Division is an important propagation method for herbaceous and woody perennials.

Division is a relatively slow method of multiplication, but it is simple to perform and inexpensive.

Photo showing African violets before division.

Photo showing African violets after division.

African violet

The crown is divided into several sections.

Each section containing a portion of the root system (or modified storage organ like a tuberous root or stem) and several crown buds (sometimes called eyes).

Photo pointing out the crown on a section of root system of an asparagus division.

Asparagus divisions

Crowns of outdoor herbaceous perennials are usually divided while dormant.

This can be in the spring just before growth begins or in late summer or autumn.

Plants are dug from the field or removed from containers and cut into sections using a knife, ax or saw depending on the size of the crown.

For some species, offsets of the crown separate easily and can be removed by hand.

Photo of workers sawing plants into sections.

Click on the button below to see division sedge movie.

Click on the button below to see division pulling apart offsets movie.

Knives are a common tool used to divide crowns.

Photo of a worker using a knife to divide crowns.

Photo of boxes of knives used for division propagation.

Click on the button below to see Ergonomic tools movie.

Division in monkeygrass(Liriope).

Photo of monkeygrass (Liriope) in a growing container.

Photo of monkeygrass removed from container and being cut into divisions with a knife.

Photo of monkeygrass sepparated into several divisions.

Division is the only commercially acceptable way to propagate some species like peony.

For peony, plants are dug from the field while plants are dormant and the soil is washed from the plants.

Crowns are divided into sections containing several crown buds and the tuberous root is usually pruned to make it easier to package or plant in containers.

Photo of peony plants being loaded into a machine for washing the soil off them.

Photo of workers dividing up peony plants.

Field dug plants are divided while they are dormant and stored in coolers.

Photo of field dug plants being divided.

Photo of field dug plants being divided.

Click on the button below to see crown division iris movie.

Click on the button below to see Division hosta movie.

Division is also the only viable method for propagating some herbaceous plants that are variegated chimeras.

Variegated plants of African violet (Saintpaulia) and Sansevieria are usually propagated by leaf cuttings, but shoots arising from leaf cuttings will be non-chimeral.

These plants must be divided to maintain the variegated pattern.

See Chapter 16 or the web section on chimeras for more information.

Photo of Sansevieria plants that have had offsets divided for propagation.

Sansevieria propagated by division of offsets.