To cover more ground more quickly, learn to divide perennials. Then, think small.
A perennial plant increases in size more quickly when it is split since more roots are freed to grow outward from the clump.
This hardy hibiscus (H. moscheutos hybrid) will grow outward from its 75 inch circumference to cover about 7 square feet next year.
If split in two along the blue line – it takes a saw to part such a woody clump but while we have it out of the ground, why not? – each clump could cover four square feet.
Split into quarters, each could cover three square feet. The four would immediately cover an area nearly twice that of the original plant. and grow quickly beyond.
The speed of hibiscus’ spread may be purely academic in most gardens, where there may be room for just one plant of such size.
We began summer with one pot of wooly thyme. After three months, the original plant had increased so that we could divide from it the five pieces in this photo. Each is as large as the original plant.
Given room to grow on all sides as you see here, each piece will increase sixfold again. It may be that as soon as next June we can expand the bed edge, divide again and net enough thyme to cover the ground halfway to the pavement. That would mean one pot of thyme had managed to cover about 60 square feet. We might be halfway to our goal of a no-mow lawn alternative for the price of one perennial plus our dividing time.
You can divide any time. Early fall is the best time to divide perennials. Everything can be divided.
We offered a free webinar, Dividing Perennials and recorded it, too! It’s all the how-to you need and you can view the recording from the links on our webinars page. Use this link to go to our View Webinars page, then scroll down to "Dividing Perennials" for the links to the recording.
Or search GardenAtoZ.org for “divide’ to find the many illustrated articles we have posted on the topic. Have fun, save money, cover ground!