What Does Plant Division Mean?

What Does Plant Division Mean

Plant Division is a form of plant propagation when you divide plants to form new ones. Performing plant division (vegetative propagation) keeps the mother plant healthy and robust and grows your houseplant collection by adding more of them around your home. Not only is the process straightforward but learning this gardening tip can help develop new vegetables or plants without spending more money since you don’t need to buy more of the same plant.


So, what type of plants work best for plant division? What are the steps to take for plant division to be successful? What are some things to consider reducing transplant shock when you go about this process?


Here is what plant division means and more!


What Types of Plants Work Best for Plant Division?

What Types of Plants Work Best for Plant Division

Herbaceous perennials work best for plant division. The perennials that work best for this method are ones with bulbs, rhizomes, bulbs, suckers, and stolons. Some of the best perennial plants that perform well with plant division are below in the list.


  • Succulents
  • Snake Plants
  • Hosta
  • Cast-iron plant
  • African Violet
  • Peace Lily
  • Aloe Vera
  • Chinese Evergreen
  • Bromeliads
  • Ornamental Grass
  • Daylilies
  • Bird of Paradise


How to Divide Plants for Propagation?

How to Divide Plants for Propagation

Dividing plants to form new ones is a relatively straightforward process. To start, you want to remove the plant you want to split out of the pot. Next, with scissors / sharp knives (unless yours falls apart like mine on a minor pull), you separate parts of the plant away from the mother plant that contains roots. From there, you can keep dividing multiple parts of the mother plant to create new plants.


Once you can separate one or more parts from the parent plant, you will need to replant them into fresh soil or mulch. One tip is to use a tool to create a hole in the middle of the pot to place the new plant directly into the soil. From there, you want to water the soil thoroughly to let the excess water drain out of the bottom of the pot. As a note, you should use a pot with drainage holes to allow the water to flow out.


Finally, after the plant or plants are in their new pot, you want to place them in an area that receives the appropriate amount of sunlight for them to settle. For instance, if the mother plant enjoyed direct sunlight, you will need to place that new plant in there to give it the same setting.


When to Divide a Plant?

When to Divide a Plant

The best time to divide plants is during the early spring and summer when the mother plant is forming new shoots and new roots and if the plant is suffering from root ball growing too large for the current home. Here is a deeper explanation of each tip on when to divide plants.


Early Spring and Summer

The early spring and summer work best for most perennials via plant division. The spring and summer generally yield the most growth for plants, so propagating them at this time gives the mother plant and the new free plant time to adapt to the propagation. If you perform division during the winter, the mother plant will be in a dormant stage, which means it won’t recover as well from division, and the new plant won’t be able to adapt as well and go into transplant shock.


New Shoots and New Roots

New Shoots and New Roots

If you have a succulent or another type of plant that is forming new shoots / new roots in the current pot home, it is time to divide them into new plants. New shoots mean new roots, which then means competition in the root system to gather water and other nutrients from the soil. As the new shoots and roots compete for nutrients against the mother plant, both won’t receive 100% of the nutrients they need, which is where the division comes into play.


Root Ball

Root ball occurs when the mother plant (and new shoots) don’t have anywhere for its root system to grow within the current pot. The only direction for the root system to develop is around the plant, squeezing the plant and causing stress. When you notice that it is difficult to take the plant out of the soil without using garden forks and knives, you should dive up the plant and put them into its own home through division. Otherwise, you will need to get a bigger pot and transplant the plant into a new home to continue growing.


What about Transplant Shock for Your Houseplants?

What about Transplant Shock for Your Houseplants

Using division to propagate a plant can most likely cause transplant shock. Transplant shock means that either the plant moved to a new location (usually from a garden house to your home and needs to settle in the environment, or came out of a recent propagation), so you want the plant to settle for a bit. After giving the plant some water and placing it in the same location as the mother plant, you will want it to settle for two weeks or longer if you do this in the early spring or summer.


If you move the plant to an entirely new location after division, the plant might wilt because too much change has occurred.


Conclusion: What Does Plant Division Mean?

Plant division (or offsets) is when you divide a portion of the mother plant to create new plants through propagation. Herbaceous perennials perform the best when you use this offset method to develop new plants because they have bulbs, rhizomes, bulbs, suckers, and or stolons. The process is simple enough: you split a portion away from the mother plant that contains roots and plants them into a new pot with fresh soil and or mulch.


Learning about plant division has numerous benefits:


  1. You can protect the mother plant from creating a root ball, which is when the plant and new shoots have their roots circle the root system and cause stress to the plants. When you see new shoots forming in the same spot, you can protect the mother plant by removing those and placing them into a new pot to allow each to get 100% of their nutrients through soil and water and not worry about root ball.
  2. Plant division helps with horticulture by growing sustainable vegetables for you and your family through what the earth produces.
  3. Using plant division will help you save money, so you don’t have to buy new vegetables and plants all the time if you want to grow your collection.


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