So, lets divide some herbs up and spread their love around… it’s your perennials (woody and crown) , expanding and clumping herbs that are good to go. Most can be done in Autumn or Spring. Elecampane (Inula helenium), Lemongrass (Cymbopogon ciratus) and Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis) are best done in Spring only. Golden Seal (Hydrastis canadenis) would rather be divided in Autumn than any other time.
The herbs that I have recently divided are Echinacea (Echinacea augustifolia) , Chives and French Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus)
I’m propagating my Echinacea by crown division, you can see from the next photo the potential new plants that have developed from the main crown.
So with my trusty knife (I’ve gotta say, this old kitchen knife is my most used gardening tool most especially when it comes to propagating and not just crown and root divisions) I slice right inbetween the plants, cutting roots and soil and hoping when I gently dig it out that there will still be a lot of intact roots on the plant. Dig a trowels length deep as the roots can go well down.
Now I couldn’t take any more photos of this process due to dirty hands and a baby needing attention. Once you start propagating you really need to finish the job and get those puppys into pots with good potting mix or in their new destination, it had turned into a one handed affair, the camera had to go! In the end I got eight new plants, two of which have died (it’s not a fool proof game). Keep mind if you’re dividing your Echinacea that it does die down late Autumn but will re-assert itself come Spring, that is if it is Echinacea augustfolia you’ve got and not Echinacea purpurea which is best treated as a biennial and propagated from seed. Here’s another post from Anna in regards to growing Echinacea from seed and all it’s great benefits.
Don’t know what Echinacea you’ve got? Check out the leaves; Echinacea augustfolia has a few veins running parrallel up and down the leaves whereas purpurea has one central midrib with branching veins.
Chives follow the same method as above. These guys went into the apple orchard.
I had a few people ask me last year if I sold French Tarragon (I didn’t), so procured me a plant and now I will have!
Dividing Tarragon is a little different in the way that you are dividing the rhizomes (underground stems that produce plants on their nodes and/or tips). Bury small or large clumps with about 25mm of soil/potting mix on top. French Tarragon can’t be grown from seed though her inferior cousin Russian Tarragon can.
For the first few weeks I do my best to keep their leaves hydrated with a fine mist of water, more so than the soil and I keep them out of full sun..
So go forth and multiply your plants!!