Sometimes, you may find that your coral bell plant is getting a little too big. In this case, you can split it into two or more smaller plants for healthy growth.
You can split a coral bell plant by digging up the plant, lifting it from the soil, brushing off the roots, and splitting it. When splitting the plant, ensure each section has at least three leaves. After splitting the plant, replant it in a pot with fresh soil and water it well.
In the rest of this article, I’ll discuss how to safely split your coral bell plant and the best time for this process. I’ll also cover how to re-plant the plant after splitting. Let’s get started!
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1. Dig Up the Plant
You need to access your coral bell (Heuchera) plant’s root system for a safe splitting. Therefore, you must start by digging up the plant.
The best way to dig up the plant is by thrusting a garden fork into the soil about 6 inches (15.24 cm) away from the base of the plant. You should then rock the fork back and forth to loosen the roots. You don’t want to lift the plant and leave the roots underground, as this will reduce its chances of surviving once re-planted.
Alternatively, you can use a spade if you don’t have a garden fork. However, you must maintain a distance from the plant’s base.
2. Lift the Plant From the Soil
After loosening the plant with a fork or spade, you should be able to lift it from the ground by leveraging the spade or fork up the ground. If you find that the plant is stuck, go back and loosen the roots some more.
Be sure to hold onto the leaves of the plant as you lift it; you don’t want to damage them. Also, take care not to pull up any other plants that may be growing nearby.
3. Brush Off the Roots
Now that you have your coral bell plant out of the ground, it’s time to remove any excess soil from the roots. Gently brush away any dirt with your hands or a soft-bristled brush.
You can also rinse the roots with water to remove any small pieces of dirt or debris.
Brushing off the roots helps them to enlarge, spread and grow in all directions without cracking after replanting (source).
4. Split the Plant
It’s finally time to split your coral bell plant using a sharp knife or garden shears.
Here is the splitting procedure:
- Make a vertical cut down the center of the root ball.
- Make two or three more cuts horizontally across the root ball. These cuts will create sections of the plant that you can divide into smaller plants.
- Split the cut sections with your hand. It should be easy since the root ball is already cut into sections.
When dividing the plant, be sure to leave at least three leaves on each section. This will ensure the plant has enough foliage to continue growing.
Each section should also have a substantial amount of healthy roots. If a section doesn’t have many roots, it’s best to leave it attached to another section.
Note: You should only split your coral bell if it’s two to three years old to get sufficient root cuttings for new growth (source).
5. Re-Plant the Plant
After you’ve divided your plant, it’s time to replant it. Choose a large pot for each plant section and fill it with fresh potting mix.
Place each plant section into its new pot and gently press the potting mix around the roots. Be sure not to bury the leaves in the soil, as this can cause them to rot.
Water your newly-planted coral bells well and place them in a spot with bright, indirect light. Allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings.
Here is a video demonstrating how to split a coral bell plant:
When To Split Your Coral Bell Plant
Splitting your coral plant at the right time increases its survival chances. So, what’s the right time for this process?
Spring is the right time to split and transplant your coral bell or any other plant (source).
Spring is the season when growth emerges in plants. Therefore, this is when your coral bell plant will have an easier time re-establishing its root system in a new pot.
Additionally, spring is typically wetter than other seasons, so your plant will have an easier time staying hydrated. Just be sure not to overwater it, as this can lead to root rot.
Factors To Consider When Splitting Coral Bells
As an enthusiast gardener, you must consider several factors before transplanting your coral bells. These include the following:
The Plant’s Size
You must consider your coral bell plant’s size when deciding whether to split it. A plant that’s too small won’t have enough roots to survive the transplanting process.
Additionally, a plant that’s too small may not have enough foliage to photosynthesize, which means it won’t be able to produce the food it needs to survive. Therefore, it’s advisable only to divide the plant when it’s at least three years old.
It’s suitable to transplant your coral bell when it’s not actively blooming. This is because the plant will put all its energy into growing new roots and leaves rather than flowers.
Additionally, you should transplant your coral bell when the weather is cool and moist. Avoid hot and dry conditions, as this can stress the plant and cause it to lose moisture.
The Soil Conditions
To ensure your coral bell plant grows healthy and strong, you must transplant it into well-drained soil. The ideal soil should be rich in organic matter and have a pH between 6 and 7.
You can test your soil’s drainage by digging a hole 12 inches (30.48 cm) deep and filling it with water. Allow the water to drain and refill it after 12 hours and time its drainage. If it drains within two to three hours, then it’s well-drained (source).
Coral bells thrive when planted in soil with the right amount of moisture and pH. In the right planting conditions, this plant will bloom in summer and spring, making your backyard aesthetically appealing.
Splitting your coral bell plant is an excellent way to propagate new plants. However, you must consider its size, weather, and soil conditions before splitting and replanting. Doing so will increase the chances of your coral bell plant surviving the transplanting process.
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