Helpful Tips

Plant Propagation
Potting Mix

Plant Propagation

• Please divide and transplant a few weeks before the Exchange & Sale. Perennials can generally be divided starting early in April, but need time to recover before the event.
• To divide perennials, lift the plant from the ground with a shovel or fork. Use a sharp spade to cut the clump into pieces. Transplant each new piece into a disposable pot, filling it with potting soil.
• Store the potted divisions outside and keep up with watering, since container plants dry out more quickly than those in the ground.
• If you plant seeds indoors and plan to bring homegrown vegetables, herbs or flowers to the Exchange, be sure to harden them off by exposing them to progressively longer hours outside before you bring them to the Exchange.

Below are some additional links to tips on plant propagating.

Propagating Opuntia


Free recycled pots and plastic labels will be available for you at the Arboretum. Staff and volunteers can direct you to them during normal office hours or call if you need other assistance – 610-328-8025.


Please include the Latin name on your labels. Specificity helps.

Hemerocallis—Yellow Daylily is acceptable, but if you know it to be H. ‘Golden Chimes’, please let everyone know.

Pencil weathers well on labels; if you use a pen please make sure it is waterproof! A brief description or a photo printed from your computer will make your plant, and you, very popular.

Potting Mix

As part of the Members Plant Exchange and in partnership with Redbud Native Plant Nursery, we offer a discount on pre-orders of Organic Mechanics Potting Soil and Biochar. Learn more about the importance of peat free potting soil.

Propagation Resources

You can of course do species-specific web searches on a dividing or propagating your individual plant selections. Below are some good general University articles on methods and timing of propagation. We also have useful references at the Scott Arboretum library.

Penn State Extension--Dividing Perennials

Clemson Extension--Dividing Perennials

Propagation of Selected Annuals & Herbaceous Perennials

Virginia Tech--Propagation by Cuttings, Layering and Division

Missouri Extension--Home Propagation of Garden & Landscape Plants

Book Review: The American Horticultural Society Plant Propagation