I’m really lucky that I live in the Midwest, and that hostas are so easy to grow! They are great filler and backdrop plants. They are the kind of plant that just keeps on giving. In fact, they grow and spread so well, that you often have to divide hosta to keep them healthy. They are also so effective at shading out other plants, and are great to use to crowd out weeds (but they can also do it to smaller plants too.). Their steady increasing is size makes them the perfect plant to transplant around your yard, or share with your neighbors. While there is a little work involved, it’s so worth it since hostas are one of those plants you can continuously make more plants from.
Once I discovered that there were more varieties of hostas than just plain green, and white edged ones, the hosta bug bit me pretty hard. I started buying ones with blue leaves, red stems, bright greens stripes and more. I have over 20 varieties, and am just slightly obsessed. I love that with dividing and transplanting, and I can sprinkle all of these different varieties all over my yard.
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My favorite tool to divide and transplant is called a perennial spade shovel. It’s a shovel with a smaller head, so it’s easier to dig behind your plants, especially in tighter areas, and plants with tightly packed roots. You can tell it’s my favorite shovel…ever.
While you can divide and transplant hosta at any time, it’s really best to do it when their little “noses” or buds start to poke out of the ground.
These above are almost a little past the early nose stage,and some of mine are already pretty well grown out. It’s easier when they are just buds. While you can divide hosta later when they are fully leafed out, the leaves don’t really like it, and they can get all wilty and sad looking,especially if you are doing it later in summer like late July and August. Then they really need to be back to the ground for their best chance of survival, and so it’s easier for them to put energy into rooting.
When to divide your plant? When they look a bit crowded.
You can divide and transplant one of two ways. The proper way would be to dig out the entire bunch, section them apart, then put a bunch back in where you got them from, and plant the rest or give them away. Or, you can do it like I do, which is the lazy way.
I only dig out the section I need from the ground, and leave the rest. I just backfill the hole left with dirt, water, and move on.
You can see these are a little more unfurled, but not quite all of the way. Once you have your clump dug out, use your shovel to “cut” apart the root ball. Hosta roots can be really tough and tight, so you might have to put some weight behind it to slice through. Cut them into smaller sections, with about 3 plant sections each, and plant those in the ground in a hole that matches the size of your root ball. Add more dirt around to cover roots as needed, and water.
It’s so easy! They’ll start to leaf out, and grow. I end up dividing my hosta clumps every other year or so. It depends on how badly the voles and mice have eaten the juicy inside over the winter.
You can see the middle of this clump is completely gone! Some small rodent snacked on it all winter. While they saved me the trouble of having to dividing my hosta, it makes me really upset when they eat an expensive or prize variety (I have friends who live in wooded areas and the deer also love them!)!
Hosta are such a carefree and easy to grow plant, and mix in so well with other plants, that you’ll love being able to plant them all over your yard. They do well in shade, part shade, and some sun, and are a nice plant to fill in those bare spots!