Hostas are such beautiful plants for the shady part of the garden. They have beautiful leaves and come in many varieties. They also have flowers in the late summer that attract bees to the garden too. They are a great shade plant.
But as they grow and get bigger you may need to divide them. Here’s how to divide hostas so you can share them or add more to your garden.
I’ve had two hosta plants in two pots in my backyard for years. Probably close to 10 years now. They flourish in the dense shade under our towering oak trees. Their green leaves with yellow edges are beautiful to look at and they are givers too.
Over the years, I’ve been able to divide those two hostas into 10 new plants.
I passed three plants onto a friend, another plant onto our neighbor and add one more hosta to our garden when I divided them this spring. Not bad at all for a small investment in our first two plants years ago.
To divide a hosta isn’t too hard at all. It takes a little patience and a sharp knife or spade. It’s a little work but worth it if you want to have a few new hostas around your garden.
When to Divide Hostas
I usually divide my hostas in the spring when they are just starting to bring buds up out of the ground. You want to divide them before the leaves unfurl.
If you want to divide them in the fall, September is a good time for our area here in the north. If you are in the south waiting until October is better. You want cool moist weather when you divide the hostas.
Dig Them Up
If the hosta is in a pot, gently go around the edge of the pot to loosen up the plant and then slide it out of the pot. Make sure the soil is moist in the pot before you remove it.
If the hosta is in the ground you’ll want to dig around the plant to be able to pop it up. If the soil isn’t moist be sure to water before you dig.
You want to dig around the plant to leave as many of the roots on the plant as you can. This will help to ensure a good transplant. I usually use the drip line of the plant as a guide to dig in a circle around the plant, to leave as much of the root structure as I can.
The hosta roots can be deep from 8-18 inches, be sure to dig deep enough. I know my potted hostas had roots all the way to the bottom of the container.
Dividing the Hostas
Once you have the hosta out of the ground it’s time to decide how to divide it. The fewer sprouts you leave the less mature the plant will be.
For my two potted hosta plants, I divided them into four plants. One fourth of the plant went back into the pot and the other 3 went on to new homes.
The more buds you leave in each section the more mature the plant will be.
If you have 30 buds or starts in each plant you could divide it into 30 plants but it would take a while for them to mature again. I like to divide them into fourths so each plant ends up being a really nice size.
To divide the plants I use a serrated kitchen knife. If the root ball is really big you might need to use a spade to cut it. I find the kitchen knife works great for my potted hostas when I divide them.
I always sterile the knife before I cut. To sterilize the knife add a little bleach to a gallon or two of water in a bucket and then let the knife sit in the bleach water for a few minutes. Before cutting the hosta with the knife I rinse off the water.
Once the knife is clean, look at the plant and decide where to cut to have the number of starts you want for each plant. Then cut from top to bottom to divide the hosta.
Transplanting the Hosta
I try to keep the full length of the root ball on the plant, to preserve as much root structure as I can. I find it really helps the hosta transplants well.
If I’m planting the new hosta in my garden I’ll prepare the hole for it by digging it a little wider than the root ball and making sure when the plant is placed into the hole the crown is at the same height as it was before. Then fill the new dirt around the hosta transplant.
If you’ll be giving your hosta babies away to others be sure to repot them right away. I know mine are always so root bound I tease the roots a little and then pot them. I keep them well watered for the first week and then go back to a more normal watering pattern.
When you transplant the hosta plants in the spring you might not even need to do much extra watering if the weather is cool and moist.
If you have a hosta plant outgrowing its pot or is getting too big consider dividing your plant. You can give a few away or add more to your garden. I know I get comments all the time from neighbors who love to see the hostas in our garden.
Be sure to visit the other Tuesdays in the Garden bloggers this week as they are also sharing more great diy projects too. Click on the photos or links below to be taken to the next project.
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