divide my Hostas

Discussion in 'Plant Propagation' started by barb s, Apr 29, 2009.

  1. barb s

    barb s Active Member

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    vancouver, B.C.
    I have huge hostas that are just comming up now ( about 2" above ground)
    What is the best way to divide these

    Thanks for any advise
  2. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Denver,Colorado USA
    Hosta should be divided at least once every two or three years if they are to thrive. Early Spring is the best period to divide all plants except those that bloom in early spring, and Springs is the best time to divide Hostas. From the time the plant starts to show signs of life in earl spring until the shoots are two or three inches tall is the ideal time to split most perennials including Hosta. Hosta are among the easiest plants to divide. Dig the clump up with a shovel or spading fork so the whole clump can be broken up. Break the clump apart by hand, or cut it into pieces with an old knife. Be sure that you have some good sprouts and roots on each piece, and save only the best parts for your new plants. If part of the old crown is beginning to rot or deteriorate, discard it. Unless it is of utmost importance to get a maximum number of new plants, don't divide the plant into parts that are too small. Small plants are less likely to thrive. If the divisions are healthy and sturdy, place them wherever you want a new plant, at the same depth it was growing before. Keep it watered until it becomes well established. Hosta like cool shady places with slightly moist soil. - Millet (1,360-)
  3. kaspian

    kaspian Active Member 10 Years

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    Maine coast, USA, zone 5
    I have not found that to be the case. Perhaps it depends on variety. Maybe climate and growing conditions also come into play.

    In my garden, most hosta clumps don't actually look their best -- by which I mean, they don't achieve a fully grown and shapely appearance -- until they've been in the ground for at least two or three years.

    My favorite way of dividing hostas is to split the clump in half now and then, leaving one half in the ground. I begin by placing a flat-edged garden spade somewhere in the middle of the clump at about this time of year -- when new growth has just started, so that I can get a sense of exactly where the clump is located -- and then ruthlessly stamping down so as to sever the clump into two pieces. Then I go more carefully around the perimeter of only one half of the clump, usually with a smaller curved spade, and dig up the half to be moved. Which I then plop down into a prepared planting spot. I fill in the resulting cavity with good garden soil, and that's that.

    By doing it this way, the part of the clump that stays in the ground is not too much affected by the violence of the division, and will show itself well the first year. The other half will look okay, but much better in subsequent years.

    My hostas seem to be thriving quite nicely despite my failure to adhere to any sort of prescribed maintenance schedule.
  4. Pieter

    Pieter Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Richmond, BC
    That statement doesn't make sense, Hosta takes at least 7-8 years to mature. The only reason to divide any clump of Hosta is when it is getting too big and you start seeing what in Hosta circles is referred to as 'fairy ring', which is basically the no longer productive center of the plant and leads to a circle of shoots with a hole in the center.

    IMHO most people do not give their Hosta enough light. Hosta TOLERATE shade, they thrive with lots of light, which could be diffused, but you'd be amazed for example at how much better the vast majority of fragrant flowered cultivars will do in part-full sun. Fragrant flowered Hosta all have plantaginea genes in them and plantaginea originates in the prairies of China and will not flower UNLESS it sees mostly sun. In Japan it is not unheard of to cultivate certain forms of this specie in former rice fields, not exactly the most shaded place.

    Certain golden/yellow Hosta cultivars have a reputation for being viridescent but if you keep those in mostly sun you will find they will keep their bright colour an awful lot longer then their shaded brethren. The same for certain medio-variegated ones, such as 'Whirlwind' which if kept in mostly sun will keep its bright center whereas in mostly shade you'd have a hard time telling it was a variegated plant by the end of the season. And yes, Hosta like water, I have seen several examples where people grow them in flowing water at the edge of a stream.

    I digress, back to the subject at hand. Hosta can be divided most any time of year and most folks will do it just when the shoots are first starting to emerge, I do that myself regularly. That way there will be little if any damage to leaves and petioles. Folks who still propagate Hosta by division as opposed to TC will do their dividing in late May to late June, depending on where they are and what cultivar you're dealing with. Their reasoning being that you want the plants roots to be actively growing to help them come through the division trauma quicker and Hosta do not start to develop new roots until the start of the second flush of leaves. If I want to produce a large number of small divisions I will wait until that time frame and quarter slice each shoot in a process referred to as Rossizing.
  5. SanDiegoLarry

    SanDiegoLarry Member

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    San Diego, California, USA
    I have to agree that hostas don't usually need to be divided if they are in a good location. I also found that the amount of sun / shade they like is partly dependent on the dampness of the soil. The damper the soil, the more sun they could take. Full shade is probably a bit much, I usually went for part shade.

    I also tended to divide in the fall, so the plants could come up as a nice clump in the spring. Dividing them is pretty violent stuff once the hostas get bigger - one or two sharp shovels and a decent amount of work. Smelled a bit like cabbage as I recall.

    ....but I'm remembering all I knew when I lived in Connecticut, now I live in dry and sunny San Diego and I grow aloe and bird of paradise...

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