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How to divide herb plants

How to divide herb plants

Dividing or splitting perennial herbs is a simple method of propagation and/or rejuvenation. Sometimes, the plants get too large for an area and begin to take over or you want to populate another area with a certain herb. This is when herb plant division comes into play. How do you know when and how to divide perennial herbs though?

When to Divide Herbs

Herbaceous plants should be lifted and divided between the early autumn and midspring, depending on weather conditions. This means that in areas where the weather is mild in the fall, divide the herbs. In colder regions, herb plant division should occur in the spring when the roots are still slumbering.

To keep herbs at their peak, they should be divided every two to four years.

How to Divide Perennial Herbs

Herbs that do well propagated via root division include:

  • Bergamot
  • Chamomile
  • Chives
  • Horehound
  • Lovage
  • Mint
  • Oregano
  • Sweet woodruff
  • Tarragon
  • Thyme
  • Sage

Dividing perennial herbs is simply done with a garden fork or shovel and a sharp knife. Just dig around the base of the plant and lever the root ball out from the soil. Grasp the clump and divide it with the sharp knife. Depending upon the size of the original plant, you may cut it in half, making two plants or multiple plants if the root ball is huge. Be sure that each divided section has roots and shoots.

For herbs like chives and lemongrass, divide by gently pulling them apart. For herbs that produce runners like mint and catnip, dig up new plants and transplant them.

Replant the divided sections immediately if possible. If not, keep the roots of the new transplants moist and out of the direct sun until you can plant them. Be sure to water in the newly transplanted divided herbs immediately after planting.

How to divide herb plants

Once a common sight on the spice rack, lovage is an undervalued old-fashioned perennial herb. Lovage leaves can be used fresh in salads or stews; their taste is described as a cross between celery and parsley. The leaves and seeds are also dried and ground for use as a spice. Besides its culinary uses, lovage has been used as a medicinal herb to treat kidney stones, breathing problems, allergies, acne, and joint and muscle pain. Trying lovage in the herb garden may be as simple as asking a friend for a lovage plant division. Read on to learn how to divide lovage plants.

Dividing Lovage Plants

Lovage is a perennial herb in zones 3-9. The plants can grow 3-6 feet (1 to 2 m.) tall and may form large colonies as they naturalize in a location. Because of this, many gardeners consider lovage be too large and invasive for the average herb garden. However, splitting lovage herbs every 2-3 years can help keep them and their size under control.

With age, lovage can lose its flavor and potency. Dividing lovage plants helps retain the flavor and herbal properties. While its leaves and seeds are used for seasoning, lovage roots are used for herbal remedies too. All parts of the herb lovage are rich in vitamin C and vitamin B complex, but fresh young roots hold the highest concentrates of the plant’s herbal benefits. Lovage roots can be harvested and divided annually.

How to Divide Lovage Herb Plants

Lovage plants have large, vigorous root systems with long, thick taproots. In late fall or early spring, these roots can be dug up to harvest and divide. In spring, dig up plants before they leaf out. When dividing in fall, cut back any remaining stems.

With a spade, cut a circle around the plant. Then the plant can be gently lifted out with a garden fork. Remove all excess dirt from the roots, and pull them apart. Harvest roots for herbal use, if desired, and then plant the divisions as you would any other plant.

Water divisions thoroughly and regularly for the first few weeks. An initial watering with a rooting fertilizer can help the lovage plant divisions settle into their new location.

From root division techniques to tips for rooting out cuttings, professional gardeners share their advice.

Not only are herbs low-maintenance plants you can grow—and eat—at home, certain types are easy to propagate, too. “Propagating is the process of growing multiple plants from one single plant,” says horticulturist Daniel Cunningham of Rooted In. “Most people have propagated plants by saving and/or planting seeds, but you might not know that most plants can be propagated by taking a cutting from a ‘mother’ plant.”

While short-lived annual and biannual herbs such as dill, cilantro, parsley, chervil, salad burnet, fennel, and calendula are easy to grow from seed directly sown in containers or into a garden bed, Susan Betz, author of Herbal Houseplants ($24.99, amazon.com), says cuttings are a reliable way to propagate unusual varieties that have been developed through hybridization or mutation. “Plants reproduced this way are identical to the parent,” she explains. “Cuttings can be taken from the leaves, shoots, or roots of a parent plant.”

Interested in learning more about the different ways you can propagate herbs at home? Our experts share their advice for seamless propagation.

Divide the roots of perennial herb plants.

According to Sue Goetz, author of Complete Container Herb Gardening ($18.99, amazon.com), most herbs with fleshy, clump-forming roots are easy to propagate by division. “Simply break a mature, healthy plant into parts without damaging the roots or base to create smaller, individual plants,” she explains. “The best candidates are perennial herbs that die back and go dormant in the winter, such as bee balm, mint, lemon balm, and chives.”

For the best results, Betz recommends using the root division method to propagate plants in the springtime. “This way, newly separated plants will have ample time to establish a solid root system and healthy foliage over summer,” she explains.

Cut off a small piece of an existing plant.

Betz says snipping off a piece of a parent plant, and putting it into soil or water to grow roots, is one of the easiest ways to propagate new herbs. “Look for tender growth with three or more nodes (the place where new leaves emerge on the stems),” she advises. “Your cutting is best as a two-to-six-inch piece of stem that includes a terminal bud (the bud at the very end of the stem).”

Propagate an herb cutting in a glass of water.

Before you can plant and propagate an herb cutting in soil, Goetz says it has to grow roots. “You can root some herbs, especially moisture-loving ones such as those in the mint family, in water,” she says. To root herbs including basil, mint, lemon balm, lemon verbena, and pineapple sage in water, Christopher Landercasper, director of farming operations for the Sonoma’s Best Hospitality Group, says to cut a six-inch branch that has not yet flowered from your ‘mother plant,’ and place it into a glass with about two inches of clean water. “Place it on a window sill and after one-to-four weeks, you should start to see root development,” he says. “At that point, you can plant it in soil.”

Propagate drought-tolerant herb cuttings, like rosemary, in a growing medium.

Many drought-tolerant Mediterranean herbs like rosemary, oregano, thyme, and lavender can be propagated in potting soil. “Instead of placing a cutting in water, you simply poke it into a potting medium to allow the roots to grow,” Cunningham says. If you have difficulty rooting certain herbs, or if you want to speed up the propagation process, Betz says you can dip the bottom of the cutting’s stem in rooting hormone, before gently inserting it into a container filled with moist potting soil. “Keep the cutting watered well and do not move it from the container until the new roots measure at least one-fourth to a half-an-inch long,” she advises. “When roots have formed, cuttings take on a fresh green appearance.”

Harden off your new herbs before transplanting outside.

If you plan on moving your newly propagated herbs to an outdoor area, Goetz says they need to be hardened off first. “Hardening off allows new plants to gradually get used to sun and wind exposure, so they can withstand an outside environment.” To harden off young herbs before planting them outdoors, Goetz says to take them outside during the warmth of the day and place them in a partially shaded area. “Bring them back indoors at night to protect them from a dip in nighttime temperatures,” she advises. “Switch to a sunnier spot after a few days, and continue this indoor-outdoor routine every day for at least a week before planting in the garden or containers.”

Divide chives plants every 3 years (or so).

Dividing your chives plants periodically will:

Freshen the plant, for optimal plant health.
keep the chives plants to a manageable size.
Give you extra plants to place around the garden or give to friends.
Dividing chives works best in either the early fall, or early spring. This gives the plant time to rebuild its root structure.

(As you can probably tell from the natural lighting, these photos of dividing chives were taken in the fall.)

Step 1.
Trim the chives, leaving around 3″ of leaves on the plant. (If harvesting in the fall, this is the last harvest before winter.)

Step 2: Dig a wide circle, about 8″ out from the plant, circling the plant, loosening the soil as you go

Step 3: Use the shovel to gently lift the plant, roots and all.

Step 4: Very gently shake the dirt from the roots. (Sometimes I’ll just roll the plant back and forth to dislodge the dirt in the roots.)

Step 5: Divide the plant. Use a shovel, trowel, or similar tool to split the plant in the middle (working from the top (green side) down toward the roots). Gently pull the separate clumps of plants/roots apart, little by little, until the two clumps are fully divided.

Step 6: Place one of the divided chives plants back where it came from (if desired), and replant the new one elsewhere (or else pot it to give away).

Step 8: Fertilize by adding some compost for the roots. (This is vermicompost I’m using here.)

Step 9: Fill in the remainder with the garden soil & water well.

For flavour and freshness home-grown herbs are unbeatable. Sowing and harvesting herbs such as coriander, chervil dill, parsley and basil regularly, adds freshness and vibrancy to your cooking and cuts food miles to zero. Propagating your own herbs is a satisfying way of avoiding the high prices of supermarket bunched or container-grown herbs.

Quick facts

Jump to

  • Suitable for.
  • When to propagate herbs
  • How to propagate herbs
  • How to mound layer herbs
  • Problems

Suitable for.

When to propagate herbs

The best time to bulk up herbs depends on the growing habit and life cycle of the individual herbs.

  • Sow seeds of annual and biennial herbs such basil, coriander, dill and parsley in spring and throughout the growing season at three week intervals until August
  • Take cuttings of shrubby herbs such as hyssop, rosemary, sage, thyme in late spring
  • Divide hardy herbs such as sweet marjoram, Oregano, Mint (Mentha) and thyme in spring or after flowering in late summer
  • Take root cuttings of mint in spring

How to propagate herbs

Here is a guide to propagating some of the commonly-grown herbs.

Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

  • Sow seeds of basil indoors on a sunny window sill or in a propagator in a greenhouse
  • After May, you can sow basil direct into garden soil. As soon as the seeds have germinated, sow more to keep supplies constant. However, one sowing is usually sufficient for a summer’s supplies

Bay (Laurus nobilis) AGM

  • The easiest method is to take semi-ripe cuttings in late summer or early autumn
  • Dividing suckers in spring is also possible, as is simple layering

Caraway (Carum carvi)

  • Sow seeds in early autumn or spring in modules or pots or directly into the soil in drills. Thin seedlings to 20cm (8in)

Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium)

  • Sow seeds outside in early to late spring, once the soil has reached a temperature of 10°C (50°F)

Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)

  • Sow 10-15 seeds per 3cm (1¼in) module in spring in a propagator with bottom heat of 18°C (64°F)
  • Divide bulb clumps in spring or autumn

Coriander (Coriandum sativum)

  • Coriander can be sown in late spring directly into garden. As soon as the seeds have germinated, sow more to keep supplies constant. Sometimes coriander self sows and will appear the following year

Dill (Anethum graveolens)

  • Sow seeds outdoors, shallowly in poor soil in early spring or outdoors in late spring. Thin seedlings to 20cm (8in) apart. Repeat sowing every three weeks ensures constant supplies

Marjoram (Origanum vulgare)

  • Take softwood cuttings in summer
  • Divide in spring
  • Sow seeds thinly on the surface of the compost in spring

Mint (Mentha spp.)

  • Take softwood cuttings in summer
  • Rhizome cuttings can be taken in spring. Plant the runners 5cm (2in) deep and 15-22.5cm (6-9in) apart
  • Divide in spring

Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)

  • Sow seeds in early spring with a bottom heat of 18°C (64°F) or in late spring 0.5cm (¼in) deep in rich soil. Use fresh seed. Germination is slow. A second and third sowing in late spring and late summer ensure supplies for summer and autumn

Rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus)

  • Take semi-ripe cuttings in late summer or heel cuttings in spring
  • Rosemary can be layered or mound-layered in summer

Sage (Salvia officinalis)

  • Take heel cuttings or 15cm (6in) softwood cuttings in early summer
  • Simple layering after flowering is successful as is mound layering in spring
  • Sow seeds in spring and cover them with perlite. It is useful to provide a bottom heat of 15°C (59°F)

French tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus)

  • Tarragon can sometimes, with great difficulty, be propagated by taking softwood cuttings in summer
  • Underground runners are produced from which root cuttings can be taken in spring after frosts
  • Divide mature plants every two to three years in spring

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

  • Take softwood cuttings 5-7.5cm (2-3in) long in late spring or summer
  • New plants can be produced by simple layering in early autumn or mound layering in spring
  • Sow seeds indoors in mid-spring
  • As thyme quickly becomes woody, plants are best replaced every two or three years

How to mound layer herbs

This is a useful method of propagation for plants that have become woody. Lavender, sage and thyme are particularly prone to being short-lived and can be rejuvenated following this method;

  1. In spring, make a mix of equal parts peat-free compost and sand
  2. Mound the mixture over the plant so that you can still see the tips of the shoots and keep it watered
  3. Replace any soil that may be washed away by rain
  4. Roots should have formed along the stems by late summer. These rooted layers can be detached and potted up or planted out as for simple layers
  5. The old plant can then be disposed of

Problems

Herbs are usually trouble-free plants, but there are a few pests and diseases that may cause problems;

Damping off can occur in growing environments that are badly ventilated or humid. Mint rust can affect marjoram and savory as well as mint species.

Rosemary beetle can be a problem on lavender, sage and thyme as well as rosemary. Sage leafhopper is also responsible for causing fine, yellow flecking on the foliage of many aromatic plants including sage, mints, lavender, bergamot, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, basil, thyme and lemon balm. Only treatments suitable for edible plants (as described on the label) should be used.

How to divide herb plants

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How to divide herb plants

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is a flowering perennial that is native to much of Europe and Asia. The word’s origins come from the Latin verb valere which means “to be strong and healthy”, and one of its common names is “all-heal.”

The valerian root is used in many medicinal applications and it is known to be an effective sleep aid. It can grow up to five feet tall, and when in bloom, the top of the plant is covered with small pale pink or white flowers. There is a plant known as red valerian (Centranthus ruber) that resembles it but is not related. Red valerian flowers are a much deeper pink color.

These flowers have a sweet scent that is reminiscent of vanilla and cloves and they’re attractive to pollinators due to their abundant nectar. Valerian attracts many species of flies (including hoverflies) and are a major food source for many species of butterfly. Cats also appreciate the smell of the plant, almost more than they do with catnip.

Valerian’s healing properties have been recorded since the days of Galen and Hippocrates. Herbalist Nicolas Culpeper recommended it as a preventive for the plague in the 17th century. The root has been used for curing insomnia, coughs, menstrual cramps, and muscular pain, and the leaves are used for making a poultice for bruises.

Today most people use it to help promote sleep or relaxation. It can be made into a tea or infusion or taken in capsule form. Some prefer capsules because the tea has a pungent odor and astringent taste that can be unpleasant. Though clinical studies have not proven its effectiveness, many people swear by valerian as a sleep and relaxation aid.

Valerian makes a good companion plant alongside echinacea, hummingbird mint, catnip, and dill. You can also cut the flower stalks for vases as they’re very decorative and fragrant and make a nice addition to bouquets.

Scientific Name Valeriana officinalis
Common Name Valerian, all-heal, garden heliotrope
Plant Type Perennial
Mature Size 3 to 5 feet tall
Sun Exposure Full sun to partial shade
Soil Type Average, well-drained, loam
Soil pH Tolerant of most soils
Bloom Time Early summer
Flower Color White, pale pink
Hardiness Zones USDA 3 to 9
Native Areas Europe, Asia

Valerian Care

Providing your valerian plant gets sufficient moisture, they are a fairly hardy species that can survive in a variety of temperatures.

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 The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

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The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Light

Valerian is not super-sensitive to bright sunlight and can cope in a full sun position. Selecting somewhere where it has access to afternoon sun in a partial sun situation, however, will help it thrive.

Valerian will grow in most soil types and textures as long as there is good drainage, but it prefers a sandy loam. It tends to grow wild in grasslands and meadows. Clay soils may not have the drainage necessary to keep the plants consistently moist, so adding compost will help.

Water

Valerian needs a consistent amount of light moisture to thrive.

Temperature and Humidity

Valerian is very cold hardy and will survive harsh winter conditions. The plants die back in winter and emerge again in spring.

Fertilizer

To prevent the roots of your valerian plants from becoming excessively large it is best to avoid a standard NPK fertilizer and opt for one that is rich in nitrogen.

Harvesting

The best times to harvest the roots of your valerian plant is either in spring or fall as that’s when the beneficial compounds are at their peak. After harvesting the roots, wash them well and then spread or hang them to dry in a warm place. A low oven (100 degrees) works fine, as does a sunny window ledge in warm weather.

Be warned that the roots do have a strong smell while drying, so you may want to open some windows. Once dried, store the roots in an airtight container out of direct sunlight.

You’ll want to wait to start harvesting the roots until autumn of the second year.

Pruning

This plant has a tendency to reseed itself and spread, so trimming the spent flowers before they go to seed will help prevent it from becoming invasive.

Propagating Valerian

Healthy established plants can be divided at the roots to produce new specimens in your garden. Any division should be done earlier rather than later to ensure the new roots of the dividing plants have time to embed before the winter arrives.

Growing Valerian From Seed

Valerian is easily grown from seed by direct sowing in the garden after all danger of frost has passed. Plant between 3/8 and 1/2 inch deep. The clumps will eventually increase to about 18 inches wide. It takes two to three weeks to germinate.

How to divide and re-pot onions and herbs Take some green onions from your garden and bring them inside. If there are any dead or dry leaves on the onions that you bring in clean them up so that you have nice clean onions. Herbs are also good to grow inside during the winter also. Parsley, oregano, chives, and basil are all good herbs to grow in pots in the window. You can reuse some small pots that you have around the house. If you don’t have enough pots you can also use Styrofoam cups. If the plants are bulbs it’s good to put them in the pot and then put the soil in so that you can pull them through the loose soil and straighten out the roots. The other plants you can put the soil in the pots first and then put the plants down in the fresh soil. Don’t put too many plants in the small pots. 2-3 plants in the larger small pots and 2 plants in the smaller pots should be good so that the plants have enough room to root. Herbs and onions do good inside and deal with the cooler temperature up against a window in winter. After you put the plants in the pots add a little water to get them started off on the right foot. A window seal in the a western window or southwestern window is perfect for growing these plants. If all you have is a north window then you might want to add some florescent light to help them grow. Enjoy your winter garden.

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How to divide herb plants

By Juliet Blankespoor, Herbalist, Teacher, Gardener, Writer and Botanical Photographer

Following is adapted, with permission, from the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine’s 1,000-hour Herbal Immersion Program. The program is the most comprehensive handcrafted online herbal course available. Learn more at Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine..

How to divide herb plantsAs a gardener, you’ve undoubtedly bought many plants to populate your garden, but you can’t beat the satisfaction of propagating your own. Dividing roots is perhaps the easiest and least expensive way to quickly fill your garden with mature plants. In a nutshell, this involves digging up a plant and separating a portion of the root system, and then replanting the separated portions, or divisions. The daughter plants, or divisions, may be planted directly in the garden or potted in preparation for moving to a new location. Depending on the plant, it’s possible to make more than 20 divisions from just one mother plant.

When you propagate a plant by root division, the new plant will be an exact clone of the parent. This is how we maintain a specific set of desired traits, such as height, flower color, flavor, aroma, or any number of distinct qualities that allow for that plant to stand out from the rest of its species.

Most herbs can be divided through root division, especially plants that run or clump. I don’t recommend dividing plants with taproots or a single stem, as they typically won’t “take.”

How to divide herb plantsEarly fall and early spring are the best times to divide roots because plants are more dormant. In the fall, just make sure to divide your roots before too many hard freezes, as the cold can stress your divisions. You’ll want to divide roots when the ground isn’t too wet, as the soil will be clumpy and adhere to the root system, making it challenging to get to the roots and see what’s going on.

To start, its best to gather a digging fork, pruners, flat-ended shovel, and a Japanese digging knife, or hori-hori. The digging fork is especially helpful, as the tines minimally disturb the soil. The blade of a Japanese digging knife has a sharp or serrated side to saw through difficult roots. Finally, some roots are just so tough that you’ll need to jump on a flat-ended shovel to sever them.

