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We’re getting divorced. How do we split our plants?

Dr Green

Words by Dr Green

Photos by Jaap Scheeren

Hi Dr. Green,

My husband and I have recently split up and I filed for divorce. We’ve had many uncomfortable discussions, but none have got as heated as the one about who gets our plants, particularly the pancake plant and our cacti. My husband argues that he spent more time taking care of them than I did. But between you and me, his idea of ‘care’ is far from sufficient. How should we solve this? I’d rather not get our lawyers involved on this one.

Frustrated, Ina (42)


Hello Ina,

I’m sorry to hear about your divorce. If it’s any consolation, it sounds like you’re dealing with it better than my partner did. The restraining order has only just been lifted…

Fortunately for you, splitting up plants is easier than splitting up kids, especially when it comes to pilea and cacti. Just give your husband a few cuttings and let him grow his own.

With the pilea, you can probably already find tiny little plantlets in the soil around the plant. These are easy to grow because they already have roots. Follow the little plant’s roots until about 1,5 cm into the soil, and cut the stem here with a sharp knife. Plant the baby pilea in some soil and watch it grow.

For your cacti, you will have to literally cut your plant in half, or at least remove a large piece of the stem. Make sure it’s around 10cm, and make a clean cut with scissors or a sharp knife. Fill a small 9cm pot with some cactus compost and place the base of the cutting in the soil, about 2cm deep. The cutting should be able to stand up by itself. Water the cutting, and it will grow into a brand new cactus within a few months.

Simple! And by the way, if your ex doesn’t accept this offer then you know you’re well rid of him.

The Doc.

Direct all sharp objects towards your plants, NOT at your ex-husband.

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