Dividing Perennials Guide

Dividing perennials is an easy way to refresh your garden.  By dividing perennials, you keep your garden from becoming overgrown, you help reinvigorate your flower show, and you fill in empty spaces in your garden (and maybe your neighbor’s garden, too!).   Read on to learn more about dividing perennials to keep your garden looking its absolute best.

There are three main reasons to divide perennials:

  1. Control the size of your plants – Rapidly spreading perennials can get out of control; dividing spreading perennials helps keep them in check.  Plants that become too crowded from overgrowth are also more prone to pests and disease as they suffer from poor airflow.
  2. Rejuvenate your plants – Dividing old plants can rejuvenate them adding vigor and more profuse blooms. 
  3. Increase the number of your plants – Division is really addition when it comes to your perennial garden!  Gain additional plants by dividing to fill empty spaces in your garden or to share plants with your gardening friends.
WHEN TO DIVIDE

Most perennials benefit from dividing every three to five years.  Generally speaking, division should take place in the season opposite the plant’s flowering season; it is best to divide spring and summer flowering perennials in the fall and fall flowering perennials in the spring.  Dividing plants when they aren’t flowering allows the plant’s energy to be directed toward root development and leaf growth.

For fall division perennials, allow about six weeks from division to average first frost so plants can become established in their new homes.  In central Oklahoma, late August to early September is a good time to divide spring flowering perennials.

Spring division can be started as soon as the growing tips of the plants have emerged.  Don’t wait until temperatures rise too much to divide; it is best to allow time for roots to establish before temperatures become too hot stressing your newly divided plants.

WHICH PLANTS TO DIVIDE

Plants that are spreading to areas they aren’t wanted, plants with bald spots, and plants with flowers that are smaller and less abundant than are typical of the species (or subspecies) are great candidates for division (provided they are species that respond well to division).  

Perennials with long taproots should not be divided.  Other perennials reseed freely and therefore don’t require division.  Be sure to research your species and subspecies of perennials before dividing to ensure you won’t cause stress to a plant that prefers to be undisturbed.     

HOW TO DIVIDE

Prepare the area where you will be moving your new divisions before beginning.  Bed preparation should include eliminating perennial weeds, adding an working organic matter into the soil, and amending with fertilizer and/or other nutrients as needed.  (A simple soil test can determine whether and which amendments are needed.)  

Water the plants to be divided a day or two before dividing and make every effort to divide them on a cool, cloudy day. Keep divisions moist never allowing them to dry out.  Plant the divisions at the same depths they enjoyed in their previous location.  When you have finished dividing and replanting, water each plant with a starter fertilizer to reduce shock and to help the new plants root in and get established quickly.  

How you divide your perennial depends on which type of root system they have as well.  There are several types of root systems, but three groups cover perennials planted in most gardens – clumping, spreading, and woody.

CLUMPING PERENNIALS

Clumping perennials grow from a central clump – called a crown – which grows bigger each year producing offsets.  They also develop an extensive root system that benefits from division every two to three years to prevent problems associated with overcrowding.  

To divide clumping perennials, dig up the entire plant starting a good distance from the center to minimize root damage.  Once you have dug up your clumping perennials, loosen the roots to determine where to make divisions.  Often there will be obvious divisions; sometimes you will have to exercise your best judgement.  Always make sure there is a healthy amount of foliage and root system for each division.  The roots of clumping perennials tend to be thick and fleshy, so a soil knife, clippers, or other tool might be necessary to cut through the root system.  

Hostas, daylilies, guara, astilbe, and many ornamental grasses are examples of clumping perennials.   

SPREADING PERENNIALS

Spreading perennials grow by surface or underground roots or stems.  These plants’ shoots originate from many locations, and they can often look like separate plants with their own crown and root systems.  Dividing spreading perennials can keep those that are more invasive from taking over a space, and it can keep them from crowding out their own centers.    

To divide spreading perennials, simply dig up the portion of the plant you want to move making sure to get at least three to five vigorous shoots in each division.    