Step-by-Step Guide to Root Division

  1. Dig the plant. Choose a vigorous, large plant that can withstand some stress. Use a digging fork or shovel to loosen soil in a circle around the plant. Gently pry plant from soil, excavating side roots if needed.
  1. Remove excess soil. Shake away just enough soil to see what you’re working with. You may need to thump the root system in its hole to dislodge soil clumps. Be careful, as removing all the soil will damage the tender microscopic root hairs.
  1. Size up the root system. Determine how many buds or shoots the root system has and decide how many cuts to make, yielding a few large divisions or many small divisions. Each plant is truly unique in how small of a division will actually survive. Be certain to have at least one shoot or bud per division and a large enough root system to support it.

How to divide herb plants

  1. Make divisions. Using one of the tools mentioned above, divide your roots. For roots that are growing loosely, pry apart divisions with your hands. Denser root systems may require sawing into segments with a hori-hori. And tough root systems require a shovel.
  1. Trim the tops. This is the most important step in successful root division. When you disturb the root system, the plant can no longer support the original aboveground vegetation. If the plant is dormant, you can skip this step. If your plant is an herbaceous perennial that is already dying back for the winter, you can completely cut back the aboveground growth. If the plant is actively growing with many stems, cut the stems back by half. If it just has emerging leaves, remove half the leaves. If you’re replanting the mother plant, make sure to cut back its growth as well.

How to divide herb plants

  1. Transplant into the garden or pots. Transplant “divisionlings” into their forever home in the garden or pot them. Make sure to plant at the same soil depth they were originally growing. Potted divisions can be grown until their root system is established and has filled up the pot, and then they can be transplanted or shared with a friend.
  1. Water. Water your divisions with fresh water or prepare a solution from willow or seaweed that encourages rooting.
  1. Enjoy.

How to divide herb plantsThe Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine is located in the botanically rich Appalachian Mountains, outside of Asheville, NC. Their passion for healing plants, herbal education, and medicinal gardening is at the heart of all their teachings. Their online courses: the Herbal Medicine Making Course, the Herbal Immersion Program, and the Foraging Course (launching in early 2018).

Juliet Blankespoor is the botanical mastermind behind the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine, which she founded in 2007 after deciding to become a professional plant-human matchmaker. She has more than 25 years of herbal experience.

Written and Photographed by Juliet Blankespoor

How to divide herb plants

Planting meadowsweet divisions into pots


Division is the easiest form of vegetative propagation. It involves digging up and severing a portion of the root system of a plant, and replanting it. Depending on the plant species and age, one to twenty divisions may be made from one plant. In running plants, such as the mints ( Mentha spp .), partridgeberry ( Mitchella repens ) , gotu kola ( Centella asiatica ) , jiaogulan ( Gynostemma pentaphyllum ), Monarda spp., and Arnica chamissonis , one digs up the runners (stolons and rhizomes) and plants them in a new site or container. In clumping plants, such as elecampane ( Inula helenium ), valerian ( Valeriana officinalis ), Echinacea spp., motherwort ( Leonurus cardiaca ), meadowsweet ( Filipendula ulmaria ), boneset ( Eupatorium perfoliatum ), comfrey ( Symphytum spp. ), and culver’s root ( Veronicastrum virginicum ), one can thrust a shovel into the center of the clump and pry free the divisionling. I generally don’t have the heart for this method and prefer digging up the whole plant and getting a good look at its root system. I then divide the roots with a garden knife (hori-hori), shovel, or pruners and replant each section in it’s new garden spot. Each section contains either buds (when the plant is dormant) or leaves and shoots if the plant is actively growing and green. Take care to plant your divisionlings with the buds pointing up.

August 2021 Safety Update: Boneset and comfrey contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs), which can be harmful to the liver over time when ingested internally. Recent research shows that the PAs found in these plants (and other PA-containing plants) can be taken up by other plants when grown in close proximity or when comfrey is used in the garden as mulch or fertilizer. In light of this, we are recommending that comfrey should not be interplanted with herbs or food plants in the garden that will be ingested or used as mulch or fertilizer to err on the side of caution. However, mature compost that includes comfrey does not seem to contain PAs once it has been fully composted according to this study .

How to divide herb plants

How to divide herb plants


In the two images above, a clump of calamus (Acorus calamus) is divided. The image on the bottom shows three pieces that are ready to be transplanted to a new home in the garden.

Most people divide plants in the fall or spring when the plant is dormant and the temperatures are not too cold. I prefer to make divisions in the fall as there is generally less garden work than the springtime, and the roots may also grow when the plant is dormant. With my nursery, I have planted small roots from division in the fall and come spring, peeked into the pot and witnessed the growth of a larger root system, all taking place in the absence of photosynthesis! Early spring is also a fine time to divide plants. If you have a leafy active plant, cut back some of the growth as the inevitable damage to the root system will stress the plant with more leaves transpiring and losing moisture. Water in your divisionlings; seaweed tea will encourage root growth, which will increase their survival. Depending on the season, species, size of division, expertise, loving care in the transition to plant independence (watering, soil, etc.) you might have 70-100% survival.

Lucky for herbalists, early spring and fall are also the best times to harvest roots! If you’ve got your sights set on harvesting the roots of clump- or rhizome-forming medicinals, you can take part of the plant for medicine and replant the rest.

In the four images below, a clump of meadowsweet is dug up, and pulled apart into smaller pieces which are then ready for transplanting in the garden (or in our case, into nursery pots).

How to divide herb plants

How to divide herb plants

Replanting a meadowsweet divisionling


We replant our divisionlings in pots with our nursery. Consider hosting or attending a spring seed/plant swap; it’s a great way to get to know other plant folks, learn about new useful plants, and increase variety in the garden without purchasing plants.

How to divide herb plants

This article is an excerpt from a larger article on plant propagation .

Quick facts

Perennials grace our gardens year after year with their variety of brilliant colors and unique foliage forms.

After a few years in the garden, these perennials may start to produce smaller blooms, develop a ‘bald spot’ at the center of their crown, or require staking to prevent their stems from falling over. All of these are signs that it is time to divide.

Reduced plant performance may not be the only reason to divide perennials.

Why divide perennials?

How to divide herb plants

To rejuvenate the plant and stimulate new growth

Overcrowded plants compete for nutrients and water. Restricted airflow can lead to diseases.

Dividing the plants into smaller sections reduces this competition and stimulates new growth as well as more vigorous blooming.

To control the size of the plant

Since plants grow at varying rates, division may be used to keep plants that spread rapidly under control.

To increase the number of plants

Division is an easy and inexpensive way to increase the number of plants in your garden.

Guidelines for dividing perennials

How to divide herb plants

How to divide perennials

Dig up the parent plant using a spade or fork.

Gently lift the plant out of the ground and remove any loose dirt around the roots.

Separate the plant into smaller divisions by any of these methods:

Gently pull or tease the roots apart with your hands;

Cut them with a sharp knife or spade;

Or put two forks in the center of the clump, back to back, and pull the forks apart.

Each division should have three to five vigorous shoots and a healthy supply of roots.

Keep these divisions shaded and moist until they are replanted.

How to divide herb plants

When to divide

Divide when the plant is not flowering so it can focus all of its energy on regenerating root and leaf tissue.

How to divide herb plants

Divide fall blooming perennials in the spring because

  • New growth is emerging and it is easier to see what you are doing.
  • Smaller leaves and shoots will not suffer as much damage as full-grown leaves and stems.
  • Plants have stored up energy in their roots that will aid in their recovery.
  • Rain showers that generally come along with the early season are helpful.
  • Plants divided in spring have the entire growing season to recover before winter.

Divide spring and summer blooming perennials in the fall because

  • There is less gardening work to do in the fall compared with spring.
  • It is easy to locate the plants that need dividing.
  • Perennials with fleshy roots such as peonies (Paeoniaspp.), Oriental poppy (Papaver orientale) and Siberian iris (Iris siberica) are best divided in the fall.
  • When dividing plants in the fall, time it for four to six weeks before the ground freezes for the plants roots to become established. This is particularly important in colder, northern climates.

How to divide herb plants

Dividing specific perennials

Download the PDF or bookmark the Dividing perennials spreadsheet to find information specific to 125 common perennials.

The plants are listed in alphabetical order by common name. Their scientific names are given in italics.

You will find information on when to divide, how often to divide and other helpful tips.

DiSabato-Aust, Tracy. The Well-Tended Perennial Garden: Planting & Pruning Techniques. Timber Press, Portland, OR. 1998.

Heger, Mike, Lonnee, Debbie & Whitman, John. Growing Perennials in Cold Climates. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, MN. 2011.

Hudak, Joseph. Gardening with Perennials Month by Month. Timber Press, Portland OR. 1993.

Nau, Jim. Ball Perennial Manual: Propagation and Production. Ball Publishing, West Chicago, IL. 1996.

Still, Steven. Manual of Herbaceous Landscape Plants. Stipes Publishing Company, Champaign, IL. 1994.

Wood, Christopher. Encyclopedia of Perennials: A Gardener’s Guide. Facts on File, New York, NY. 1992.

Julie Weisenhorn, Extension educator and Molly Furgeson

In this blogpost I will illustrate how I am splitting and repotting a basil plant from the supermarket into several different basil plants.

Through splitting a basil plant into multiple smaller plants, I am trying to guarantee a constant source for harvesting one of my favourite herbs for cooking dishes.

Let me show you how to split and repot a basil plant, bought at the supermarket or grocery store, by demonstrating the different steps I recently took to get the job done.

1 – Getting everything ready :

the basil plant, the new plastic pots, my own potting mix and some extra cuttings I have been rooting.

How to divide herb plants

2 – Drilling holes in the bottom for good drainage:

This step is really important, because basil, like other herbs, hates to have its roots in really wet soil. The roots wil rot and the plant will die. The holes in the bottom will make sure that the water gets drained.

I use plastic soup pots, because this allows me to keep an eye on the moisture level inside the pot and also to watch the development of the root system.

How to divide herb plants

3 – The potting soil mix is ready

I will always use my favourite mix of potting soil. You can read all about it here: best soil for herbs – how to make your own potting mix

In this mix you can easily recognise the perlite.

How to divide herb plants

4 – The basil plant from the store

This is the pot of basil that I bought in the supermarket two weeks ago, I kept it on the window sill and in my growing spot with grow lights the last two weeks. I was especially paying attention not to overwater the plant.

How to divide herb plants

5 – Be careful for the root system

Hold the plant in one hand and carefully loosen the pot from the roots, and take it off. Try to keep the roots intact as much as possible.

