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Re: Heuchera Division

Thanks everyone for the great how-tos on dividing Heucheras.  I really don't
think propagation by leaf is for me.  I'm sure that once I get one dug up
it'll all be so much clearer to me.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Marge Talt" <mtalt@hort.net>
To: <gardenchat@hort.net>
Sent: Thursday, August 14, 2003 12:30 AM
Subject: Re: [CHAT] Heuchera Division

> Well, Kitty, I tried it in sort of a half-baked way - had taken some
> leaves to scan with long petioles and put them in vials of water.
> One stayed fresh for almost a whole year and put out a few roots, but
> no new growth ever happened.  Of course, I just left it in water and
> did not pot it up and eventually it shriveled and died.
> Subsequently, I read posts saying the petioles would root, but would
> not initiate leaf growth (this a report from a nurserywoman who sat
> in on propagation sessions from Heronswood and at a National Trade
> Show).  A response to that post said to have patience because if
> roots form it shows there is "differentiable meristematic tissue
> there.  Leaves may just take a long time to form."
>  - and then a post from Paul Henjum, a nurseryman whose opinion I
> respect, who said you need to pull the leaf off the crown and use
> rooting hormone and they will root in 4 weeks.  A third person said
> you have to take a heel cutting - which is what Paul must have been
> referring to when he said 'pull'  the leaf stem  - so you get a part
> of the crown with it...and this 3rd person said they were slow, but
> it would work...also recommended rooting hormone.
> Sooooo, my take is that they will, indeed, root from leaf cuttings
> but you need to use the hormone; take a heel and wait.
> As for division - mine tend to fall apart often - what you get is
> this bit of thickened crown area, which will initiate roots,
> especially in early spring before much new growth has happened.
> That's the part that seems to rise up above ground - like a thick
> stem...the part where the old leaf petioles were.  When a clump gets
> that way, I dig it up and replant it deeper and in the process,
> usually end up with one or two bits that fell or came off and I pot
> them up buried up to the leaves - have been known to simply stick
> them in the ground next to the mother clump, too and had them grow on
> as long as it's early spring and they aren't allowed to get dry.
> I don't know about splitting a crown and having it grow on - never
> tried that one.  Might do; who knows?
> What I find with over grown plants, is a group of crowns (your
> peripheral portions - like fat stems, sorta like the rhizomes on
> Geranium macrorrhizum) loosely connected below ground by a thickened,
> woody black bit that you can keep or discard or all the crowns fall
> off of, depending on the state of the plant.
> I find all Heuchera need to be either replanted deeper or divided
> about every 3rd year and some want it every year or they sort of
> dwindle away - some are worse than others about this.  I have also
> found the genus to be prone attack by black vine weevil larvae, which
> you don't find out until you go out to discover what was, yesterday,
> a lovely clump, is to day a wilted pile of foliage.   If you catch
> such a plant soon enough, there's usually enough left to pot up and
> it will root - so you don't lose the plant entirely, but it sure as
> heck sets it right back to day one.
> As I have been growing several forms for a few years now, I'm also
> finding that some last longer and are more robust in my climate than
> others.
> Martha Oliver (Primrose Path Nursery) once told me that some of the
> clones that are bred from west coast or Asian stock just don't stand
> our heat and humidity or our cold winters well and this seems to be
> true.  They are basically using east coast natives in their breeding
> program.  Only problem with some of their forms - for me - is that
> they need more sun and really prefer a faster draining - more gritty
> - soil than I can offer them...those don't do well for me,
> either....I've lost a few of them:-(
> Heuchera villosa 'Autumn Bride', which is a marvelous plant, hates
> me.  I have now killed 3 of them, from different sources, planted in
> different locations, and have another hanging on by a thread.  They
> seem to get some disease or other and just melt away.  Oddly enough,
> Heuchera villosa purpurea does better than most for me ...this one
> looks good all the time; has great staying power and makes a lovely
> big clump...go figure.
> IMO, Heuchera are not carefree plants, but they are such lovely
> additions to the garden that it's well worth the effort involved in
> finding ones that will grow well in what you have to offer and in
> mucking about with those who need frequent resetting.
> Marge Talt, zone 7 Maryland
> mtalt@hort.net
> Editor:  Gardening in Shade
> -----------------------------------------------
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> http://www.suite101.com/welcome.cfm/shade_gardening
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> ------------------------------------------------
> All Suite101.com garden topics :
> http://www.suite101.com/topics.cfm/635
> ----------
> > From: kmrsy@comcast.net
> >
> > At Suite 101, Marge wrote:
> > "Propagation is by seed or division in early spring (preferably) or
> fall (in
> > warmer climates) and - so I've read - leaf cuttings...Leaf
> cuttings, taken in
> > late fall, consist of the entire leaf plus a short segment of the
> petiole (leaf
> > stalk). I haven't tried this method, but it sounds interesting."
> >
> > Marge - have you tried the leaf cuttings yet?
> >
> > I've experienced the same problem others have had of some Heuceras
> pushing
> > their crowns up.  I recently read that they should be dug and reset
> every few
> > years.  But I wondered about dividing them; didn't seem to be
> easily done.  At
> > an OSU site I read, "division of plant crowns should occur once
> every three
> > years, with the woody central portions discarded and the younger
> peripheral
> > shoots replanted with their crowns well-covered in soil and mulch".
>  But
> > sitting here at my desk, I don't recall periferal portions.
> Perhaps I'm just
> > overlooking the obvious.  Would it be possible to just slice
> through the crown
> > so each section (that might have a new shoot) also gets a part of
> the roots to
> > go with it?  Hmmmm, and then there's leaf cuttings.......anyone
> tried that?
> >
> > Kitty
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
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