Examples of spreading perennials include lamium, bee balm, creeping phlox, and perennial vinca.

WOODY PERENNIALS

Woody perennials often have rooted layers meaning they had a branch from the original plant that rested on the soil and developed its own root system.  

To divide woody perennials, cut the stem that runs between the original plant and the new plant, dig up the new plant, and move it to its new home.  

Lavender, rosemary, and thyme are examples of woody perennials.  

GIVE IT A GO!

With a little research, perennial division can be performed successfully by even the most novice gardener.  This fall, why not give it a try on your spring and summer flowering perennials?!  Chances are that your garden will reward you with healthier, happier, and more abundant perennials. 

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

FOR THE DIY MOM

“Do It Yourself” moms aren’t messin’ around when it comes to thier love of working in the garden. She loves to get her hands dirty and she’s always encouraging you to “rub some dirt in it”. She’s bound to love a new garden project… Help her get started with new pottery, tools, or aqua pots.

POTTERY

GARDEN HOSE

WATERING CANS

FOR THE SHADY LADY

She’s not a regular mom. She’s a cool mom. How does she keep it so cool? She’s all about her shade. From her love of shade plants to her advocacy for sun protection – she’s one shady lady!

HYDRANGEAS

HATS & VISORS

SHADE SCREENS

FOR THE ARTSY MOM

She’s always looking for new and creative ways to enhance and add a personal touch to her outdoor space.

YARD ART

ART POLES

TRELLISES

FOR ROSE LOVIN’ MAMAS

Calling all Rosie the Riveters! This iconic mama works hard to keep her roses in tip top shape. Make sure she has all the tools (and roses) she needs to keep up the good work!

ROSES

ROSE GLOVES

PRUNING SHEARS

FOR MOTHER NATURE

Her gentle spirit and love of life makes this mama an outdoor pet aficionado. Help your mama make her outdoor space even more inviting to benefitical insects and birdlife. 

BIRD FEEDERS

BIRD BATHS

BENEFICIAL INSECT HOUSING

DON’T FORGET ABOUT GIFT CARDS!

Still not sure what to get her? Marcum’s Nursery gift cards never expire and can be used at any of our 4 nursery locations. Send Mom a gift card now with a personalized message straight to her inbox. Instantly redeemable and always a hit!

What a Wonderful World

Here at Marcum’s every day is Earth Day. So, we’re always striving to make Mother Earth proud! Here are 5 ways to make your green space even greener:

USE BIODEGRADABLE POTS

The big advantage of using biodegradable pots is that you’re reducing your plastic use right away. It’s an easy way to go more green with your gardening. They can also increase your transplanting success rate, because your seedlings will get less stressed when you move them into the garden.

CURRENTLY AT MARCUM’S

Don’t miss out on these fragrant beauties currently avalaible in biodegradable pots at a Marcum’s Nursery near you.

PEONIES
ROSES

SKIP THE HARSH CHEMICALS

Make your piece of the planet a healthier place to live by using Natural Guard products. Natural Guard by ferti•lome is dedicated to making products that allow all homeowners to feel good about their lawn and garden choices. All Natural Guard fertilizers are OMRI LISTED FOR ORGANIC USE and safe to use around family and pets.

INVITE BENEFICIAL INSECTS TO YOUR LANDSCAPE

Know the “good guys” from the bad in your garden is crucial in helping Mother Nature along in producing the best results for landscape. Whether you purchase some garden friends such as ladybugs and earth worms or are attracting benefital insects naturally to your outdoor space…

LET’S SAVE WATER!

Planning a garden that doesn’t require heavy water usage is easy, as long as you have some basic tools and materials. Start planning your water-saving garden with options like:

  • Soaker hose: Slowly drips water at a low pressure, keeping plants, shrubs and trees evenly watered.
  • Rain barrel: In dryer climates, a rain barrel is a must-have gardening staple. These effective water storage systems capture and store rainwater from your roof that would otherwise be wasted due to runoff.  
  • Tree watering bag: For newly planted trees, a tree watering bag is a reliable watering system that can reduce your water usage. These durable bags wrap around your tree and slowly disperse water to the roots over a watering time of five to nine hours. Simply fill the bag with water, and it’s ready to use. 
  • Use water-retaining crystals or gel to retain water in containers so you don’t have to water them so often.

