Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Home and Garden

Prep flower beds for fall, winter

September is a good month to rejuvenate your flower beds for the fall and winter seasons. Now is a good time to divide and plant bulbs and perennials.

There are three reasons to divide perennials: to control the size of the plants, to help rejuvenate them so that they keep blooming, and to increase their number.

Gingers are among our finest perennial plants. To assure good growth next year, dig up and divide rhizomes.

Propagation of the ginger is easy. Dig up a rhizome and cut it, leaving an immature sprout or two on each section. The rhizomes should be planted only about 2 to 3 inches deep. The gingers require little care other than moist soil, afternoon shade and occasional fertilization.

Daylilies (Hemerocallis spp.) are now beginning a short period of dormancy. As daylilies age, they produce a thick clump of growth, which can result in weak plants that do not bloom well. Divide them by digging up the clump, separating each plant or fan and replanting them a little higher than they were in the original clump. Do not remove the tuberlike storage organs in the root system that help to promote growth.

Stokes aster (Stokesia laevis) is a perennial that has a tendency to become too dense. The long, large roots may be reduced to make transplanting easier. There are many plants within the clump. They should be separated and set slightly higher than their original depth.

This is also the time of year to dig bulbs. Separate and plant the small bulbs that form around the large central bulb, and then replant the older bulb. Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) has a tendency to draw its bulbs into the ground. When replanting, make sure that the top 1/3 of the bulb is exposed to ensure blooms. This applies to other bulbs in the Amaryllis family like Spider lily and/or Alligator lily (Hymenocallis spp.) and Rain lily (Zephyranthes spp). The large Crinum or Swamp lily (Crinum americanum) can also be divided now.

Source: Theresa Badurek, urban horticulture extension agent, UF/IFAS Pinellas County Extension Service. Learn more at askextension.org or pinellascountyextension.org.

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