The Q&A Archives: Dividing Artemisia

Question: I have some of the really big artemisia in my garden. I want to divide it and spread it around. Most of it never died back from last summer even though we have had freezing weather. Also, is there a ground cover that I can start from seed by direct planting outdoors? I have a huge area which would take too many plants if I bought them in pots. If there are some, would they take forever to take hold? Thank you so much for all the fine help you people have offered in the past. I really appreciate it!<br>

Answer: Artemisia is really easy to divide, but I would wait until the spring if I were you. I grow 'Silver King' which needs dividing quite often. I simply plunge a transplanting spade into the clump and start dividing. You can also dig up entire clumps and using a sharp knife, cut apart divisions. You will be amazed at how many divisions you get...enough to share with friends! <br><br>Ajuga and Vinca minor are great ground covers to spread on a large area in a short amount of time. Prepare the area, giving them a nice rich area to grow in. If possible, till the soil and work in some organic matter such as compost, leaf mould, or composted cow manure. Don't let the area dry out while the plants are settling in.<br><br>Some plants are difficultto grow from seed, either having demanding requirements for germination, or because as hybrids they don't produce seed that grows true to type. A good alternative is to purchase "plugs", or small plants. You can space both ajuga and vinca plants about 2 feet apart in all directions, and they will grow to fill in the area. (You'll need to keep the area weeded in the meantime.)<br><br>Burpee sells a new hybrid vinca named 'Blue Pearl' as well other color vincas; the price is $29.95 for 58 plants. Visit Burpee's web site at, or call 1-800-888-1447.<br><br>Ajuga is available from Gurney's; you can get 15 ajuga plants for around $14.00. Contact Gurney's at (605) 665-1930 or write them at 110 Capital St., Yankton, SD 57079. <br>

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