SHADE TREES FOR THE WIN!

As we all are are aware, trees are a crucial player in oxygen production and living organisms’ survival. But it’s time to give trees additional props for all the shade they provide as well. Planting 2-3 shade trees around your home can naturally help cool things off. Less use of the AC, more financial savings, and most importantly – Mother Earth Approved!

TREES TO PLANT NEAR YOUR HOME

While we are huge advocates of “the more trees the merrier” we don’t reccomend just any variety for planting directly near your home.

ORNAMENTAL

If you have a little yard, we would say ornamental trees make a perfect choice.  These types of trees are ideal insects and birds and sometimes can come with a gift in the form of fruit you can eat.  

CONIFERS

If you are looking for a way to protect yourself from curious neighbors that confer trees are the best option for you.  They are named conifers because of the cones they bear. They can also provide you with some shade. 

Trees In Full Bloom

Celebrate the arrival of spring each year by adding a spring flowering tree to your landscape!
 

Marcum’s Nursery has a spectacular selection of flowering trees in stock – crabapples, redbuds, dogwoods and flowering cherries, to name a few.  For the PIY (plant-it-yourself) gardener, we offer an abundant selection of flowering trees in containers. Or, if you’re in the market for an established blooming specimen, we have quite the selection! Come and get lost in our large caliper tree fields and discover several species of balled-and-burlapped (B&B) flowering trees. These blooming giants make for magnificent curb appeal at your home. And better yet (with trees of such size) why not let Marcum’s do the digging for you? You can schedule delivery and installation with a Marcum’s Nursery crew after picking out your new spring beauty! Whether you plant it yourself or have us do the digging, add a spring flowering tree to your landscape this year and enjoy beautiful blooms for years to come!

Check out some of our favorite spring flowering selections below!

CRABAPPLE

Crabapple trees are a stunning ornamental flowering tree, and their abundant blooms are one of the hallmarks of spring.  To choose the best crabapple for your landscape, consider the bloom color and mature size of the tree you desire for your space.  Here is a sampling of varieties currently in stock at Marcum’s Nursery:

REDBUD

Redbuds make an outstanding statement in the landscape as their vibrant blooms burst forth with color in early spring.  Oklahoma adopted the Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis) as the state tree in 1937, but there are many varieties of redbuds to consider adding to your garden.  Here are a few of the several varieties you can find now at Marcum’s Nursery:  

DOGWOOD

Dogwoods make a spectacular spring show!  In Oklahoma, they require protection from the hot afternoon sun, so their beautiful flowers are best suited to brighten up a corner of the garden with afternoon shade or provide pops of color as an understory tree.  Here are a few of the dogwoods you can pick up at Marcum’s Nursery now:

FLOWERING CHERRY

Flowering cherries are among the showiest trees you can add to your garden!  Plant them in a spot with plenty of sun to get maximum blooms while also attempting to plant them in a spot that allows you to admire them from inside your home….you’re not going to be able to get enough of these gorgeous blooms!  Come check out some of our lovely flowering cherries before they’re gone:

Pretty Pretty Petunias

PRETTY PRETTY PETUNIAS

Petunias are one of the most popular annual garden flowers for use in borders and containers.  In fact, the Proven Winners® list of its ‘Top 50 Best Selling Annuals’ awards the top three slots to a petunia variety. And it’s not hard to see why…

  • Petunias are prolific bloomers;
  • They come in a variety of colors;
  • They can be striped, veined, spotted or solid;
  • Some have single blooms while others have double blooms;
  • Some have smooth petals while others are more ruffled;
  • Some cascade while others mound beautifully in the landscape.

In other words, there is a petunia for every gardener!

