Spring is definitely prime gardening season in many parts of the United States. It’s a time when planting enthusiasm is at its highest. And so are the prices of plants. If you have a limited budget or just don’t want to spend lots of money filling in an area that does not get much attention there are more cost effective ways to do get the impact you are looking for.
It may be tempting to plant annuals, most of which flower continuously throughout the summer growing season. But do consider perennials. While many perennials only flower during certain parts of the growing season, layering them with a concentration on bloom times can ensure color throughout the spring, summer and fall.
Because they come back year after year, perennials also increase in size. At some point you can dig them up, divide them and add them to other areas of your garden. With patience you can fill large areas with perennials that, once established, need little care and maintenance.
I like to do is find perennials that I can divide right after I purchase them. This means that a $5 to $10 investment can yield 2-3 plants.
Because fall is such a great time to plant, I also like to shop end-of-season sales at my local home improvement stores.
In September we were visiting the garden center area at our local home improvement store. As we were headed to the checkout I spotted rolling racks of some sad looking Plantain Lillies and Daylillies. I say sad not because the plants weren’t healthy but because the daylily foliage was starting to brown (as they do in the fall) the Plaintain Lillies were looking a little droopy. The plants were originally $10/a piece and were marked down to $5. Score! I have a bed near the edge of our woods that gets partial sun and I knew these would be perfect. I bought 6 containers – 3 of each and headed home with my purchase.
Unfortunately, temperatures were unseasonably warm for the next few weeks, rising into the high 80’s and then the rains came. I nursed my plants along by keeping them in the shade of my garage. Finally, a nice sunny and cool day arrived. Perfect planting weather.
I was able to divide my 6 plants into 13 which brought my cost down to around $2.30 per plant. I then planted my finds, spreading them over a pretty large area.
Follow these simple directions to divide newly purchased perennials and get the most out of your investment.
- Find plants that have multiple stalks. You should be able to see an area where it looks like the plant can be divide.
- Before planting anything, take a large bucket and mix up an all-purpose fertilizer like Miracle Grow according to the package directions.
- Submerge the container area of the plant to the top of the root ball so that the roots are saturated with the solution.
- Remove the plant from the bucket and then take it out of its container.
- Find the spot where you want to split the plant and divide it using a trowel or large sharp knife.
Here are some of mine after I divided them.
- Decide where you want to plant and lay out the plants. Then keep digging and planting until all are planted.
- Pour the remaining fertilizer solution at the base of each of the plants.
That’s it! Here are several of mine after I finished planting.
The whole process took me about 30 minutes. While you can certainly do this in the spring, planting in the fall allows the plants to put their energy into developing the root system.