Last updated on November 5th, 2021
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Why spend money on acquiring more agapanthus plants when you can get them free? If you are wondering how that is possible, let me give you a few tips on how and when I divide my agapanthus. These beautiful flowers offer lush foliage and different coloured blooms depending on the variety you have.
They are easy to grow and require low maintenance which means you can multiply them easily in your garden or give some to your friends or family.
This helpful guide will help you divide and grow healthy agapanthus and get the most out of your plants.
Why do you need to divide agapanthus?
If you have grown agapanthus plants, you may have noticed that as time goes by, they grow larger and larger. As said before, they are low maintenance plants, therefore, it is easier for them to grow quickly and overtake other plants in the garden. This in turn also causes the agapanthus to compete for nutrients, therefore, reducing the number of flowers produced and they just generally don’t do as well after they have been growing for 4-5 years.
By dividing the agapanthus, they get more space to grow and they are basically being rejuvenated, this, in turn, allows them to produce a better show as they have more access to essential nutrients. This is especially true for those with overgrown agapanthus with massive root clumps. Once divided, you can transfer the agapanthus to a new location or give them to friends and family. Even if you don’t have anywhere for them or give them away to you are still better off dividing, planting the divisions and composting the rest.
When is the perfect time to divide agapanthus?
There are different varieties of agapanthus available, some evergreen, some deciduous. You will identify that your plant requires division when the flowers are not as good as they once were. This is especially true for an agapanthus that is being grown in a pot. Although there is not much difference in the way you divide them, it is good to know how to cater to the variety you have. As a general rule, evergreen and deciduous agapanthus can be divided after flowering in spring or early summer but deciduous agapanthus can also be divided in autumn once they die back too. Good to know if you forget to divide them in spring.
Agapanthus plants need to be divided once every 4-6 years when the overgrown clumps are large. However, you are at liberty to divide them more frequently if the plants grow exceedingly quickly. Evergreen agapanthus present green foliage all year round and they do not do well when they are divided in winter. That is why it is good to divide them around spring or early summer.
Dividing agapanthus in spring will disrupt the plant’s growth pattern resulting in fewer blooms the following year. After the division, the roots need some time to adjust to the new environment and produce their impressive flowers the following year. It is crucial to add compost to the soil after dividing to provide the roots with enough nutrients to recover and grow.
Just like the evergreen varieties, deciduous agapanthus requires dividing once you notice the plants are overcrowded or producing fewer blooms. Deciduous varieties lose their foliage after the summer and slip into dormancy until the next growth phase. Ideally, deciduous agapanthus should be divided after seven years, but this might be a long time to wait for particular varieties. It is better to monitor the plant’s growth and divide accordingly. You can divide deciduous agapanthus after flowering in spring or summer, however, you can also divide these plants in autumn once they have died back.
How to divide agapanthus step by step
Dividing these plants regardless of their variety is simple. Before dividing the plants, you require:
- Sizeable garden forks to separate the tangled root clamps.
- A sharp spade for splitting the plants.
- A sizeable clean knife to cut the roots into plantable sections.
If you have all the required tools, proceed:
- Using your spade, dig around the agapanthus clumps making sure not to use too much force. If the clumps are too big, use the spade to slice through the clumps vertically to make extraction easier.
- Take your garden fork to lift the roots from the ground. Because agapanthus roots are strong and well anchored, you will need some muscle power to remove them from the soil.
- Once removed from the soil, shake all the excess soil from the plants and roots and prepare to divide.
- In most cases, the roots will be intertwined, therefore, use two garden forks back to back to pry them apart. One fork acts as a lever and the other one pulls the roots apart. If the roots are not too tangled and you have the strength, you can divide them using your hands.
- Agapanthus are tough plants, you can divide the clamps into as many sections as you want. As long as the sections possess healthy root systems, they will grow healthily once replanted. I advise dividing the roots into sizeable sections so that they will recover faster and produce flowers in time. Smaller sections take longer to recover.
- After division, trim the leaves of the plants back about two-thirds or by half. This ensures that the plant spends more resources on developing roots rather than making food.
- You should also get rid of unnecessarily long or fibrous roots. Any damaged roots should also be removed as they are of no service.
- Make sure to add compost to well-drained soil before replanting. This gives the plants adequate nutrients for re-establishment and recovery.
- Replant the agapanthus ensuring there is enough distance between the plants (about 30 to 50cm is ideal) as this ensures that once the plants regrow they have enough space to thrive without fighting for nutrients.
- Plant the roots as deep as the original plant and spread the roots to provide a better chance of stable anchoring. Fill the gap with soil, pat the soil down and water the plants accordingly for the next couple of weeks.
While many prefer to transplant immediately, some may not have the option to. To avoid damage to the divided plants, wrap them in a wet cloth or newspaper to preserve them before transplanting. Place them in a cool area where the plants can retain moisture and keep the roots alive.