How to divide herb plants

6 – Check the root system

The roots of the plant should have a light white color to indicate that they are healthy. Dark and moist roots often indicate that they are rotting. In that case drainage was not sufficient and the plant was overwatered. This root system is still young and looked quite healthy.

How to divide herb plants

7 – Decide where to split the roots

Splitting the roots isn’t really hard to do. Although you will always damage some roots, the trick is to pull open the root system with your fingers, paring the basil plant in smaller pieces. Always try to do as little damage to the roots as possible.

How to divide herb plants

8 – Splitting the roots

In this picture I was splitting the root system into two parts.

How to divide herb plants

And next I splitted each half a second time in two. Depending on the size of the basil plant and the number of separate plants you want, you can continue splitting the basil plant. In this example I stopped when I had four parts.

How to divide herb plants

9 – Preparing for repotting the basil plants

Each plastic pot is filled with the potting soil mix. Because the soil is really dry, I added a little bit of water to handle the soil easier. With a stick I made a planting hole in the potting mix, the spot where the parts of the basil plant will get planted in.

How to divide herb plants

10 – Replanting the basil plant

After placing the basil plant in the plant hole, add planting soil into the pot and around the stems of the plant just up to the right height.

How to divide herb plants

11 – Add water

The next step is to add water to the pot. I have put the pots in the sink filled with water so the pots are watered from below, and after a couple of minutes I add a small portion of water on the soil from above. While doing this I tried to avoid to get water on the leaves.

Bringing herbs indoors to grow and use all winter long is one of the best ways to keep the fresh taste of the garden alive and thriving during wintertime cooking.

Even better, potting up and bring your herbs indoors to grow is a great way to keep a little gardening in your life too! After all, why not get a bit more use from your garden and patio herbs beyond just the spring, summer and fall?

Best of all, it’s easy to do! In fact, most herbs, with only minimal care, can flourish indoors through the coldest months of winter.

Here is a quick tutorial on how to bring existing herbs indoors, along with a look at the indoor requirements of some of the more popular culinary herbs.

How To Bring Herbs Indoors For Winter

For indoor success with herbs, all that is needed is good soil, consistent watering, and a sunny window or room. Supply those three things, and the magic of wintertime gardening is a go.

To start, it’s important to select pots and containers that have adequate drainage. Over watering and soggy soil is always much more of a problem for herbs than not getting enough water.

In addition to good drainage, make sure your containers are small enough to fit on windowsills, or shelves and counters near windows that get plenty of sunlight. There is a wide selection of indoor herb pots on the market that make this task a breeze! Product Link : Herb Pot Set

How To Transplant Herbs To Bring Indoors

When transplanting existing plants from the landscape for potting up, select starts from your best plants. You will always have more success when beginning with healthy stock.

Whether choosing from in-ground or outdoor potted herbs, remove the entire plant and then slice a section of roots and foliage that will fill 50% of the space of the new container. This allows enough space in the soil for roots to grow all winter long.

Use a high quality potting soil when filling your new herb pots to ensure plenty of nutrients for the roots to take hold.

As for timing, be sure to transplant while temperatures are still warm enough to leave the pots outside for a few days to adjust. Bringing them indoors immediately can shock, injure, or even kill plants.

Because they will be receiving less light indoors, let the herbs slowly adjust after transplanting. Be sure to keep plants out of all-day sun while they acclimate. Covered porches or patios work well for this. After two weeks, plants will be ready to bring indoors for the winter.

Here is a look at some of the most popular herbs to grow indoors, along with specific care and re-potting instructions:

Chives

Chives are a perfect way to add a little zing to all sorts of culinary dishes – and they also happen to be one of the easiest herbs to bring indoors!

This delicious herb grows in clumps, and is simple to dig up and divide for transplanting. Once dug, divide into small 1 to 2-inch clumps for best results when transplanting indoors.

Chives are one herb that will suffer if watered too often. Place in a sunny window, and water only when the soil dries out completely.

Mint is one of the most prolific herb growers of all, and can easily be transplanted and grown indoors. In fact, it actually seems as though it takes talent to somehow not get mint to survive!

Simply dig up a small portion of roots from and existing plant, and pot it up. The roots will quickly develop, and before you know it, you will have a steady supply of mint all winter long.

Thyme

Thyme is a relatively low-maintenance herb, and can be grown easily by dividing stock from an existing plant.

It is best when dividing to take from the outer edges of an existing plant. These areas will be less woody, with roots that will more easily adapt to potting.

It is important to keep it watered well during it’s outside adjustment period. Once brought indoors, place in a southern facing sunny window for best results.

Oregano

Like thyme, oregano starts are easy to grow by simple division. It also has the added benefit indoors of helping to repel flies!

Start by digging up the outermost edges from existing plants. Shake off any excess soil around the root ball, and transplant using a high quality soil mix. Keep well watered for the first week after transplanting.

Rosemary

Rosemary can be one of the more difficult herbs to bring indoors. It requires a fair amount of sunshine, so place in the sunniest window available. A southern-facing window is your best bet.

To allow time for rosemary to adjust to indoor conditions, pot up early and bring into a partially shaded outdoor area. Potting up 4 to 6 weeks prior to bringing indoors will give them the best chance for success.

Porches or a covered patio will work well for keeping rosemary in limited light to prepare for indoor life. Rosemary does not tolerate wet soil well, so be stingy with watering. Especially once the plant is indoors for the winter.

Bringing Herbs Indoors – Seed Crops

Herbs To Grow Indoors With Seed

Some herbs are easier to grow directly from seed rather than by transplanting. Parsley, Basil and Cilantro all fall into the category of seed crops.

For best results, plant seeds in the early fall to allow time for pots to germinate outdoors. Then simply bring inside and place in a sunny window to keep the growing going!

For more information on how to bring herbs indoors, check out 4 Great Herbs to Grow Indoors on the blog.

This Is My Garden is a website dedicated to spreading the love and knowledge of gardening around the world. We publish two new garden articles each week. This article may contain affiliate links.

Quick facts

Perennials grace our gardens year after year with their variety of brilliant colors and unique foliage forms.

After a few years in the garden, these perennials may start to produce smaller blooms, develop a ‘bald spot’ at the center of their crown, or require staking to prevent their stems from falling over. All of these are signs that it is time to divide.

Reduced plant performance may not be the only reason to divide perennials.

Why divide perennials?

How to divide herb plants

To rejuvenate the plant and stimulate new growth

Overcrowded plants compete for nutrients and water. Restricted airflow can lead to diseases.

Dividing the plants into smaller sections reduces this competition and stimulates new growth as well as more vigorous blooming.

To control the size of the plant

Since plants grow at varying rates, division may be used to keep plants that spread rapidly under control.

To increase the number of plants

Division is an easy and inexpensive way to increase the number of plants in your garden.

Guidelines for dividing perennials

How to divide herb plants

How to divide perennials

Dig up the parent plant using a spade or fork.

Gently lift the plant out of the ground and remove any loose dirt around the roots.

Separate the plant into smaller divisions by any of these methods:

Gently pull or tease the roots apart with your hands;

Cut them with a sharp knife or spade;

Or put two forks in the center of the clump, back to back, and pull the forks apart.

Each division should have three to five vigorous shoots and a healthy supply of roots.

Keep these divisions shaded and moist until they are replanted.

How to divide herb plants

When to divide

Divide when the plant is not flowering so it can focus all of its energy on regenerating root and leaf tissue.

How to divide herb plants

Divide fall blooming perennials in the spring because

  • New growth is emerging and it is easier to see what you are doing.
  • Smaller leaves and shoots will not suffer as much damage as full-grown leaves and stems.
  • Plants have stored up energy in their roots that will aid in their recovery.
  • Rain showers that generally come along with the early season are helpful.
  • Plants divided in spring have the entire growing season to recover before winter.

Divide spring and summer blooming perennials in the fall because

  • There is less gardening work to do in the fall compared with spring.
  • It is easy to locate the plants that need dividing.
  • Perennials with fleshy roots such as peonies (Paeoniaspp.), Oriental poppy (Papaver orientale) and Siberian iris (Iris siberica) are best divided in the fall.
  • When dividing plants in the fall, time it for four to six weeks before the ground freezes for the plants roots to become established. This is particularly important in colder, northern climates.

How to divide herb plants

Dividing specific perennials

Download the PDF or bookmark the Dividing perennials spreadsheet to find information specific to 125 common perennials.

The plants are listed in alphabetical order by common name. Their scientific names are given in italics.

You will find information on when to divide, how often to divide and other helpful tips.

DiSabato-Aust, Tracy. The Well-Tended Perennial Garden: Planting & Pruning Techniques. Timber Press, Portland, OR. 1998.

Heger, Mike, Lonnee, Debbie & Whitman, John. Growing Perennials in Cold Climates. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, MN. 2011.

Hudak, Joseph. Gardening with Perennials Month by Month. Timber Press, Portland OR. 1993.

Nau, Jim. Ball Perennial Manual: Propagation and Production. Ball Publishing, West Chicago, IL. 1996.

Still, Steven. Manual of Herbaceous Landscape Plants. Stipes Publishing Company, Champaign, IL. 1994.

Wood, Christopher. Encyclopedia of Perennials: A Gardener’s Guide. Facts on File, New York, NY. 1992.

Julie Weisenhorn, Extension educator and Molly Furgeson

Bringing herbs indoors to grow and use all winter long is one of the best ways to keep the fresh taste of the garden alive and thriving during wintertime cooking.

Even better, potting up and bring your herbs indoors to grow is a great way to keep a little gardening in your life too! After all, why not get a bit more use from your garden and patio herbs beyond just the spring, summer and fall?

Best of all, it’s easy to do! In fact, most herbs, with only minimal care, can flourish indoors through the coldest months of winter.

Here is a quick tutorial on how to bring existing herbs indoors, along with a look at the indoor requirements of some of the more popular culinary herbs.

How To Bring Herbs Indoors For Winter

For indoor success with herbs, all that is needed is good soil, consistent watering, and a sunny window or room. Supply those three things, and the magic of wintertime gardening is a go.

To start, it’s important to select pots and containers that have adequate drainage. Over watering and soggy soil is always much more of a problem for herbs than not getting enough water.