PETUNIA TIPS

Petunias are some of the earliest annuals available at Marcum’s Nursery.  In Oklahoma, petunias provide spring blooms that last into summer.  Extreme summer heat can temporarily cause blooming to stop, but – if cared for properly – petunias will often bloom again in the fall.

Here are the keys to having success with petunias this season!

 

LIGHT

Generally petunias prefer full sun, meaning at least six hours of direct sunlight most days, to bloom abundantly. However, as summer temperatures rise, moving petunia baskets or pots to a spot with partial shade (especially shade from the strong afternoon sun) is a welcome reprieve.

PRUNING

Older petunia varieties require deadheading for continuous bloom while many modern, hybrid varieties are self-cleaning. Pinching back the tips will promote more branching, and you can always prune plants that become lanky and pull off spent blooms.

WATER

Like most annuals, petunias don’t like to be dry for too long; they also don’t like to sit in soggy soil potentially rotting their roots. Consistent watering is crucial to getting maximum blooms for most annuals, and petunias are certainly no exception.

 The amount of water needed varies based on multiple factors: temperature, wind, humidity, soil composition and whether planted in landscape beds, pots or hanging baskets. Set a schedule to check on and care for your flowers, and don’t allow the top couple inches of soil get dry.

 Here are a few Pro Tips around watering:

  • Some of our most successful clients report setting a daily reminder on their phone helps them stay on top of checking in on and caring for their hanging baskets and pots.
  • Soil Moist™ granules absorb water and gradually release it into drying soil. This can help your potted petunias better survive a period of neglect.
  • If you have an area you want to look really nice but that you don’t access each day, like a front porch for example, consider investing in an AquaPots® planter. AquaPots® are high-quality and durable, they come in timeless colors and designs, and they practically water and fertilize plants for you!

FERTILIZATION

Fertilizer is food! If you want petunias bursting with blooms, you have to feed them.

 Petunias planted in landscape beds don’t have to be fed as often because their roots can spread out to find the nutrients they need in the soil. To get petunias in beds off to a good start at the time of planting, use Marcum’s Nursery Redbud Compost and a slow release fertilizer, such as Marcum’s Nursery Flower Food (14-14-14) or ferti-lome® Premium Bedding Plant Food (7-22-8), then feed them on 30 day intervals.

 Petunias in pots and hanging baskets require more food to bloom repeatedly. For example, the hanging baskets in our greenhouses get a low dose of balanced fertilizer each day; however, you don’t have to fertilize daily to produce beautiful blooms. Many fertilizers only need to be used on 7-14 day intervals.  Some water soluble fertilizer options include ferti-lome® All Purpose Water Soluble Plant Food (20-20-20), ferti-lome® Blooming & Rooting Soluble Plant Food (9-58-8) and Marcum’s Nursery Bloom Max™ (10-55-10).  A couple of liquid organic options are ferti-lome® Fish Emulsion Fertilizer (5-1-1) and Fox Farm® Big Bloom® Liquid Plant Food (0-0.5-0.7). Be sure to check your fertilizer label for application instructions.

CURRENTLY BLOOMING AT MARCUM’S

Varieties vary by location. While supplies last!

Evening Safari Petunia

Bee’s Knees Petunia

Crazytunia® Blackberry Cheesecake

Crazytunia® Mandeville Petunia

Easy Wave® Burgundy Star

Crazytunia® Moonstruck Petunia

Petunia Capella™ Indigo

Petunia Capella™ Salmon

Petunia Headliner™ Pink Sky

Headliner™ Starry Sky Burgundy

Hello, Hellebores

CARE TO MEET THE PERFECT PERENNIAL?

Say hello to hellebores! This easy-to-grow, drought-tolerant perennial produces early, long-lasting blooms in addition to providing year- round interest with evergreen foliage. Hellebores are winter-hardy and require little attention to make it through the harsh winter months. 

Throughout most of North America, hellebores bloom in February or March often coinciding with the Lenten season. Keep reading for tips on growing these beauties and find out which varieties you can pick up now at Marcum’s Nursery.

