Cardinal flower propagation from rosettes

Asked September 25, 2016, 6:37 PM EDT

Hi! I live in Ringwood, NJ, and I have a wonderful group of Cardinal flowers that grew to over 5 feet tall this summer (see Photo #1). Last fall, my neighbor gave me some basal rosettes, as well as actual little baby Cardinal flowers that were about a foot or so high. My husband planted all 8, and this spring we were so excited to see that 7 of them actually came up, and all but one sprouted many smaller stalks with flowers too. Anyway, my question is two-fold. I cannot find any info on the internet about how to actually separate and plant the new rosettes that are growing out of a few of my main flowers. So Question #1 is how do I dig the rosettes in Photo #2 out without hurting them and the parent plant? Do I need for them to grow to a certain size before I harvest them? Question #2 is that I THINK I have some baby plants growing from the rosettes (see Photo #3), but I am not sure they are babies or if they are just smaller stalks from the main plant. They do seem to be coming out of the ground and not attached to the side of the main stalk. If they are babies, how do I harvest these? Thank you SO much for your time and help in advance.

Passaic County New Jersey

1 Response

We referenced our perennial book called the Well Tended Perennial Garden by Tracey DiSabato-Aust. You may be able to find in the library.

Division can be accomplished by separating a side rosette from the parent plant in the early autumn. However, before you do make sure it has roots. If not, you may need to wait until spring. If the rosettes/seedlings have a root system you can transplant now.
Getting the plants through the winter is the trick. Leaving the stems on the plant for the winter is advised. .Also benefits from a light mulch for the winter but be careful because too much mulch can kill plants. Remove mulch as soon as the soil warms in the spring to prevent losses. Self sown seedlings are the best bet for longevity. Allow at least some of the flowering spikes to produce, and then drop, seed to ensure seedlings of this short lived perennial.