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As varied as the perennial world is, so are the possibilities to multiply them. Probably the oldest form of cultivation is the propagation of seeds. Most perennials are cold germs, so they need a cold stimulus over a long period of germination. Only a few such as yellow-weed or the many-colored spurge germ immediately. Sensitive seeds such as those of lupines or poppies, which do not find optimal germination conditions in the garden, are collected after flowering and cultivated in the greenhouse.
If you multiply perennials by seeds, you can look forward to one or the other surprise. Because this also creates plants in which, for example, the flower color or shape is different than the mother plant. Many perennials that we have come to appreciate over the years have been cultivated in such a way that they do not produce any fruits at all and thus no seeds. Especially varieties with filled flowers and some hybrids are sterile. The seeds are present with them, but not germinable.
To multiply perennials: The methods at a glance
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Perennial propagation overview
Parting off a foothill
Stream-forming perennials such as the gold strawberry (Waldsteinia ternata) make it very easy for us: they form long aboveground shoots that only have to be cut off with the spade. Then they are put in pots. A humusous substrate under the overlying foothills promotes rooting
This type of propagation is used in all species that form long and hollow stems over the summer, where they are difficult to grow roots - such as the delphinium (Delphinium). In the first weeks of spring, shortly after the shoot, the shoots are still filled and therefore best suited for cuttings. They grow best if you have a bit of root tissue down the stem base
Head and drive cuttings
Many species can be propagated by cuttings. These are end pieces or pieces of the stem. The length of the cuttings depends on the number of pairs of leaves. The propagation period is usually between April and June
Rhizomes like those of the Siberian iris (Iris sibirica) are shared. Most of them are easy to break into pieces with their hands, but with some types and varieties you should use a sharp knife. Preferably, the younger, vital rhizome pieces are used in the edge region of the root braid. Each section should have at least one, better two leaf buds after splitting
Rhizom cuttings and cutlets
From rhizomes, ie subterranean or creeping, thickened stems close to the ground, can be cut as well as from roots. If they are inserted vertically and have sprouts or leaves at the upper end, they are also called rhizome cuttings. With this method, for example, several species of storks (geranium) are propagated
Propagation by seeds
Sowing is particularly good if you want to have a larger number of offspring from a plant. For this, the seeds are harvested from the plant in autumn and sown directly or wintered dry. Depending on the species and germination behavior, the seeds can be sown in pots and seed boxes in the greenhouse or directly in the outdoor bed. The method is suitable for example for liverwort (Hepatica), lady's mantle (Alchemilla) and other wild perennials
You can share all perennials that do not lignify, grow vigorously and have a well-branched root system. Positive side effect: the plants are simultaneously rejuvenated. The parts of the plant separated with the spade can then be placed directly back into the bed
Some species can only be propagated by root cuttings species-specific and productive - even if it seems at first glance amazing that a new plant is formed from the portion of a root. This propagation technique is used in species that form fleshy, low-branched taproots, such as mullein, autumn anemone and Turks poppy
Other parts of plants such as leaves, roots or shoots can also be used for multiplying. And this has even advantages over sowing: New perennials from cuttings or chops are exact copies of the mother plant, since the genetic material is identical. They are cloned, so to speak. In addition, the vegetatively propagated shrubs often have a small growth advantage over seed-propagated plants. Important: Only multiply healthy plants.