It's true, many ephemeral wild flowers dislike being divided, but a few transplant well, especially if the clumps are large. Care must be taken if one wants to divide in spring, for truth be told, just as the plant begins to fade for the summer, or autumn, when the plants are semi-dormant, remains the best time to dig and divide such plants, but few of us have the memory to find the rhizomes under the soil in October. Some of these plants such as uvularia and even Trillium, if they are of a clumping strain, can be divided while in growth, and even, while in bloom. With the heavy rain and a week or two of cold weather expected, I am taking advantage of this break, to quickly divide a few plants, including a perennial hellebore ( remember - a wildflower in Europe!), though not technically an ephemeral, they too can be divided if the foliage has matured enough.
Not truly ephemerals, as they stay green year round, hellebores can be divide carefully if the weather conditions are perfectly damp and cool, so with a week of rain expected, and an early growing season, I am jumping in and digging and dividing ' a few of my larger plants in the green' as they are done blooming. This is not ideal for the plant, and risky as a swing to hot, dry weather can prove deadly, sometimes it's worth the danger to get more plants. but with some faster growing strains, (which seem to be the muddier colors) it works quite well. Simply dig plants up, rinse off the soil, and separate by hand, or with a skillful slice of the knife ( avoiding and drastic cuts to reduce stress and fungus), divisions of 3-5 plants can survive often blooming again the following spring.
|With Hellebores, try to keep divisions large enough to reduce the stress of transplanting. Here in New England, this sort of division is best done just as the foliage matures, to reduce wilting, and just as seed pods are forming.|
I have a fondness for uvularia,it was my dad who first would point out that 'the wild oats' are in bloom". He taught me my first Latin name of a plant Uvularia perfoliata, which we kids would repeat and giggle, believing that it was a dirty name. His Uvularia perfoliata, I later discovered was actually our native U. sessilifolia or U. grandiflora ( they both have clasped leaves giving the illusion of a peforation in the leaf allowing the stem to appear to pass through it) but I never let him know that he was incorrect. It continues to grow in what is left of our woodland, if you can call it that, even though we are smack dab in the middle of a rather run-down city now.
|Anemone nemorosa 'double form"|
Some wildflowers, such as these rare Columbine (Aquilegia fragrans) which were collected on an Chadwell expedition to the Himalaya require a pre-chilling period to stratify the seed so that they will germinate properly. Seed raised rarities are not always easy, nor timely, but for some rarer wild flowers and ephemerals, one cannot simply divided the mother plant. Propagation from seed provides you with more plants that you will ever need. Extras of rarites like these, will be auctioned off at botanic gardens and plant specialist societies.
Sanguinaria, or Blood Root ( here, a double one) will divide slowly, but if one cuts the rhizome carefully early in the year, dormant eye buds may emerge.