How to Spread Flowers

Overview

Spreading the existing flowers in your garden beds allows you to expand your garden each year without the expense of new plants. Annual flowers are usually propagated by seed, whereas many perennials grow from bulbs or tuberous root systems. Using the natural propensity of flowers to breed to spread your flowers is not just low-cost, it ensures your favorite flower varieties are available each year, even if they're no longer sold through seed suppliers or at the nursery.

Seeds

Step 1

Allow annual flowers to set seed by leaving some flowers in place after they wither. Seeds form under the petals in either a cone or a pod. Plants with flowering stalks often set seeds in clusters along the stalk.

Step 2

Allow the seeds to dry on the stem until they begin to change color. Colors often change from green to tan or brown or from a light green to a dark green. Once pods dry, pick them before they begin to split open.

Step 3

Pick the entire stem once the seed matures to the proper color. Set the stem in a shallow bowl, and separate the seeds from the cone, stalk or pod.

Step 4

Spread the seeds on a paper towel. Allow them to dry for two weeks in a warm, dry room. Store in a labeled envelope until spring.

Step 5

Plant seeds in seed pots with soilless potting mix four to eight weeks before the last spring frost in your area. Sow seeds to a depth twice their width, and then water the potting mix until it's moist.

Step 6

Place the seeds in a warm room to germinate. Move them to a sunny windowsill once sprouts appear.

Step 7

Plant the seeds outdoors after all danger of frost passes. Collect and plant extra seeds if extending an existing garden.

Bulbs and Tubers

Step 1

Divide spring bulbs, such as daffodils, after the foliage dies back in mid-summer. Divide summer bulbs and tuberous root perennials, such as begonias or irises, in the fall after the plant dies back.

Step 2

Cut the dead foliage down to 3 inches high with a sharp knife.

Step 3

Dig around the bulb or tuber with a trowel, and then lever it under the bulb, and lift it from the ground.

Step 4

Brush off excess soil, and inspect the bulbs and tubers. Dispose of any that have soft rot spots or signs of disease.

Step 5

Break apart bulbs by twisting them apart where they're joined. Divide tubers by cutting them apart with the tip of your trowel or knife. Leave three to five growing buds on each tuber for replanting.

Step 6

Spread the bulbs and tubers out on paper towels in a warm, dry place to cure for two weeks. Store them in a box with dry peat moss in a 40 degree Fahrenheit room until it's time to replant.

Step 7

Replant spring bulbs in the fall, six to eight weeks before the first expected frost. Replant summer bulbs and tubers in the spring, after the last frost date in your area.

Things You'll Need

  • Bowl
  • Paper towels
  • Envelope
  • Pots
  • Potting mix
  • Sharp knife
  • Trowel
  • Box
  • Peat moss

References

  • University of Illinois Extension: Saving Seed From the Garden
  • University of Minnesota Extension: Dividing and Moving Hardy Bulbs
Keywords: spreading flowers, extending gardens, seed saving, dividing bulbs, self seeding

About this Author

Jenny Harrington is a freelance writer of more than five years' experience. Her work has appeared in "Dollar Stretcher" and various blogs. Previously, she owned her own business for four years, selling handmade items online, wholesale and via the crafts fair circuit. Her specialties are small business, crafting, decorating and gardening.