Multiply and divide - how to save money by splitting plants
THERE are so many ways we can save a few dollars while creating the garden of our dreams. Real green thumbs can propagate just about anything, but it can take time, patience, skill and even specialised knowledge.
I love using strappy leaves as borders. They define garden beds even if there is no hard edge in place, and act as an effective barrier against encroaching lawn and weeds.
For sunny positions, my favourites include agapanthus, hemerocallis (daylilies), ophiogon (mondo grass), zephranthes candida (autumn crocus) and liriope.
I especially like liriope Stripey White as it is a little smaller and softer than the classic Evergreen Giant.
Liriope and mondo grass are also good for semi-shaded areas. Other good borders for shade or semi-shade include hymenocallis (spider lily), cliveas, rhoeo and some types of bromeliads.
Good native strappies include lomandra and dianella.
Once you have a relatively established section of strappy or clumping plants it can be used to produce more plants, at no cost, for other areas.
And this is so easy to do. Just get a garden fork or spade under the clump, and lift gently. This is easier to do if the soil is a bit moist. Shake off the soil around the roots and, using sharp secateurs, divide the plant up, taking care to keep each little plant intact.
I usually remove all the leaves at this point, too. Replant some of the pieces in their existing location so you don't leave a big gap, and plant the remaining pieces wherever you want to create a new border. Water in with seaweed solution to encourage root development, and that's it.
Use the same technique to divide heliconias and gingers.
In autumn new plants will establish themselves and be ready to take off in spring.
Another way to create new plants from old is to harvest the seed, particularly for liriope Evergreen Giant and agapanthus. Just wait until the seed ripens (both liriope and agapanthus seed will be dark when ready) and sow directly into the soil, or sow into seed-raising trays.
Many plants, such as begonias, geraniums, daisies and tropical cordylines, are really easy to grow from cuttings.
I like to grow new plants from old favourites and use them to provide bulk and fill up garden beds.
Repetition can help pull a garden together, so don't be afraid to repeat plantings of these proven performers.