How and When to Divide Alstroemeria Plants
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With an appearance very much like a lily, Alstroemeria is a favourite of many due to its colourful blossoms but it’s probably one of the favourite perennials. The plant offers over 150 cultivars and there are hybrids such as the A. ligtu that are often used in intricate flower arrangements but in this article, I’m going to focus on dividing Alstroemeria as is a great way to get more plants.
Instead of purchasing more Alstroemeria to add to your garden, you can just divide them to get new ones and it’s super easy to do you just have to do it at the right time of year.
So, how and when do you divide Alstroemeria? I am a fan of these hardy but beautiful plants; therefore, I noted down some tips that will aid you in dividing your own plants successfully.
Why should you divide Alstroemeria?
Dividing as a means of propagation is perfect because it saves you money. You can have as many plants as you want without dipping into your pocket. You will have the pleasure of having plants that are very similar to their parents thus introducing uniformity in the garden.
Alstroemeria can be grown through seeds, but the process takes a long time compared to dividing the clumps of roots. If you want to multiply your plants faster, dividing is the way to go.
Another reason why division of the roots is a good idea is that there are more nutrients to go around. As the roots spread, there will be competition for nutrients and if the plants do not get adequate nutrients, then their growth will be stifled.
If you grow them in pots you also don’t want the plant to outgrow its pot. Dividing Alstroemeria allows each plant to have adequate space for optimal growth rather than being stifled. In general, you want to divide them every few years and most varieties need dividing around April but it depends on when they flower.
When to divide Alstroemeria
Alstroemeria comes in evergreen or deciduous varieties that require well-drained fertile soil. These plants need dividing every 2-3 years to prevent competition for nutrients. While evergreen varieties can be divided at any point of the year, it is best to divide them while the growth phase is dormant and the roots are more mature which is around April or May. These are usually spring-flowering so you basically divide them after flowering.
Those with Alstroemeria varieties that flower in summer should divide the roots around spring or autumn. Spring blooming varieties should be divided in summer once they have finish flowering.
How to divide Alstroemeria without damaging the roots
Dividing Alstroemeria requires care to prevent damaging the roots. You need tools such as a spade or fork to help manoeuvre around the soft roots. You can also use a sharp knife to divide the roots into sections.
- After gathering your clean and sharp tools, it is time to lift the base of the plant. Position your fork or spade a fair distance away from the base of the plant. Once the spade or fork is immersed into the soil, lift the soil gently to reveal the root ball.
- Shake off excess soil from the root ball making sure to leave the delicate roots intact.
- After exposing the clustered roots, it is time to separate the roots simply by using your hands. If you are dealing with roots with intensely tangled roots then a sharp knife will be of use.
- Replant your roots immediately in well-drained soil and in an area where they can get adequate sunlight.
- As you replant, use compost to help the roots develop healthy root systems. Also, make sure that the roots are planted as deep as the original plant. This should be around 15cm into the ground.
- Use mulch around the plant to help maintain moisture content. Do not place mulch directly at the base; you want the new plant to receive adequate ventilation to keep diseases and pests at bay.
- Ensure the plant is watered without making the soil too soggy, which would provide the perfect conditions for fungus growth. You need to keep and eye on watering until they are established and do ont allow them to dry out.
Issues to look out for with Alstroemeria
Alstroemeria can dry out easily if they do not receive enough water. Watering immediately after transplanting is a must so that the roots are hydrated. Water the plant regularly as it continues to grow and be on the lookout for any fungal infestation.
Aphids, thrips, and caterpillars are common pests that attack Alstroemeria; therefore, monitor the plant’s growth after transplanting to prevent these pests from damaging the young plants. Treat any infestations early to prevent irreparable damage.
Avoid root rot such as Phytophthora and Rhizoctonia by transplanting the roots in clean and well-drained soil. This perennial plant does not do well in severe cold conditions, especially younger plants; hence, move it to a sheltered area during winter to avoid frost damage if in pots and grow them in a more sheltered position in the ground if you can.