Dividing Bulbs


A few years after planting, you may begin notice that your bulbs begin to flower less freely. This is because most bulbs and corms produce offsets (daughter bulbs) around their base called bulblets or cormlets. If these are left to develop they start to compete with the parent plant for water and nutrients, which then begins to suffer visibly with a dramatic reduction of flowering. As a result, most corms and bulbs should be lifted and their offsets divided every few years to prevent overcrowding and to maintain their vitality. One additional side-benefit is that this will increase your bulb stocks for no extra cost.

In general, division is best carried out whilst the plant is dormant, although some bulbs respond better if they are lifted when they are in full leaf - also known as 'in the green'. These include: snowdrop (Galanthus), hardy cyclamen (Cyclamen), bluebell (Hyacinthoides), summer snowflake (Leucojum), wood anemone (Anemone nemerosa) and winter aconite (Eranthis).

Although division of offsets may be used to propagate many bulbs, some do not divide freely and may be increased instead by cutting them into sections (chipping), scaling or scooping. In this section we take a look at all four techniques, with step-by-step advice to guide you through each process.

Division of Offsets
A look at the technique of separating new bulbs from a parent plant to encourage growth and increase plant stocks.
Chipping Bulbs
This method involves cutting the bulb into several pieces to produce a number of new plants.
Scaling Bulbs
Find out how you can single and twin-scale bulbs such as daffodils, lilies, fritillaries and snowdrops.
Scoring & Scooping Bulbs
A useful propagation method that stimulates the growth of bulblets in plants such as hyacinths.