CATEGORIES FOR HELLEBORES

The hellebore, Helleborus, is a member of the Ranunculaceae family. There are approximately 20 species of hellebore as well as various subspecies. Some of the more easy-to-find species and their hybrids are Christmas Rose (H. niger), Corsican hellebore (H. argutifolius) and Lenten Rose (H. orientalis).

Most of the varieties available at Marcum’s Nursery this season will be Lenten Rose (H. orientalis).

TIPS FOR GROWING HELLEBORES

LIGHT

SOIL

WATER

Hellebores benefit from sunlight during the winter when they are beginning their growing and blooming season, but they don’t appreciate the direct, hot sun of summer. If possible, site hellebores beneath trees that drop their leaves in winter to ensure adequate sunlight during bloom time and shade in the warmer months.

Hellebores like humus-rich, well-drained soil. Since our soil can tend to be heavy and higher in clay content, consider amending the soil with gypsum and organic matter, like Marcum’s Nursery’s Redbud Compost, before planting your hellebores; this will speed plant growth and establishment. Be careful not to plant hellebores too deeply. The crown of the plant should be just below the soil’s surface.

Soil around hellebores should be damp about one inch below the surface. This can usually be accomplished by watering once to twice per week. Once established hellebores are quite drought-tolerant.

PROPER DIVISION

HELLEBORE TOXICITY

Divide and transplant hellebores in the fall. Dig up the entire plant, wash the soil from the roots, then divide with a sharp knife between growth buds. Leave at least three shoots on each division.

All parts of the hellebore plant are toxic (which is one of the reasons deer and rabbit avoid them), so if you are sensitive to the alkaloids in the leaves, wear gloves when handling to avoid skin irritation.

CURRENTLY AVAILABLE AT MARCUM’S

Selections vary by location, while supplies last.

Ice N’ Roses® Red

Gold Collection® Merlin®

Ice N’ Roses® Rose

Ice N’ Roses® Rosado

Cascade Blush

Ice N’ Roses® Bianco

NASA Approved Plants to Purify Air in Your Home

Before investing in an expensive air purifier, we figured we’d try out a few houseplants first — they’re much cheaper— and look a lot nicer. 

According to NASA’s Clean Air Study, which was designed to find ways to clean the air in sealed space stations, plants can be effective to absorb carbon dioxide, release oxygen into the air, and remove pollutants like benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene. These chemicals can cause irritation to the skin, ears, eyes, nose, and throat, as well as some cancers, according to the EPA.

The study suggests that at least one plant per 100 square feet can effectively clean the air, so fill your space with these eight detoxifying plants, handpicked by NASA, to purify the air in your home.

1. SNAKE PLANT

Snake Plant otherwise known as the Mother-In-Law’s Tongue is unique for its nighttime oxygen production, and ability to purify air through the removal of benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, and toluene.

2. PEACE LILY

If you’re somebody that loves flowers in the house, this is a great option for you. A peace lily produces fragrant flowers all summer long, and effectively removes ammonia, formaldehyde, trichlorobenzene, and benzene from the air. It grows best in shady areas and with the soil kept moist. Be careful though, as this plant can be toxic if eaten by children or pets.

3. ENGLISH IVY

This plant is great at cleansing any benzene, formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene from the air as well as reducing any mold. The care for this plant is quite simple. It only takes three easy steps. First, be sure to keep it at a constant temperature, second allow it to receive plenty of direct sunlight, and lastly water often with well-drained soil.

4. BAMBOO PALM

This fast-growing houseplant looks majestic and is safe for children and pets. It will add moisture to the air in the dry winter months and it thrives in indirect sunlight away from any cold drafts. Take care of it by keeping the soil moist and misting its leaves.

5. RED-EDGED DRACAENA

This drought-tolerant plant is good for beginners. It thrives in light. Wipe the underside of the leaves regularly with a damp cloth to make sure it can properly filter your air. Place it in a semi-shaded area and mist the soil with room-temperature water, rather than drenching.

