Dividing Hosta - 101

Choose The Right Season

Time is crucial when you decide to divide Hosta. Believe me this is something I know all too well. Many years ago when I was a newbie gardener, I decided to move a few because I didn't like
where I had planted them.....I had the mentality that if I wanted to move something, I would just do it. I guess I thought I had a green arm instead of a green thumb.(lol)

Well, I soon discovered that I couldn't just uproot something and plop it back down if it wasn't the right time or season. It was through trial, error and research from the experts (books) that soon taught me a better way of gardening.

Divide Hosta in The Fall

Spring is when some gardeners divide their hostas, however, this can have a negative effect on plants, especially in hotter climates. It's better to divide in late summer and early fall, preferably 4 weeks before the first frost.

 It's not that you can't replant anytime during a growing season because this is a tough plant, and with enough babying and watering, it can be successful, however it can be a bit stressful for both the gardener and the plant.

Get The Right Tools

Depending on the size of the plant and the condition of the soil you are going to need the right tools at hand. If your soil is humus and or light, and your clump is small, you can use a sharp knife with a serrated blade. A fork with flat blades and a spade or shovel is necessary if your clump is large (10 inches or more across the base of the clump).

Also, you might want to keep the hose handy or water nearby to wash the dirt off so you can see the rhizomes (from where the roots grow) and individual plants. Hosta roots are tough, so don't worry about hurting the roots when you wash them off.

Removing
Cut about 4 inches out and around from the base of a small plant or Dig 18 inches out and around from the base of a large plant.
Remove the plant from the ground using a spade for a small plant or a fork for a larger plant.

Separating 

You can separate the small ones by hand using your thumbs to get in between the individual plant stems, then pull apart, be gentle. To break the rhizome away from the crown, hold the stem and  use a back and forth motion until the rhizome is separated from the crown. If you loose some of the stems, well there's no worries because you will have enough of the rhizome to have a healthy plant.


If the clump is large, use a serrated kitchen knife to cut into desired sizes such as into a half, thirds or quarters. You can do this by spreading the roots and cutting through the crown not the roots, try to keep as many leaves and roots as possible, however if the clump is Ginormous, just cut half way through the crown and rock it in a back and forth motion, trying to pull it apart. If you can't pull it apart then cut a little deeper.

If you think that the clump is too large for a serrated kitchen knife, use a hacksaw, however be careful not to get the hacksaw stuck......remember to use the water to wash away dirt and rocks in the root structure.

Increase The Moisture

Cutting the foliage back at the time of planting will help to increase the ability to retain moisture and minimize shocking the Hosta.
Also, if you can't plant right away, be sure not to let the roots dry out. Put moist peat moss or dirt on the roots and put them in the shade out of direct sunlight, however if the roots do dry out, all is not lost.....just soak them in water for 2 to 12 hours before planting. Do not leave in the water longer than 12 hours because this can cause the roots to rot.

Time To Plant

Now that you have done all that hard prep work, it's time to plant. For plants that are a result of pulling plant apart a nice root balance, plant at original soil level with the white basil part just underground not to be seen. Roots that were washed by water, be sure to fan them out when planted in a nice size hole.

When you are replacing the soil over the roots, take the heel of your hand and tap around the entire plant and water well to eliminate  air pockets.

If you had to cut the clumps with a knife or hacksaw, plant at their same growing level as before or just slightly deeper (about a 1-inch to 1 1/2 inches), remember to eliminate any air pockets by heeling in with your hand and water well.

  • For the first 2 weeks be sure to keep your new plants wet, they should not be allowed to dry out, so water regularly.

Conclusion

This is such a rewarding way of enjoying your hostas for seasons to come and the satisfaction of knowing that you played a part in the beauty they will provide.

It's time for me to go.....I have some GINORMOUS hostas to divide!

Thanks so much for stopping by and please drop me a note....let's talk gardening!




From my "DIRTY" shovel to yours, I am wishing you all the best.