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How to Divide Heuchera

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How to Divide Heuchera

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Overview

Heuchera, also called coral bells, is a perennial ground cover used in rock gardens or shade gardens. It grows in tight clumps about 12 to 16 inches high with flowers that spike out of the clump and bloom in late spring and early summer. Every two or three years, as with most perennials, gardeners need to divide the Huechera so that the middle does not die out. Other reasons to divide the Heuchera include propagation and transplanting the plant to a better suited area. Whatever the reason, in order to keep the Heuchera healthy, you must know how to divide the plant properly.

Step 1

Thrust a garden fork into the ground in a circle around the Heuchera plant in early spring or early fall. You may also use a spade but you will tear more roots with that method. Lift the Heuchera completely out of the ground, taking as many roots with it as possible. Shake the dirt away from the roots.

Step 2

Cut the Heuchera apart with a sharp knife or spade. Cut right through the center of the root mass, dividing it in half and then into quarters if you wish. Trim off any dead roots or dead parts of the plant at this time as well.

Step 3

Transplant the divided sections as soon as possible. Choose an area with light shade and mix some organic compost into the planting hole for extra nutrients. Plant the Heuchera, making sure the crown of the plant where the top of the roots join the stem is right below soil level. Backfill the soil around the roots.

Step 4

Water the Heuchera deeply, giving it a good drink to start. Place a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch around the base of the plant to protect the roots from heat, injury and weed competition.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden fork or spade
  • Knife
  • Organic compost
  • Mulch

References

  • University of Vermont Cooperative Extension: Caring for Perennials
  • Iowa State University Reiman Gardens: When to Divide Perennials
  • University of Illinois Extension: Coral Bells

Who Can Help

  • University of Illinois Extension: The Great Perennial Divide
Keywords: digging Heuchera, dividing Heuchera, transplanting Heuchera

About this Author

Sarah Morse recently graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English language and literature. She has been freelancing for three months and got her start writing for an environmental website.

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