Save Money On Your Flower Planters With This Clever Division Hack

Save Money On Your Flower Planters With This Clever Division Hack

To become a successful home gardener, you need to invest a lot of time and money. If you are passionate about nurturing plants from seed to maturity and want to make the most of your investments, this clever hack can help you save money. Outdoor planters can add value to your home’s curb appeal, but buying pre-populated planters can be expensive. Instead, you can purchase larger plants from the nursery, divide them by hand, and replant them into multiple planters. For example, you can buy a host plant for $35 to $45 at Home Depot, but dividing it into three new plants can cost a little over $10 each.

It is important to note that not all plants can be divided. Generally, they need to grow in clumps and have roots. Perennial flowers such as coral bells, geraniums, daylilies, and garden phlox are great examples of easily divided plants. Bulbs and tubers such as dahlias and hostas can also be divided. Succulents like some cacti and aloe are also good candidates. Before you buy a plant, make sure it can be divided.

How to divide plants the right way

gardener dividing plants


If you’re working with two or more planters, visualize in your mind how much each planter holds, then purchase three or four varieties of plants of varying heights and complementary colors. A good rule of thumb as you divide the plants (steps to follow) is to make sure that you break up any plants with an especially dense or compacted root system with your fingers or scissors. This step is important because it will enable them to drink water much better.

You’ve already consulted with your pal who works at the nursery and got the right soil and fertilizer for the plants you’re about to divide and recombine into planters. You found great planters, and you’ll also need a soil knife or garden-worthy scissors and your digging tools. When you’re ready to divide the plants, you can tip the first plant over and out of its plastic pot. Visually inspect the plant and identify separate clumps or shoots — that’s where you’ll divide it. Although using just your hands is fine, you’ll most likely need a knife or scissors to help you penetrate the root systems to avoid damaging the plants. Assign each individual plant to a planter, and voila, you’ve got a professional-looking, well-designed planter for a whole lot less money.

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Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.