6. MONEY PLANT

Featured by NASA, the Money Plant is renowned for its ability to remove chemicals and other pollutants from the air, specifically benzene, formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene. However, despite the benefit of its high purification rate, this plant is toxic to cats, dogs, and small children if its leaves are ingested.

7. CHINESE EVERGREEN

The Chinese Evergreen is one of the most common household plants and for good reason. This plant emits a high oxygen content while purifying indoor spaces of harmful chemicals such as benzene, formaldehyde and other toxins. As its name suggests, it is quite popular in China specifically for its high efficiency in removing harmful pollutants from the air.

8. SPIDER PLANT

For those of you who are houseplant newbies, the resilient spider plant is a perfect choice. It will quietly battle toxins including carbon monoxide and xylene, a solvent used in the printing and rubber industries. If you have pets, this is one of the few houseplants that are non-toxic to animals.

Staff Favorite Trees

Flowering Shrubs That Love Heat

If there’s one thing we can count on as Oklahomans who continuously battle the ups and downs of our “all four seasons” state, is that temperatures are certain to substantially rise come July. And as plant enthusiasts, this sure keeps things interesting as our much anticipated spring season comes to a close. But what to plant in this heat!? As early spring bloomers shake off their color to prepare for another season, it can be a bit depressing to say the least. However, the sizzling Oklahoma sun is just what the doctor ordered for a handful of flowering shrubs. Here are 7 Marcum’s approved, heat loving shrubs to spice up your garden and bloom all summer long!

1. Althea

Altheas, also known as Rose of Sharon, love to show off their grand, papery flowers just as other blooms are beginning to fade in the late summer’s heat. As this flowering deciduous shrub thrives in late summer it’s no surpise that it’s a big fan of Oklahoma sunshine. Plant your althea in full sun in early spring or fall. While it’s not an early spring bloomer, the colorful tropical-like blooms of althea are well worth the wait! 

2. Butterfly Bush

Even in warmer climates, the butterfly bush needs full sun. And when we say full sun, we mean it – they require a minimum of 8 hours of sunlight! Large, brilliant, and long-blooming, these sun lovers will perform all summer (even into autumn) with proper water and deadheading. The most common cause of a non-flowering butterfly bush is improper pruning. If left to its own devices, a butterfly bush can turn into an unruly thicket with sparse blossoms. So deadhead accordingly!

 

3. Crape Myrtle

These drought tolerant summer showstoppers were made for Oklahoma heat! Besides their boisterious blooms that last throughout the entire summer (in some varieties until the first frost), crape myrtles offer a year-round interest. The foliage provides interest during the fall, while the shedding bark has an attractive appearance during the winter.

4. Indian Hawthorn

Indian Hawthorns can thrive in a wide range of temperatures and produce attractive foliage and flowers year-round making them an ideal canidate for extended blooms into summer. Not to mention Indian Hawthorns love sun. Hours and hours of it! Ensure they are planted in the sunniest spot in your garden. If the plant does not get enough light, it can become stretched and gangly looking in its efforts to search out the light, destroying the neat and compact form that the plant is famed for.

5. Rose

Shrub roses are looking fabulous right about now in early summer with lots of colorful flowers and lush, leafy growth. But, even the easy-care shrub varieties need maintenance to keep them healthy and flowering into autumn. Some summer pruning, feeding, mulching, and attention to spoilers, and you’ll be rewarded with an abundance of roses for eye-candy garden displays, or cutting for bouquets.

6. Viburnum

While planting viburnum takes place in spring or fall, these shrubs come into their full beauty through the summer season. Most viburnums prefer full sun but many will also tolerate partial shade. While not particularly picky about their growing conditions, they generally prefer fertile, well-draining soil.

7. Vitex

Vitex, also know as Chaste trees, grow and flower best in full sun. A little shade is tolerated, however the best flowering occurs with at least 6 hours or more of direct sunlight per day. The more sun the better for these vibrant beauties which makes them excellent options for summer blooms in Oklahoma. 


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