Be frugal when buying new plants— split them into more plants

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No matter what you’re buying, every penny counts. And dividing newly purchased daylilies, hostas, tall bearded irises and ferns can save you $50 or more.

Dividing existing perennials every five to seven years can save you even more.

“When you see lots of shoots or the flowers start to look smaller, tired or too crowded, then it’s time to divide,” said horticulturalist Mark Viette.

When choosing new plants to divide, it’s best not to divide the ones in full bloom. If you are not worried about sacrificing the blooms for a year, use hedge shears to cut them off, and then divide.
“There are a couple of ways to divide the plants and make a lot of plants for your garden,” Viette said.

If a potted purchase has little plants growing in it, carefully pull them out and plant them separately. Make sure the shoots are the plant you want, and not weeds.

If the weather conditions are not favorable, you can divide the plants, put them back in the pot, and plant them outside when the soil is more workable.

When cutting plants in large containers, you can use an old saw or an old, rigid kitchen knife. Find a natural point to divide the plant, then cut through the crown and pull the sections apart.
“If you buy a hosta with lots of shoots, you can make as many as 12 plants out of one $18 hosta,” Viette said.

Or you can take a $50 daylily that has not yet budded and divide it. Put your knife between the two fans, and once you hear a cracking sound, pull apart the two sections.
“Separate the sections, and replant shoots and any little plants and you just saved $50 or more,” Viette said.

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