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More Fun Dividing Plants.

This piece is not about Allotment gardening at all, but might still be interesting to gardeners in general.
TV gardeners are always talking about dividing Herbaceous plants as a means of filling up your borders without spending a small fortune on lots of expensive plants and you can certainly use this idea to fill up an allotment with plants for cut flowers at little cost, but many other types of plants for other places will also usefully divide. If plants are not for your flower borders why else would you want to multiply plants up by dividing? Well, sometimes, as I did recently, you may see a plant that you want, but it costs rather more than you can justify spending. Dividing such a plant is a way of reducing the apparent cost and it then creates lots of spare plants that can make cheap presents for friends, or family who are also gardeners.
Recently I found such a plant that divided well, and, although not an allotment, flowery type plant, I thought it was interesting anyway. It was a very nice small growing Phormium called "Yellow Wave." I always thought of Phormiums as having very tough and sharp pointed leaves that reached skywards, but this one only grows to about 3 feet. On first glance it looks rather like a Cordyline, but it should be much hardier as Cordylines can be a bit susceptible to cold, wet Winters. The yellow striped plant had many rooted shoots in the one pot so it divided up easily. I kept one of the bigger pieces for my garden and took the others to work. A week, or, two later I also saw a lovely red striped one called "Flamingo," that also divided up readily. This time I gave one of the better pieces, nicely re-potted in the original pot with labels, to my Brother as it was his birthday! He also got a rather nice variegated, yellow, Japanese Rush belonging to the Acorus family, but it was a bit taller at well over 1foot rather than the 6inch high, dwarf, white one that I already had. Being a Rush it will also be good for damp areas, so another one went to be planted in a wet bank of soil at work.

It's not just garden plants that will divide to make nice little presents, but a lot of indoor plants also lend themselves readily to the same idea. Some plants will divide properly, but with others this splitting can often be done due to the growers modern idea of putting several rooted cuttings in one pot to make a bigger looking plant much quicker than waiting months for it to grow.
In the past I haven't been very good at looking after House Plants, but I thought that I would try again with some old favourites. Most indoor Ferns will readily divide, so, recently, I bought one called Nephrolepsis that split nicely into half a dozen pieces, each with some roots on. If I grow them on a bit they will be able to use them at work to help make up indoor planted bowls for the coming Summer sales. Adiantum was another indoor fern that I spotted that will grow on and divide up later. This Fern has an unusual leaf shape, at least unusual for Ferns, as the leaves are more like ordinary leaves on long stalks.
A Selaginella was a long forgotten little gem of a plant that I also recently came across and remembered distantly from when my parents had their Garden Centre. It looks like a prehistoric fern with trailing aerial roots, but is actually a type of Moss. Commonly called "The Resurrection Plant" it can dry out and go brown before re-hydrating and resuming its growth. It is also one of many plants known as, "Tumbleweed," because of this ability.
Other Ferns that I remembered Mom growing in the past were Asparagus Springerii and Asparagus Plumosa, but I haven't come across those on sale locally yet.
Ferns are not the only easy to grow indoor plants that I have recently bought and divided. Scindapsus Areus, or "Devils Ivy," was spotted with a number of rooted cuttings in one pot, but it is also good for cuttings as it roots easily and cutting it makes it bush out. It is definitely not hardy though and needs a warm room with a minimum temperature of 50 deg f. Liking damp, humid conditions it is perhaps better kept in a bathroom, or kitchen.
I also came across some little pots of Ficus Benjamina that had been heavily reduced to clear them out. They are basically a tiny leafed, but very pretty little variegated member of the Rubber tree family. There were 3 in a pot reduced to clear at 1 for each pot full. I bought 4 pots that gave me a dozen plants. They were drying out a bit and this is something that you have to watch with pot plants, especially clearance items.
Other plants that I bought containing more than one plant in the pot were some more Chamaedora, or "The Parlour Palm," and "The Peace Lily," or Spathiphylum. Again they are leafy plants with quite big, showy leaves, but the Spathiphylum also produce an attractive white Lily like flower hence the common name.
My Easter Cactus that I have had for some time, recently looked a picture and was growing so well that I took off half a dozen "Pads," to root and make new plants. They are easier than taking normal cuttings!
We have always had a big Aspidistra in the lounge at home, so that was another plant that divided up easily like an Herbaceous plant. They are particularly tough and will grow happily in a cool, but indoor porch, whereas most indoor plants need the warmth of a heated greenhouse to survive, or better still an indoors windowsill. Quite a lot of house-plants need warmth, but not all need lots of light and many will readily grow in low light levels like the Aspidistras and Ferns in particular.


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