Grasses back on track

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you may remember that I overwinter purple fountain grass indoors under lights every year. I take small divisions in the fall and end up with a dozen or more good-sized plants by the time spring rolls around.


Except this year, because I tried something different and it didn't work. So my "plan B" was to purchase a couple of new plants as soon as they were available, divide them, and see how many plants I can get by planting time.

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Well, the local nurseries just got some of this (Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum') in -- I've been checking a couple times a week -- so I bought a couple:


I chose two of the fullest plants they had as I knew I wanted to divide them. These all have nice, healthy root systems and are not potbound yet -- like my divisions always get by the end of winter:


So I just chopped each of these in half:


It's always a bit shocking to do this as several of the stems get chopped and have to be discarded, but as I've learned you only need one stem with roots and leaves in order to make a viable division of this grass, so I'm not concerned.


I considered for a minute splitting these even more, but I decided to stay with larger divisions for now. I can always chop these apart again in a month or so depending on how much they've grown.

Even though my main experiment with this grass failed (I tried dividing the plant when it was not actively growing and all of the divisions died) and I had to spend money on replacement plants, there's still some experimentation I can do here:


This tiny piece fell out when I divided one of the plants. As you can see, it has a little bit of root growing:


I'll pot this up and bring it indoors under the lights to see if it will grow (the rest will stay outdoors). It may not, but I like to learn as much as I can about plant propagation. Experiments like this may teach me something useful, and they're quite fun for me.

So purple fountain grass is a little behind schedule but back on track again.

I wonder if I'll prefer this strategy to taking divisions each fall? I'll have to weigh the money spent in the spring ($12 for far) to the amount of growing table space the grasses take up each winter.

Who knows, maybe I'll like this new method more than the old.

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Lisa  – (April 7, 2013 at 6:54 AM)  

I've got to get myself a growing table! I love the annual grasses, but I'm too stubborn to buy as many as I'd like to because they're so expensive. But this inspires me!

The Gardening Blog  – (April 8, 2013 at 5:18 AM)  

What a beautiful specimen. I never considered dividing my grasses. When is the best season for this?

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