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Propagation using Division

Division is one of the simplest ways of increasing plant numbers.
New plants formed from the division will be identical to the parent.


Only healthy plants should be used, and the division should be timed to take place at the onset of a new growing period.

  • Remove the plant from the container, or dig from the ground using a strong garden fork. A fork is preferred rather than a spade as there will be less damage to the root system.
  • Wash the root system with water to remove the soil and minimise root damage.
  • Breaking the clumps up can be as simple as twisting the root clump by hand, or cutting, using a sharp knife (an old bread knife is excellent) or secateurs. For big clumps a spade or axe may be needed.
  • Resist the temptation to cut the original plant into very small pieces, as they may not survive this treatment.
  • Cut out any dead or damaged roots.
  • Cut half the foliage from the new plants to compensate for the disturbance to the roots.
  • Spread the remaining root system out evenly and downwards to allow for optimum development.
  • Water the new plant thoroughly.

Plants that can be propagated by division.

Clumps, crowns, suckers, rhizomes, stolons, pseudobulbs or bulbs are the characteristics which allow these plants to be propagated by division.

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Clumps- The lilies and grasses belong to this group. Natural division can be seen within the original plant. These plants divide or separate easily.


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Suckers- A sucker is a new shoot that develops underground for example some Dampiera spp.





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Rhizomes- Fleshy underground stems which look like roots, containing nodes and buds e.g. Anigozanthos & Dianella spp.


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Stolons- Similar to rhizomes, but grow across the surface of the soil, developing roots at the nodes, e.g. Viola hederacea.



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Pseudobulbs- Specialised swollen stems joined together by rhizome e.g. cymbidiums

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Bulbs and Tubers- Easy to propagate, many will fall apart when dug up. Largest bulbs will most likely flower first, small ones will take longer to develop flowers e.g. crinum




Plants suitable for division




Adiantum species Hardy fern for shady areas Late Winter
Ajuga australis Ground cover- pink to purple flowers Autumn
Alocasia brisbanensis Cunjevoi lily for shady area Winter
Alpinia coerulea Native ginger with white flowers Spring
Arthropodium milleflorum Vanilla lily-hardy Summer
Asplenium polyodon Attractive fern- grow in hanging basket Late Winter
Azolla filiculoides Fresh water fern Summer
Blechnum species Also by spore Spring
Calostemma purpureum Garland lily -also by seed Spring
Carex species Tufted sedge Autumn
Conostylis species Each piece needs several shoots-herb Autumn
Crinum species Native lily -also by seed Autumn
Cymbidium species Orchid- pseudobulb must have 2 shoots After flowering
Cymbogon ambiguus Native lemon grass Summer
Cyperus species Sedge to 1 metre Autumn
Dampiera species Not all species will divide-attractive herb Autumn
Danthonia species Kangaroo grass- slow to re-establish Autumn
Davallia pyxidata Hares foot fern Spring
Dendrobium species Orchid- 4 or more pseudobulbs After flowering
Derwentia species Perennial small shrub with blue flowers Autumn
Dianella species Flax lily- pretty blue flowers & seed Autumn
Dichondra repens Kidney weed- lawn substitute Spring
Dichopogon strictus Chocolate lily- tubers form on roots Autumn
Diplarrena moraea Iris- flowers white Autumn
Disphyma crassifolium Prostrate succulent Spring
Doodia species Rasp fern- also by spore Spring
Doryanthes excelsa Gymea lily- also by seed Spring/ Autumn
Goodenia affinis Prostrate herb- treat rosettes as cuttings Summer
Goodenia humilis Prostrate herb Autumn
Helmholtzia glaberrima Stream lily- white flowers Autumn
Hydrocotyle species Lawn substitute Spring/ Summer
Lobelia membranacea Prostrate- striking blue flowers Spring/ Summer
Marsilea drummondii Nardoo- water plant Summer/ Autumn
Mazus pumilio Lawn substitute- blue, white flowers Spring/ Summer
Muehlenbeckia axillaris Prostrate- very hardy in sun or shade Autumn
Nelumbo nucifera Lotus flower- water plant Spring
Poa species Native grasses Spring
Polystichum australiense Fern forms bulbils on tips of fronds All year
Scleranthus biflorus Spreading moss-like cushion plant Spring
Stackhousia species Perennial herb Autumn
Stypandra species Variable tufted plant with blue flowers Autumn
Viola hederacea Native violet All year
Wahlenbergia species Native bluebells Summer/ Autumn