In addition to good drainage, make sure your containers are small enough to fit on windowsills, or shelves and counters near windows that get plenty of sunlight. There is a wide selection of indoor herb pots on the market that make this task a breeze! Product Link : Herb Pot Set

How To Transplant Herbs To Bring Indoors

When transplanting existing plants from the landscape for potting up, select starts from your best plants. You will always have more success when beginning with healthy stock.

Whether choosing from in-ground or outdoor potted herbs, remove the entire plant and then slice a section of roots and foliage that will fill 50% of the space of the new container. This allows enough space in the soil for roots to grow all winter long.

Use a high quality potting soil when filling your new herb pots to ensure plenty of nutrients for the roots to take hold.

As for timing, be sure to transplant while temperatures are still warm enough to leave the pots outside for a few days to adjust. Bringing them indoors immediately can shock, injure, or even kill plants.

Because they will be receiving less light indoors, let the herbs slowly adjust after transplanting. Be sure to keep plants out of all-day sun while they acclimate. Covered porches or patios work well for this. After two weeks, plants will be ready to bring indoors for the winter.

Here is a look at some of the most popular herbs to grow indoors, along with specific care and re-potting instructions:

Chives

Chives are a perfect way to add a little zing to all sorts of culinary dishes – and they also happen to be one of the easiest herbs to bring indoors!

This delicious herb grows in clumps, and is simple to dig up and divide for transplanting. Once dug, divide into small 1 to 2-inch clumps for best results when transplanting indoors.

Chives are one herb that will suffer if watered too often. Place in a sunny window, and water only when the soil dries out completely.

Mint is one of the most prolific herb growers of all, and can easily be transplanted and grown indoors. In fact, it actually seems as though it takes talent to somehow not get mint to survive!

Simply dig up a small portion of roots from and existing plant, and pot it up. The roots will quickly develop, and before you know it, you will have a steady supply of mint all winter long.

Thyme

Thyme is a relatively low-maintenance herb, and can be grown easily by dividing stock from an existing plant.

It is best when dividing to take from the outer edges of an existing plant. These areas will be less woody, with roots that will more easily adapt to potting.

It is important to keep it watered well during it’s outside adjustment period. Once brought indoors, place in a southern facing sunny window for best results.

Oregano

Like thyme, oregano starts are easy to grow by simple division. It also has the added benefit indoors of helping to repel flies!

Start by digging up the outermost edges from existing plants. Shake off any excess soil around the root ball, and transplant using a high quality soil mix. Keep well watered for the first week after transplanting.

Rosemary

Rosemary can be one of the more difficult herbs to bring indoors. It requires a fair amount of sunshine, so place in the sunniest window available. A southern-facing window is your best bet.

To allow time for rosemary to adjust to indoor conditions, pot up early and bring into a partially shaded outdoor area. Potting up 4 to 6 weeks prior to bringing indoors will give them the best chance for success.

Porches or a covered patio will work well for keeping rosemary in limited light to prepare for indoor life. Rosemary does not tolerate wet soil well, so be stingy with watering. Especially once the plant is indoors for the winter.

Bringing Herbs Indoors – Seed Crops

Herbs To Grow Indoors With Seed

Some herbs are easier to grow directly from seed rather than by transplanting. Parsley, Basil and Cilantro all fall into the category of seed crops.

For best results, plant seeds in the early fall to allow time for pots to germinate outdoors. Then simply bring inside and place in a sunny window to keep the growing going!

For more information on how to bring herbs indoors, check out 4 Great Herbs to Grow Indoors on the blog.

This Is My Garden is a website dedicated to spreading the love and knowledge of gardening around the world. We publish two new garden articles each week. This article may contain affiliate links.

How to divide herb plants

How to divide herb plants

Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.

SERIES 22 | Episode 33

Herbs are some of the easiest and durable plants to grow and there’s no reason why gardeners can’t propagate their own.

Division

Clumping and running herbs include all the mints, such as chocolate mint, oregano, chives and thyme.

  • Lift the plant out of the garden with a spade
  • Take a little clump off the edge of the parent plant
  • Pot it up. A plant in a 15 cm pot should give you up to 20 new plants

Angus pots up running herbs because many of them can be quite invasive. A great tip is to put it into a pot on a hard surface – like pavers or concrete, because it can even escape through the drainage holes into the garden if you let it.

Stem cuttings

Angus prefers to propagate woody perennial herbs such as lavender, lemon verbena and lemon myrtle from stem cuttings and it’s a pretty straight forward process. He has been experimenting with long stem cuttings and has found that by having a much longer cutting (approx 15cm), you get a far more extensive root system to take up water and nutrients, which means your plant gets established much better.

Angus prepares lavender cuttings.

  • Cut a stem off the main bush, about15cm long off the main bush
  • Cut the piece just below a leaf node
  • Strip the foliage from the bottom of the cutting
  • Dip the cutting in some hormone gel to encourage better root formation
  • Finally Angus uses a dibber (or pencil) to make a hole for the cutting to go into. Don’t push the cutting in as you will damage it

Once the pot’s full of cuttings, give it a really good water in and put it in a nice sheltered spot where it’s out of full sun. If conditions are quite hot, you could put a plastic bag over the top to keep the humidity up and after a couple of months your plants will be ready to go into the garden.

Mound layering

Another plant that’s traditionally propagated by stem cuttings is rosemary, but Angus has found an even easier method called ‘mound layering.’ When you’re cutting the plant all the time for the kitchen, it develops multiple stems and if you mound up around that with either potting mix or well rotted sawdust, what happens is that at the base of the stems, roots start to develop, so it’s a bit like having a cutting, but it’s left on the plant.

You then remove the soil, snip off the cutting with its newly formed root system and you’ve got a new plant. Finally just take a bit of the foliage off to reduce the water stress on the cutting and then it’s ready to go into a new pot or straight out into the garden.

Growing from seed

Leafy annual herbs like coriander and basil are annuals that complete their whole life-cycle in a matter of months and are best grown from seed. You can do them from seedlings, but to avoid transplant shock, it’s far better just to plant them from seed straight into their final position in the garden. Just push them in a few millimetres and plant each seed about 5 centimetres apart and water them in.

So there you go – all these propagation methods are incredibly easy to do in the home garden and very satisfying. Before you know it, you’ll have fresh herbs for your kitchen table.

Transcript

ANGUS STEWART: Herbs are some of the easiest and toughest plants to grow and there’s no reason why gardeners can’t propagate their own. Today, I’m going to show you some really simple propagation methods for some of my favourite herbs.

Plants with either running or clumping root systems are best propagated by division, while woody perennials are most easily struck from stem cuttings and the leafy annual herbs – well, you just have to grow those from seed.

Let’s start with division. Clumping and running herbs include all the mints, such as this Chocolate Mint we’re going to divide today, Oregano, Chives and Thyme.

I’ve lifted this plant out of the garden with a spade and then it’s just a matter of taking a little clump off the edge of the parent and it’s ready to go. A plant this size will give me up to 20 new plants.

I’m going to put it into a pot because a lot of these herbs can be quite invasive. This Chinese Sage behind me is really running everywhere. A great tip is to put it into a pot on a hard surface – like pavers or some concrete, because it can even escape through the drainage holes into the garden if you let it. It’s then just a matter of watering it in.

The woody perennial herbs such as Lavender, Lemon Verbena and Lemon Myrtle, I prefer to propagate from stem cuttings and it’s a pretty straight forward process.

I’m preparing these Lavender cuttings and the first step is to decide how long you want the cutting to be and then cut just below a node. We next strip the foliage from the bottom of the cutting and you’ll notice I’m making the bottom quite long and that’s because I’m experimenting with a new technique that I call Long Stem Cuttings. Normally I probably would have made the cutting that long and put it in like that, but having a much longer cutting means you get a more extensive root system to take up water and nutrients which means your plant gets established much better.

The next step is to dip it in this hormone gel which encourages much better root formation and finally, into the pot. I’m dibbling a hole so that I don’t damage the cutting as I put it in. Once the pot’s full of cuttings, give it a really good water in and put it in a nice sheltered spot where it’s out of full sun. If conditions are quite hot, you could put a plastic bag over the top to keep the humidity up and after a couple of months, your plants will be ready to go into the garden.

Another plant that’s traditionally propagated by stem cuttings is Rosemary, but I’ve found an even easier method is a technique called ‘mound layering.’ When you’re cutting the plant all the time for the kitchen, it develops multiple stems and if you mound up around that with either potting mix or in this case well rotted sawdust, what happens is that at the base of the stems, roots start to develop, so it’s a bit like having a cutting, but it’s left on the plant. If you then just go in and snip that off, you’ve got a new plant and the final step is just to take a bit of that foliage off to reduce the water stress on the cutting and then it’s ready to go into a new pot or out into the garden.

For leafy annual herbs like Coriander and Basil – well they’re annuals that complete their whole life-cycle in a matter of months so the only feasible way to grow them is from seed. Now you can do them from seedlings, but to avoid transplant shock, it’s far better just to plant them from seed straight into their final position in the garden. Just push them in a few millimetres and plant each seed about 5 centimetres apart and then just water them in.

So there you go – all the propagation methods we’ve looked at today are incredibly easy to do in the home garden, very satisfying and before you know it, you’ll have fresh herbs for your kitchen table.

STEPHEN RYAN: And now to our design guru and the tale of two gardens. Here’s John.

How to divide herb plants

If you grow perennials in your garden, you’ll soon encounter the need to divide and transplant them. Perhaps they’re overgrown, or crowded, or you’d like to spread them around your garden, or share them with a friend. If done correctly, most perennials can be divided quite easily without harming the plant. Here’s how to go about it.

When to Divide Perennials

The best seasons for dividing and transplanting perennials are spring and fall. Spring is the ideal time to transplant fall-blooming perennials and ornamental grasses, while fall is best for spring blooming perennials. Allow the plants several months to become established before their bloom time, in order not to miss a season of color. They also need at least six weeks of growing time before a hard frost. Some gardeners divide right after what seems like the “peak” year for that particular plant.

How to divide herb plants
These daylilies are blooming poorly and crowding other plants.

Look for these warning signs, and divide your plants while they’re still healthy:

  • The plant is too large for the space or is crowding other plants.
  • Thinning in the center of the clump to a donut shape.
  • Fewer flowers, straggly-looking leaves, or weak growth.

