I just read you need to do this every 3 years. What say everyone? And how do you do it?
I wonder if this is the same people who say hostas NEED to be divided?
I've not divided mine.
I do it rarely. Only when the plant is a few feet across, scraggly, and I'm trying to get it back to a more manageable size for the plants around it. I have to say that one of my H. Atmethyst Mist is so stunning in it's 4' wide glory that I just leave it alone.
Some varieties tend to get woody and crawl along the top of the soil. Those are best dug, divided, and replanted.
So far just my Amethyst Mist, and that was because it was getting scraggly and on its way out. So I potted up the three pieces and grew them over the summer last year, planted them in September and now I have three very healthy plants. I tried dividing Peach Flambe because I wanted to make more but I ended up killing it.
Good thread. This is why we needed a heuchera forum.
The only one I have divided is Palace Purple and Green Spice. It took me a few years to find the perfect growing area for them so my oldest ones are only 3 years except the two I have divided.
I do not plan to divide unless they start to look bad.
I can't imagine having a heuchera get 4 feet wide!!! What a specimen that must be!! None of mine are anywhere near that size, but I would be too afraid of killing them. I moved a couple yesterday, and I'm holding my breath, hoping I didn't harm them too badly!!
Breezygirl, that is what I read too. They become woody and sprawling so I guess dividing them revives them to there original vigor? Which ones, I wonder, do you have to do this with?
I've been growing them for over a decade and never divided any....
I've been growing some for 10 years ( or longer) also. Some of them will get "woody" pieces when they need division. Last spring, I divided a huge clump of 'Peach Melba' and another of 'Amber Waves' and now have 4-5 plants each where there was only 1. This spring, two clumps of 'Pewter Veil' had gotten huge and I divided only one clump but now still have two huge clumps and 4 smaller clumps. Not all of the new ones will send up bells but 2 of them are blooming.
My heuchera guy said today you divide them only if they look stringy. He only divides into 2 so he has a full plant. He said it totally revives them next spring. Here in KC, he does it in the fall.
In my garden different varieties exhibit quite different growth habits. Most maintain a nice neat mound and I haven't disturbed them in several years. However some, like 'Palace purple' seem to get tall and leggy and sprawling and just generally untidy looking so I tend to separate them in to several pieces and plunk them in a pot to see who roots. I don't fuss with them because I don't really have space for duplicates, so I don't want one plant to turn into 8!
Cindy--I grow too many and it's been too many years (and too much other life stuffed into my head) since I did it to remember which varieties seem to need more dividing than others. You'll quickly learn though for yourself. ;)
I've taken smallish clumps and ended up with a dozen plants. You'd be surprised how small a chunk of a woody stem with leaf nodes will yield a new plant. Often times without roots on the chunk. As far as extras, I've always got friends and neighbors who love to take any plants I don't want off my hands.
They do get woody and pop out of the ground. I don't know about dividing them but they do best for me when I dig them up and plant more deeply with some compost every few years.
There is a good youtube video on dividing called
Propagating Heucheras from old plants
I've had Palace Purple for about 18 years and Amethyst Myst for 12 and never divided either. The Palace Purple does spread somewhat aggressively so I occasionally remove some from the edges but that's about it.
Often I will take stems off the side of my heuchera to start new plants to sell at the local farmer's market and also to use for trading with friends.
Shortly I am planning on taking a couple stems off most of my coral bells to start new plants which, once established, will then be planted beside their mom so that the clump is fuller...and also if for some reason I lose mom that I still have that variety.
I have divided mine a few times just because I am too scared to lose it. I had 4 that died on me or peter out on me not too long after I got them. After reading they are supposed to be split every 2-3 yrs I lost my others because the main root had too many babies on them to sustain the life of the whole plant. So when some of my favorites look like they have too many "babies" I split them. I now have 40-50 babies that I have no room for plus I never even wanted that many(that's with giving my brother 12 last year!) The good news is now I have some to fall back on if one of my others die!
But in the future maybe I might let my beautiful Dolce Licorice get as big as it was last year!