can share on our Facebook page‎.  But if you follow my suggestions ou’ll have more houseplants in no time.

Dividing houseplants at the right time ensures the best chance of successfully multiplying your plants. It is best to divide the plant either before or after the growing season. Dividing a plant during the growing season interrupts its normal life cycle and while it is not impossible to divide the plant at this time, it does more harm to the plant than if the division occurs outside of the growing cycle. I almost always divide my houseplants in early spring to allow the new plant a growing season to get established as well as the divided plant time to recover.

I cut back on watering a few days before I perform the division. This drying out allows the plant to be removed from its pot a little easier as well as sometimes helping in the separating of the plant into smaller pieces. I get the new pots and potting soil ready by ensuring that the new pots have proper drainage holes in the bottom and that the potting soil is appropriate for the plant that I am dividing. It is possible to recycle the current pot by removing all traces of the soil and then cleaning the pot with a mixture of one part bleach to 9 parts water. I also rinse the recycled pot in insecticidal soap just to make sure any “critters” are not going to be a problem for the new occupant. If you are going to use a clay pot it is a good idea to soak the pot in water for a few hours before planting so that when you water the newly divided plant the water that is intended for the plant doesn’t get soaked up by the pot.

I usually lay down some newspaper to keep the area clean and remove the plant gently from the pot. A plant that is really pot bound may require that you slide a knife into the soil around the rim of the pot. Depending upon the plant you are dividing you can either gently pry the plant into sections or you may have to use a sharp knife to cut it into pieces. You should try to keep as much of the root system intact when doing this, but it is likely that you will have pieces that you need to discard. Prior to planting the newly divided plants you should line the bottom of the new pot with some pebbles or other such material to aid in the drainage and prevent soil from eroding out of the bottom of the pot.

You should fill the new pot up about halfway with soil and then put the divided plant into the pot. You can then gently pack the soil in around the plant until you are just below the rim Water the plant prior to putting a little more soil in if there is any settling of the soil after watering. I usually keep the newly potted plants out of direct light and watch them for 7 to 10 days until they get established, at which time you can move them to their permanent location. Now that you know all about dividing houseplants, go forth and multiply!

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