Step 1: Get Ready

The day before you plan to divide your perennials, give them a good soaking with water to help them stock up and survive the shock of transplanting. If the plants are tall, you may want to cut them back a third to prevent breakage and help conserve energy.

Next, gather your tools. You will need:

  • Work gloves
  • Shovel or spade
  • Two pitchforks, or a clean sharp knife
  • Soil conditioner or compost
  • Wheelbarrow or tarp for transporting

How to divide herb plants
Spreading perennials can be divided without disturbing the parent plant.

Step 2: Dig ‘Em Up

How you divide perennials depends on the growing habits of the particular plant:

    Clumping Perennials: (daylilies, chrysanthemums, asters, hostas) These plants typically grow from one main crown. The crown gets larger and larger each year, and sometimes you’ll see offsets (baby plants) attached to it. These plants are easiest to divide if you dig them up completely, so you can separate and divide the crown.

How to divide herb plants

  • Spreading Perennials: (bee balm, phlox, leadwort, perennial vinca, gooseneck loosestrife) These plants grow by surface or underground roots, or by dropping seed. They look more like a grouping of individual plants, each with its own crown and root system. You can divide these plants simply by digging up the ones you want to move while leaving the rest alone.
  • Woody Perennials: (lavender, rosemary, candytuft, euonymus) These plants tend to have just one main stem or trunk, but they often spread when a stem touches the ground and takes root. You can sever and dig up the new plant without disturbing the original plant.
  • Taproot Perennials: (oriental poppies, balloon flowers, butterfly weed) These plants have one main, deep root. To divide them, you must dig up the plant and cut it so that each division has a piece of the taproot along with some growth buds.
  • Here’s where you have to be fearless by following these steps:

    How to divide herb plants

    1. Using a shovel or sharp spade, slice deep into the earth in a circle, at least 6” from the crown of the plant to severs the roots.
    2. Work your shovel underneath the clump, and pry it out of the ground. The root ball will be almost as big as the plant itself, and try to dig up as much of it as you can. Use a combination of prying and pulling to work the entire root ball loose without breaking the stems.
    3. Pull or carry the plant onto your wheelbarrow or tarp, so you don’t trample your other garden plants.

    Gardening Tip

    Ideally, you should move your perennials straight to their new spot and plant them right away. If this isn’t possible, put them in the shade and keep them sprinkled with water until you’re ready to plant.

    Step 3: Divide

    If your perennial is the clumping type, you now need to divide it. Pull or cut apart the crown into 3-4 chunks. Each chunk should have several stems and a nice clump of roots. Larger clumps will become established faster, and bloom sooner, than smaller ones. As a general guide, you can expect next year’s plant to be about as wide as the newly-divided root ball.

    How to divide herb plants

    For large plants, you can put two pitchforks through the middle, and pry the plant apart. I like to use my hands and a sharp knife to divide the clump, so I can have more control over the amount of roots going with each division. But for large, tough plants, I’ve even used an ax to chop it in two!

    Don’t be afraid to break some roots, but try to follow where the plant naturally seems to split—sometimes they’ll even fall into pieces on their own. Discard any diseased or broken pieces; only keep the healthiest parts of the plant.

    How to divide herb plants
    The thinned-out lilies will grow like gangbusters next spring.

    Step 4: Replant

    Now you’re ready to replant your perennials! After the trauma of digging and ripping apart your beloved plant, you can see how important it is to baby them in their new home. Follow these steps:

    1. Dig a hole as deep as, and a little wider than, the root ball.
    2. Mix in plenty of organic matter and sprinkle a source of phosphorus, such as bone meal or 0-19-0 fertilizer, in the hole to promote root growth.
    3. Place the division in the planting hole. Make sure the roots are spread out and down – you don’t want downward-growing roots to be turned upward in the hole, or sticking up out of the ground.
    4. Fill in around the plant with soil, tamping it gently down. Make sure the new plant is planted at the same depth as it was originally.
    5. Water the plant well, and feed regularly with a balanced organic fertilizer. Water about every other day for the first 2-3 weeks. I like to baby my transplants with a little extra water for the rest of the growing season, particularly if they’re planted in a spot that doesn’t receive regular water.
    6. Add mulch around the plants to insulate the roots and hold in moisture.

    Gardening Tip

    If your new plant has trouble standing up, trim it to make it less top-heavy, or add a support until it’s established.

    Newly divided perennials usually look pretty ugly until the next season, so focus on getting the roots properly settled and the crown nice and straight.

    How to divide herb plants

    How to divide herb plants

    (Natural News) Sugar isn’t exactly the best food to eat if you’re looking to be healthy. It raises your blood glucose levels and increases your risk of diabetes. Thankfully, natural sugar alternatives are great sweeteners that don’t do much damage to your health. Aztec sweet herb, stevia and sugar cane are some of the best sugar substitutes that you can grow in your home garden. (h/t to RoguePreparedness.com)

    How to grow Aztec sweet herb

    Aztec sweet herb (Lippa dulcis) is a perennial herb that is said to be 1,500 times sweeter than table sugar. It has tiny, sweet-smelling flowers and roots that taste like licorice. But more than just a natural sweetener, it is also a terrific natural remedy for respiratory ailments. In fact, the Aztecs used this sweet herb to treat coughs, colds and bronchitis.

    Aztec Sweet Herb happily grows in either a garden or a pot with a well-draining soil rich in organic matter and a bit of lime. If your area is a little wintry, plant it in a pot so so you can move it indoors, but be sure it gets adequate sunlight as it prefers the full sun. If you live in a hot climate, the plant will need some shade at noon for protection.

    How to grow stevia

    Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) is a sweet perennial herb known as one of the healthiest sugar substitutes. It is natural and calorie-free but 200 times sweeter than table sugar. Studies have also linked stevia to reduced calorie intake, lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels and a reduced risk of cavities.

    Stevia grows best in temperate to subtropical conditions. But you can also grow stevia in the tropics so long as you plant it in the cooler months. If you live in colder areas, you’ll need to bring the plant inside to protect it from the cold. Big piles of mulch can help keep it alive, as does a mini greenhouse made of bamboo sticks.

    The herb thrives in rich, loose, well-draining soil and doesn’t like drying out or wet feet. To keep soil conditions balanced, add mulch underneath. This would help keep the water where it’s needed and increase soil quality. You can use cuttings, seed or rhizome division to grow stevia.

    How to grow sugar cane

    Sugar cane (Saccharum officinarum) is a perennial grass cultivated for its juice. Sweet and syrupy, sugarcane juice is pressed from peeled sugar cane and processed to make cane sugar, brown sugar, molasses and jaggery. But sugarcane juice is not pure sugar. It comprises up to 75 percent water, up to 15 percent fiber and up to 15 sugar in the form of sucrose. In traditional Eastern medicine, it is commonly used to treat liver and kidney disease, among other conditions.

    Sugar cane is propagated mainly by the planting of cuttings. It grows best in an outdoor garden because it produces a number of stalks that reach 10 to 24 feet high. It thrives in tropical and subtropical climates and requires similar care to grass. If you’re planting during the winter, you can grow it in big pots and move it to a warmer position. Be sure it gets adequate sunlight and water it regularly. Take note that sugar cane is fast-growing, so you might need to harvest them twice a year.

    Keep pots of basil alive by planting the strongest plants into their own pots. Grow supermarket basil this way and you’ll have dozens of plants that will thrive all year long.

    I’m going to let you in on a little secret. The pots of herbs that you find at the supermarket are designed to die. It wasn’t your over or under watering that did it! Basil, coriander, and even the thyme aren’t meant to last more than a few weeks. It’s because each pot is seeded with dozens of plants rather than just one. There’s no space in that tiny pot for dozens of plants to live so they run out of nutrients and die. Feeling vindicated?

    There’s also another secret that I want to share with you. It’s easy to beat the system and keep supermarket basil alive. All you need to do is separate out the strongest plants, pot them on individually, and grow them on. I’m going to show you how.

    How to divide herb plants

    How to divide herb plants

    Pots of supermarket basil contain dozens of plants that need to be separated out

    Can you actually grow supermarket basil?

    Live herbs purchased from the supermarket are grown in very controlled conditions. They’re monitored from seed to shopping trolley to ensure optimum growth. Basically, they’re used to the good life but are grown in such dense plantings that the compost can’t sustain life for long.

    It’s not too late to save your basil though. If you separate out the best plants and grow them on you’ll have fresh basil all throughout the growing months. I’ve grown my basil this way for years and even some of the saddest looking plants rebound.

    How to divide herb plants

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    How to Split Supermarket Basil into Individual Plants

    • Materials needed:
    • 1 pot of Basil purchased from the supermarket
    • Rich potting compost – multipurpose will work
    • Small individual pots – toilet paper rolls are perfect
    • A warm window sill, greenhouse, or conservatory

    Step 1: Rip the Basil in Two

    Take the Basil out of the pot and gently pull the compost/root-ball into two pieces. I say gently but in reality you’re going to have to rip through some roots. Using a slow but firm action in this step helps minimize damage. Also try your hardest to not damage the stems of your plants. When you’re separating the plants try to handle the compost and roots and not the plants themselves.

    How to divide herb plants

    Step 2: Plant up the Healthiest

    Take up one half and have a look at the cross-section of plants. You’ll see that some plants are bigger and stronger than others and these are the ones that you want to target. Gently pull and tease these larger plants out and use the smaller ones for your next meal. Take each decent basil plant and tuck it up into its own pot. Make sure that it’s not planted any deeper in the compost than it was in the original pot.

    How to divide herb plants

    They look a bit sad don’t they? Don’t worry, they’ll perk up

    Step 3: Pinch out the Growing Tips

    Once all of your plants are potted up, pinch out the growing tips. This means to remove the top of the plant down to just above the last leaf node. That’s a place on the stem where leaves are growing from. This exercise is meant to remove all but a few leaves from the plant. Removing them will make the plant focus energy on developing a good root system.

    The best part of this step is that you can use all of those growing tips to make a nice pesto that very day. It also encourages a stronger and bushier plant.

