Dividing overgrown Heuchera - need some advice

Grand Rapids, MI(Zone 5a)

I have a number of Heuchera and there are always some of them in need of dividing. The picture I have posted is of a 6 year old Hercules. It has not done too well the last couple of years because other bigger plants, some grass, has overcrowded it, and I think weevils have been having their way with it. Anyway, I dug it up because it has to be moved now. I can just replant it and wait until spring to divide it, would that be best in Zone 5? When I do replant it, I assume I could just chop it up and divide it, or I could take cuttings of the 5-6 inch stems. If I take cuttings of the stems how long should I cut them? As long as possible? If I do not care to re-pot the stems, will it restore the plant so to speak if I just cut the stems off and leave the roots alone? I have a number of straggly looking Heuchera that I need to deal with. When taking stem cuttings should I always wait until spring? Should I always pot them up , or could I just dip them in rooting compound and stick them in the garden? If I pot the cuttings up now and grow them under lights for the looong winter, will they get too straggly?

Speaking of pots, in another string someone commented about how she always grew her Heuchera in pots, I assume many of which were just placed in the garden year around, not brought into a greenhouse or anything, and I am wondering if that makes any sense.

Thumbnail by JoniJumpUp
Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

I have had the experience of worrying about when to divide heuchera. I tended to wait for a long time until they were heaving and scraggly.

I'm no expert on these but what I did successfully last spring is this. I always divided mine in spring (I am in your zone). By then they are often heaving bit. I would either tear them apart or take a sharp shovel and cut through them. I removed anything that looked dead. Then I buried planted them more deeply than before, so that the roots were further down. Then I surrounded the base with compost and soil. They came through beautifully. I would hesitate to do this in fall. I've never tried it, but I think the possibility of loss is much greater.

I do not think that there is any need to grow heucheras in pots, unless you are subject to special circumstances. I was moving three years ago, so I put a struggling heuchera in a pot. The first picture shows how horrible it looked after spending the winter in a pot in the garage. I moved in December and could not get it into the ground. This was in April.

The second picture shows it six weeks later, after I put the plant in the ground and gave it lots of compost and light fertilization. A much happier plant!

This spring I divided that same heuchera into three plants. All are thriving.

So, my advice would be to fill them in with soil and compost now, make sure they don't dry out, and ruthlessly divide them in the spring and bury them deeper.

I hope this helps. I am sure that others will have good advice.

Thumbnail by DonnaMack Thumbnail by DonnaMack

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