An Alameda Garden: Propagation Month, Day 12: Dividing Acorus

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Propagation Month, Day 12: Dividing Acorus

I've been doing a lot of cleaning up and repotting plants over the last couple days and that included tackling a job I'd been dreading--cleaning up and moving the container where I keep a small fountain and a couple of water plants--a variegated acorus and an equisetum (horsetail). I've been procrastinating about it because I feared the plants would be a) mucky and b) seriously overgrowing their pots. They were.

First there was the icky job of emptying the container, bleaching it out and re-locating it to the deck where it will be easier to enjoy. The equisetum was fairly easy to get out of its pot, but there was hardly any soil left--just roots and muck. I used the jet spray of the hose to clean the roots as best I could and then re-potted it.

But the acorus was another story. It had so outgrown its pot that I had to cut off about six inches of roots that had grown out the drainage holes and even then I couldn't pull the pot off. I finally had to cut it off. You can see in this photo what a solid tangle the roots had become. I tried using the jet spray again to loosen the roots, but in the end I had to use a shovel to split the mass up into four sections, and then use my pruners to cut off the bottom half of the roots. I potted up all four sections and put the smallest one back in the fountain. The other three I'll offer to a friend who has a good-sized pond. I gave mine a haircut, so it looks a bit stunted right now, but it should fill out with a lot of new growth soon, now that it has some fresh soil for nourishment.

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