    How to divide herb plants

    What the plants look like 20 days after potting them up

    Step 4: Water your plants well

    Now place the plants in a warm conservatory, window sill, or greenhouse and keep them well watered. Basil doesn’t like the cold or too dry so make sure to keep them cozy. Recovery time took 20 days from the day I potted them up to the day I started hardening them off.

    ‘Hardening off’ involves setting the plants outside in the day and then taking them back indoors at night. After a week of this, your plants should be accustomed to the outside temperature. This is an important step before planting them outside.

    That’s pretty much it as far as growing on the plants on to this stage. Just keep your plants keep it in full sun with moist roots. The more you pick those growing tips the more the plant will produce. Just one of these supermarket plants should keep you in basil for the rest of the summer. Not bad for a £1.25 investment. Watch the video below to see how it’s done. The volume is a little low on this video so turn up your dial to hear what’s going on.

    21 September, 2017

    Hyssop (Agastache) is a sturdy perennial that, once established, will thrive in poor soil, freezing weather and drought. At maturity, hyssop will measure 18 to 24 inches tall. The wiry stems will be covered with tiny, pungent green leaves and spiky purple blooms. Divide hyssop when it begins to outgrow its boundaries. Replant the hyssop in another area in your garden, or share the divided hyssop with friends.

    Divide hyssop in early spring when new growth is just beginning to emerge. The plant will be small, and will have plenty of stored up energy to get the division off to a good start. Divide hyssop in the morning on a cool, overcast day so the roots will have time to settle in their new home before the heat of the day.

    • Hyssop (Agastache) is a sturdy perennial that, once established, will thrive in poor soil, freezing weather and drought.
    • Divide hyssop in the morning on a cool, overcast day so the roots will have time to settle in their new home before the heat of the day.

    Use a shovel or a garden fork to dig a clump of hyssop. Dig an entire clump, or if the clump is large, use the point of a shovel to separate a smaller clump, leaving the main hyssop plant intact.

    Divide the hyssop into smaller sections, teasing the roots carefully apart with your fingers. Be sure each division is large enough to have several healthy roots.

    Plant the hyssop divisions in a sunny, well-drained spot in your garden. Use a trowel to dig a hole large enough to accommodate the hyssop’s root system. Plant the hyssop in the hole and tamp the soil down gently around the roots.

    • Use a shovel or a garden fork to dig a clump of hyssop.
    • Divide the hyssop into smaller sections, teasing the roots carefully apart with your fingers.

    Water the hyssop immediately after planting and keep the soil moist until you notice new growth, which indicates that the hyssop has taken root. After this time, water the hyssop during warm, dry weather, but don’t over-water. Hyssop won’t tolerate soggy soil.

    Newly divided hyssop can be planted in containers. Use a container with bottom drainage, and cover the drainage hole with a piece of broken pottery to keep the soil from washing through the hole. Fill the container with commercial potting mix, and plant the hyssop in the container. Place the container in a sunny location, and check the moisture daily as containerized plants dry out quickly.

    A ll you need is a small sunny area or a couple of pots and you can grow healthy, tasty herbs all year round

    A herb garden can be as large or as small as you need it to be. In fact, start small and let the garden grow as your own interest in herbs grows.

    1. START WITH A PLAN

    Decide on a theme. If you want a culinary herb garden, select those herbs used in your favourite dishes. A medicinal herb garden will be guided by the ailments you want to cure. Most culinary herbs have medicinal properties too. Browse the internet or visit herb sites like Healthy Living Herbs and Bouquet Garni.

    2. SELECT THE SITE

    The best place for herbs is a sheltered and sunny, north-, east- or west-facing position near the house for quick and easy picking. It should be reasonably level and drain well. Soil on the heavy side can be improved with compost. Alternatively, plant herbs as companions among your veggies and flowers or make a container herb garden if the soil is heavy clay.

    3. DECIDE ON A DESIGN

    Designing your herb garden is the fun part. Don’t be in a rush. Browse through herb books; listen to other people’s ideas. Steal with your eyes.

    Select a style that complements the rest of the garden and the look of your house. Formal herb gardens require straight lines and geometric shapes with elements arranged around a central axis. The area should be square or rectangular.

    Informal herb gardens have flowing lines with curved beds and walkways and the aesthetic effect depends on plant combinations and groupings. Flowers and shrubs can be added. Although the look is more exuberant, a good plan is still very important. An informal design usually needs less initial structural work and is easier to maintain.

    4. CHOOSE YOUR HERBS

    Make a complete list of all the herbs that’ll fit in with your theme. Then check with your local garden centre and refine your list to between five and 10 herbs. This is a good number to start with. It’s also a good idea to divide your herbs between annual and perennial and classify them according to height. Consult your design to make sure the heights conform to your concept.

    5. PREPARE THE SITE

    Clear and level the area and lay paving or pathways; put any other hard landscaping like fountains, birdbaths, arches and walls in place. Then prepare the ground for the herbs. Dig down to a depth of 30cm, mixing in compost and other organic material to condition the soil. Rake smooth, water and leave overnight for the ground to settle.

    6. SETTING OUT THE HERBS

    Before planting, set out the herbs in the positions you’d like to plant them. Space them according to their expected height and spread so they have enough room to reach their full potential. Doing this also lets you play with the design in terms of contrasting leaf colours and textures, growth habits and height. Often, what works on paper looks different in reality. Be prepared to spend some time moving the herbs around until you feel satisfied with the look.

    7. PLANTING

    Water the herbs well before planting and loosen the root balls to encourage new root growth. Pinch out the tips of shrubby herbs to encourage a bushy habit. Incorporate some organic soil conditioner or organic fertiliser, such as bone or fishmeal in each planting hole.

    Firm the soil gently around the plant and water thoroughly to settle the soil.

    Newly planted herbs need regular watering. It’s better to water deeply and less frequently than little and often.

    A ll you need is a small sunny area or a couple of pots and you can grow healthy, tasty herbs all year round

    A herb garden can be as large or as small as you need it to be. In fact, start small and let the garden grow as your own interest in herbs grows.

    1. START WITH A PLAN

    Decide on a theme. If you want a culinary herb garden, select those herbs used in your favourite dishes. A medicinal herb garden will be guided by the ailments you want to cure. Most culinary herbs have medicinal properties too. Browse the internet or visit herb sites like Healthy Living Herbs and Bouquet Garni.

    2. SELECT THE SITE

    The best place for herbs is a sheltered and sunny, north-, east- or west-facing position near the house for quick and easy picking. It should be reasonably level and drain well. Soil on the heavy side can be improved with compost. Alternatively, plant herbs as companions among your veggies and flowers or make a container herb garden if the soil is heavy clay.

    3. DECIDE ON A DESIGN

    Designing your herb garden is the fun part. Don’t be in a rush. Browse through herb books; listen to other people’s ideas. Steal with your eyes.

    Select a style that complements the rest of the garden and the look of your house. Formal herb gardens require straight lines and geometric shapes with elements arranged around a central axis. The area should be square or rectangular.

    Informal herb gardens have flowing lines with curved beds and walkways and the aesthetic effect depends on plant combinations and groupings. Flowers and shrubs can be added. Although the look is more exuberant, a good plan is still very important. An informal design usually needs less initial structural work and is easier to maintain.

    4. CHOOSE YOUR HERBS

    Make a complete list of all the herbs that’ll fit in with your theme. Then check with your local garden centre and refine your list to between five and 10 herbs. This is a good number to start with. It’s also a good idea to divide your herbs between annual and perennial and classify them according to height. Consult your design to make sure the heights conform to your concept.

    5. PREPARE THE SITE

    Clear and level the area and lay paving or pathways; put any other hard landscaping like fountains, birdbaths, arches and walls in place. Then prepare the ground for the herbs. Dig down to a depth of 30cm, mixing in compost and other organic material to condition the soil. Rake smooth, water and leave overnight for the ground to settle.

    6. SETTING OUT THE HERBS

    Before planting, set out the herbs in the positions you’d like to plant them. Space them according to their expected height and spread so they have enough room to reach their full potential. Doing this also lets you play with the design in terms of contrasting leaf colours and textures, growth habits and height. Often, what works on paper looks different in reality. Be prepared to spend some time moving the herbs around until you feel satisfied with the look.

    7. PLANTING

    Water the herbs well before planting and loosen the root balls to encourage new root growth. Pinch out the tips of shrubby herbs to encourage a bushy habit. Incorporate some organic soil conditioner or organic fertiliser, such as bone or fishmeal in each planting hole.

    Firm the soil gently around the plant and water thoroughly to settle the soil.

    Newly planted herbs need regular watering. It’s better to water deeply and less frequently than little and often.

    If you love the idea of herb garden that you can plant once and enjoy over and over again for years to come, then perennial herbs are for you! Here’s how to grow a perennial herb garden, and which herbs to choose.

    How to divide herb plants

    I realized last year that I really enjoyed watching the few perennial herbs that I had planted grow and spread out each year. The oregano in particular has really matured nicely and curves around the stepping stones that we have in the herb garden end of our veggie patch. I decided this year that I would convert the herb garden area to be completely dedicated to a perennial herb garden so I can really create something beautiful over the next few years as things fill in, without having to worry about leaving space for anything else. We’ve discovered that we prefer to grow annual herbs like cilantro and basil from seed anyway and we just put them in the rows with all of our other veggies. As you can see here, I have some areas that are filled in nicely, but still quite a bit of blank space to work with over the next few years.

    How to divide herb plants

    Growing a Perennial Herb Garden: Setting Up

    Like almost everything else in a veggie garden, most perennial herbs enjoy a spot in full sun, which usually means a spot that gets about six to eight ours of sunlight a day. There are some variegated types of perennial herbs that may like a little bit of protection from the sun for part of the day, so having a small tree or shrub in the area can help provide a bit of shade for part of the day, and add to the charming look of your garden too. 🙂

    We have a tree on one corner of our herb garden and it seems to be located in a spot where it’s able to provide a bit of shade while still leaving quite a few sunny hours in that spot. Of course, it’s only getting bigger, so we may have to re-asses the situation in a few years!

    Most perennial herbs are quite tough so they will withstand wind and cold exposure quite a bit better than most annual herbs, So no need to worry if you have a windy spot like we do!

    Overall you want your soil to be well-drained and it’s a good idea to amend the whole area with a bit of compost before you begin. I also throw a little in each hole I dig before I place a new plant in.

