How to Grow Plants by Division and Separation?

Gardening Basics
// September 17, 2017

Propagation of plants by division:

Propagation by division is the simplest method of vegetative propagation. The plants which produce masses of stems at ground level, each having its own root system, are lifted from the ground and divided into individuals. Many of the plants such as Aster, Chrysanthemum, Russelia, Plumbago, Tuberose, and most of the herbaceous perennials grow in clumps and can be easily propagated by this method.

division plant propagation

Image Source:

Division of suckers:

Some plants can produce new stems from the adventitious buds formed on their roots. These new extensions are called suckers. Stem suckers are also produced from the base of the stem below the ground level. These soon develop into healthy roots and should be separated and transplanted carefully.

Trees such as cork tree (Millingtonia), Bel (Aegle), Chrysanthemum, Ixora and Jasminum shrubs produce root suckers. Read about growing plants by stem cutting.

root suckers

Image Source:

Steps for propagating the potted plant by division:

  • Divide the plants under hygienic conditions with clean tools and hands.
  • Choose healthy and vigorous plant material for propagation.
  • Knock the plant out of its pot, and free the roots of surplus soil.
  • Pull the plants gently apart, and single out each with separate stem, leaf or crown.
  • Plot each division as a different plant in a suitably sized pot using a good potting soil.
  • Do this procedure at the time of re-potting the plant, once a year. Read more about ‘How should I repot my old plants!
potting plant divisions

Image Source:

Propagation of plants by separation:

The line between ‘division’ and ‘separation’ is delicate. The examples mentioned above are of propagation by division. Whereas in separation, the rooted or unrooted parts of the plant are detached from the main plant on maturity. These start to develop a new plant in the next season. Many of these plant parts are genetic modifications of stems, meant for vegetative propagation only. Read about growing plants by air layering.

plant propagation methods

Image Source:

Separation of modified stems:


It is a subterranean stem that arises from the lateral bud of the main stem at the ground level. The rhizomes extend underground near the surface horizontally. The most typical example of Rhizome is Canna indica, where rhizomes are divided into bits, each piece capable of forming a new plant.


Image Source:


When the rhizomes remain above ground and creep along forming roots are clusters of leaves at each joint; these are termed as runners. Eg. Ferns.

runners plants

Image Source:


It is a slender branch which naturally produces roots and bears a bud at its tip, thus forming a new plant. A stolon may be constructed above ground like in Spider plant (Chlorophytum) or underground as in some ornamental grasses.

stolon examples

Image Source:


These are short, thickened parts of near-ground branches which store large quantities of plant food, mainly starch. Potato is the best example of Tuber that can reproduce naturally.


Apart from these, propagation of plants by separation of bulbs is an elaborate method. For more details, read our blog on How to grow plants from bulbs.

Lets Ugaoo!



Gardening Basics