    Growing a Perennial Herb Garden: Which Plants to Choose

    How to divide herb plants

    This is where things can get a little confusing. Typically in a garden centre, all types of herbs, both perennial and annual, will be grouped together and their tags may not have any info on which type they are. Here are some of my favourite easy-to-grow perennial herbs to get you started!

    Oregano

    How to divide herb plants

    We planted some golden oregano quite a few years ago and it just gets more and more beautiful every year. It’s definitely a highlight of our spring garden. I had some in our last house too and it’s just one of those things that you can’t kill no matter how much you neglect it.

    Thyme

    How to divide herb plants

    Thyme is a great one because you can get some really beautiful varieties. It’s a great staple to have in the kitchen and its delicate leaves really look great next to the golden oregano, especially. Thyme also spreads quickly so it’s a great one if you’re looking to fill your herb garden in quickly and get it to the point where it looks well-established.

    Rosemary

    How to divide herb plants

    While rosemary is a perennial, it’s usually really only safe to leave it outside if you’re in zone 7 or higher-ish. We’re in zone 6 here and I haven’t had any luck yet with leaving it outside, even with a milder winter. I might be successful if I were to try wrapping it in burlap to protect it, but an even better solution is just to grow it in a pot, enjoy it in the herb garden for the summer, then bring it inside for the winter months.

    Chives

    How to divide herb plants

    I’ve mentioned my love of chives before. This is a great first herb to grow for anyone, especially kids because it comes up so early in the spring and it’s just so easy to grow. Chives just really make you feel like you know what you’re doing in the garden. 🙂

    How to divide herb plants

    Sage is another popular one in perennial herb gardens. This is my first time growing it so I’ll let you know what I think! Follow along with me on Instagram Stories and I’ll keep you up to date on how the garden’s doing throughout the season.

    How to divide herb plants

    Mint is a super useful herb to have growing in your garden because it comes in handy in so many different recipes. It’s often said that mint is very invasive so it’s a good idea to grow it in a pot rather than in your garden. Of course, we have a lot of space to fill so “invasive” plants are my favourite. 🙂 The problem is that I haven’t had the best luck growing mint. I have one pineapple mint plant that has spread well over the last few years, but the rest of the mint plants that I’ve planted in various places have all died on me. I’ll keep trying to figure it out though because I love the idea of a herb garden with a giant patch of mint!

    Cat Mint

    OK, this isn’t exactly a herb, but we grow cat mint in our herb garden and it’s a really fun one to grow if you have cats. I’ve had this for a couple of years and last year I split it. I’m not so sure how it’s doing this year because it seems a bit small so far, but I hope it comes back as big and fluffy as it was last year!

    Lavender

    How to divide herb plants

    Who doesn’t love lavender? It’s so pretty and it smells amazing so this is one plant that I think everyone should have in their perennial herb garden. I also have a potted lavender plant on my side porch that’s been trained/trimmed into a topiary. I can’t believe I’ve waited this long to plant some in my garden, but I’m really looking forward to seeing these plants grow and grow each year.

    These are just a few basics to get you started with your perennial herb garden, but there are so many more interesting varieties out there! Do you have a perennial herb garden? What do you grow in it?

    Learn how to grow mullein in your garden. Growing mullein is easy, especially in temperate climates, this medicinal herb also embellish with beautiful flowers.

    How to divide herb plants Verbascum phoeniceum “Temptress Purple”

    USDA Zones— 5 – 9

    Difficulty— Easy

    Other Names— Verbascum, White Mullein, Torches, Candlewick Plant, Golden Rod, Velvet Plant, Rag Paper

    The impressive wild herb mullein is cultivated for centuries, it is native to Europe and Asia. It is an undemanding plant, which also adorn itself with impressive, colorful flowers. Mullein is a medicinal plant and considered as an expectorant and antiseptic, thus used in bronchitis, asthma and cough and cold.

    Mullein is now no longer viewed as a roadside weed, raising on wasteland and fallow land. This is one of the most important plants preferred by landscapers and garden designers who appreciate the extraordinary beauty of its many hybrid cultivars occurring in various colors– from white to yellow and pink to strong purple and light blue. There are about 250 species of mullein, which are either biennials or perennials.

    How to Grow Mullein

    Propagation

    It can be propagated from seeds and cuttings. For growing mullein from seeds, purchase them or if you are collecting them from plants, do it as soon as they appear.

    Start mullein seeds indoors in the early spring. Sow seeds by scattering them at the top of the rich potting soil. They may take about two weeks to germinate. Divide the seedlings and transplant them into a larger pot or on the ground when they have grown their real leaves.

    Spacing

    Particularly taller varieties are planted at a distance of about one meter, shorter varieties are planted 30 cm apart from each other.

    Requirements for Growing Mullein

    How to divide herb plantsLocation

    Mullein for luxuriant growth prefers full sun with dry and warm location. Plant mullein near the walls or large trees to provide shelter from wind, to avoid any damage to plant. You can grow mullein near borders, driveways and edges.

    It grows in variety of soil types well-drained as well as in poor, calcareous soil. Soil should be dry and slightly alkaline for the optimum growth of the plant.

    Watering

    It has low watering requirements but at the time when it starts to flower you can increase watering. However, in any case never keep the soil constantly moist when growing mullein.

    Mullein Plant Care

    Fertilizer

    It is not necessary to fertilize it. Although you can fertilize it at the beginning of the growing season with slow release 10-10-10 fertilizer for fast growth and prolific blooms.

    Overwintering

    Mullein is frost resistant. It tolerates temperature as low as 5 F (-15 C). Still, mulching is required before frost. Cover the surface around the plant with a thick layer of twigs, leaves and bark to insulate the roots from cold.

    Harvesting

    The flowers are harvested between June and October, early in the morning and dried in shade. Leaves collected earlier in the day are richer in essential oils, if collected afternoon they contain more glycosides.

    Pests and Diseases

    Mullein is extremely resistant to pests. Even so aphids attack it but rarely. A heavily compacted soil that is not well draining encourages root rot.

    latemp

    lawrence

    Hi, Most of the potted Herbs you see in the supermarkets are in fact dozens of seedlings in a pot.

    They don’t last long like that (a few weeks or so) as they are all trying to grow, but have too much competition, plus of course they get kept in the kitchen where the light may not be good enough either.

    To be fair the shops are really selling these pots to be snipped to death and then replaced. If you want your Herbs to last longer, then the best thing to do is split the bunch of seedlings up into individual plants and plant them either into the ground (weather permitting) or into pots, 3″ to 4″ should be fine for most.

    I hope this helps, but if you need more information I will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

    chefross

    willbkool

    I’ve been growing herbs for about 30 years, so I’ve seen how long most will last.

    Parsley is a biennial, which last 2 years before going to seed and dying. Chervil is another biennial. While it’s supposed to be a biennial, cilantro goes to seed in just a few months here in Florida, so I don’t bother planting it anymore, as all the supermarkets carry it fresh.

    Basil, dill, and sage are annuals, and must be replanted each year, although I have had sage plants last up to 3 years.

    Thyme, rosemary, tarragon, oregano and its cousin marjoram, and mint are perennials and will practically live forever if the conditions are right. In fact, I wouldn’t plant mint in the ground as it can spread and takeover a garden. Chives are another herb that will live for years if properly watered and fertilized.

    For me, the necessary herbs are: parsley, thyme, basil and tarragon. Two are perennials, and parsley has to be replanted every two years, and basil yearly. But I usually grow many other herbs every year including all the ones I listed above, but these four are what I consider essential.

    brandonknill

    chefbuba

    chefross

    I think we are talking potted herbs not ones planted in the ground right? I have parsley on both sides of the garden and were planted in opposite years but they drop their seeds in the same place and I have never had to replant parsley in the 14 years I’ve had the garden.

    I also have 8 sage plants that come back every year. I have a beautiful carpet of Marjoram several different thymes, lavender, and tarragon.

    bill1025

    siduri

    Rosemary, in my experience, doesn’t die, and can become quite a bush, as does sage.

    I can never get parsley to grow – some bug or snail or something chops it off before i can – any ideas on how to deal with this would be welcome. Maybe i’ll add another thread on this.

    i finally got a dill plant to stick and it’s now four years and it keeps sprouting anew every year and i don’t dare to touch it, prune it, repot it, or anything, because i’ve tried over many many years and never got one to last more than a month. .

    Basil dies at the end of the year – purple basil seems to go to seed more slowly and i can keep having basil till into fall with that type, as long as i trim the flowers off. Even if i don’t it is pretty tame.

    Chives, no problem, no problem on thyme, origano, marjoram – they seem to keep on going, though i don;t remember which pot is which and sometimes i lose one.

    My herbs are in a slightly shadier spot on my terrace which stays in the 90s for most of the summer – 3 – 4 months, and is entirely in the sun (the “shady” side is only next to a wall that gives some shade in the afternoon.

    chefedb

    953 shared use

    crabapple

    I have mint in the pot for six years now, it was a dried up sprig, then it grew.

    Now after 4 years I have a single sprig from my pot of mint, that has covered 8′ X 4′ around a blueberries bush.

    The blueberry bushes seem to like mint.

    Wonder if the mint will cover the whole 20’X 50′ blue berry patch or should I put up barrier & plant other kinds of mint?

    philkel

    I’ve been growing herbs for about 30 years, so I’ve seen how long most will last.

    Parsley is a biennial, which last 2 years before going to seed and dying. Chervil is another biennial. While it’s supposed to be a biennial, cilantro goes to seed in just a few months here in Florida, so I don’t bother planting it anymore, as all the supermarkets carry it fresh.

    Basil, dill, and sage are annuals, and must be replanted each year, although I have had sage plants last up to 3 years.

    Thyme, rosemary, tarragon, oregano and its cousin marjoram, and mint are perennials and will practically live forever if the conditions are right. In fact, I wouldn’t plant mint in the ground as it can spread and takeover a garden. Chives are another herb that will live for years if properly watered and fertilized.

    For me, the necessary herbs are: parsley, thyme, basil and tarragon. Two are perennials, and parsley has to be replanted every two years, and basil yearly. But I usually grow many other herbs every year including all the ones I listed above, but these four are what I consider essential.