Learn how to easily divide your hostas and get twice the lush foliage and blooms for your garden – no cost required.

One of my all-time favorite garden additions is the beautiful, effortless, and easy-going hosta. These lush, green perennials are not only easy on the eyes but also incredibly low-maintenance and attract hummingbirds.

Over time, hosta plants can become overcrowded, leading to reduced vigor. The solution? Divide them!

In this blog post, I’ll walk you through the process with step-by-step directions to keep your hostas healthy and grow more of them for free! Don’t worry about damaging the plants—they’ll appreciate the attention.

Learn how to divide a hosta plant with these simple tips.

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hostas and impatiens in the front pond garden

Why You Should Divide Your Hosta Plants Every Few Years

Hostas are perennial plants that live for more than two years and return each growing season. Unlike annuals, which complete their life cycle in one growing season, perennials grow and bloom for several years, producing flowers and foliage that die back and return the following growing season.

To help maintain their overall health and vigor, perennials like plantain lilies, need to be divided every few years. Now this sounds like a lot of work, I know. But trust me, it’s worth the effort. Because you’ll get more plants for free!

It’s the best way to grow and care for your garden over the long term.

Dividing perennials is an essential gardening practice that involves separating the roots and crowns of mature perennial plants into smaller sections. These smaller sections become new plants.

This process is crucial for maintaining the health and longevity of perennial plants and ensuring that they continue to thrive and bloom for many years to come.

In general, perennials need to be divided every few years to maintain overall plant health, keep their growth size in check, prevent overcrowding, and it’s a budget-friendly way to grow your garden.

gomphrena and sweet alyssum with hostas in the front porch garden in new jersey zone 6a

When to Divide Hosta Plants For Best Results

NOTE: I live in New Jersey so my perspective and experience is based on the climate here in gardening zone 6a. Please check with your local cooperative extension if your climate and hardiness zone are different as timing may or may not differ.

In general, dividing perennials should be done in spring or fall when the temps and weather are most seasonable. It is better and easier to transplant divisions while plants are small or as they begin to go dormant.

I highly recommend avoiding summer divisions and transplants. While it can be done, the success rate is very low. And why mess up the appearance of your hosta plant while it’s in its prime anyway?

Through the years, most of my gardens were started with plant divisions. I have such a variety of plantings and I divide them every few years to expand my gardens.

large hosta with flowers

Since New Jersey weather is more seasonable during early spring or mid-late fall, I dig, divide, and transplant my perennials at that time. I prefer to do it when I don’t have to coddle transplants through the re-acclimation process.

For me, it’s much easier than doing it in late spring through early fall when the weather is hot and humid.

This is not to say it can’t be done from late spring through early fall because it certainly can. But it is much more work to establish transplants as the temps, heat, and humidity soar.

Since I prefer less work and maintenance in my gardens, I divide in early spring or mid-late fall because it’s easier to establish the divisions.

In early spring, I divide them when they are smaller in size. It is easier and less damaging to plants.

However, if I don’t get a chance to divide in early spring, I’ll wait until hosta plants start to go dormant in mid-late fall when I don’t care what the plant looks like after I divide and transplant it.

Another benefit to waiting until mid-late fall is that plants have more time to grow stronger root systems from fall through early spring.

Close-up of vibrant green and yellow variegated hosta leaves with purple flowers in the blurred background, in a garden setting.

Step-by-Step Guide to Divide Hostas

The best method to propagate hostas is to split them. It’s very easy to do, helps improve overall plant health, and can grow your garden in under an hour. And I realize this might seem a little intimidating if you’ve never done it before but trust me, you won’t hurt the plant!

Essential Supplies for Dividing Hostas

You probably already have most if not all of these supplies on hand, but here’s what you need to divide a hosta plant.

Keep in mind you may or may not use all of these items, but it’s good to have them on hand in case you do!

A vibrant green garden with a variety of lush plants surrounding a large rock, backed by a decorative green lattice fence.

Dividing Hostas Directions

Follow these steps to divide hostas:

  • In spring or fall, choose a cool, overcast day to divide your hosta plant. The easiest way to do this is after lots of rain because the ground will be much easier to dig and the plant will have been watered well making the process a little easier for you.
  • Dig up the entire root clump with a spade shovel. Be careful not to damage the roots if you can. It’s best to go around the perimeter of the plant first, then slice through to create sections so you can remove a hosta clump with ease. Oftentimes, I prefer using a garden fork after the spade to help gently lift the large clump out of the ground. But do what works for you.
  • Gently shake off the excess soil from the roots, and then use a clean garden knife or your spade shovel to divide the plant into smaller clumps. I don’t use a sharp knife for this because I find the roots to be a bit tougher, but I know some gardeners who do.
  • Each clump should have healthy new shoots and a good root system.
  • Replant the smaller sections in their new home at the same depth they were originally growing, then water thoroughly. Don’t worry if the sections are small because they will develop into healthy new hosta plants in no time.
  • Mulch around the plant base to help retain moisture.
  • Give them lots of water after transplanting. They need it!

Dividing hosta plants might seem intimidating at first, but it’s a straightforward process that can rejuvenate your garden and keep these beautiful perennials thriving. Plus, you’ll have extra hosta plants to share with friends or fill in other areas of your garden.

Happy gardening!

close up of hostas in the shade garden

Aftercare Tips for Divided Hostas

Proper aftercare is crucial to ensure your newly divided plantain lilies thrive. Here are some detailed hosta gardening tips.

Watering Tips After Dividing Hostas

Ensure consistent moisture for your hostas. They require about one inch of water per week. Deep, infrequent watering is better than frequent shallow watering. This helps the roots grow deeper and stronger. Applying organic mulch, such as shredded bark or leaves, helps retain soil moisture and keeps the roots cool​.

Mulching Divided Hostas

After replanting, add a 2-3 inch layer of mulch around the hostas. This not only conserves moisture but also prevents weeds and protects the roots from temperature extremes. However, keep the mulch away from the central crown to avoid rot​.

Fertilizing Hosta Plant Divisions

Plaintain lilies do not require fertilizing after dividing them. Instead, focus on providing your hostas with good-quality soil conditions. You can amend the soil yearly with good-quality compost, leaf mold, and mulch. The only time I fertilize my perennials is when they are grown in pots.

Pest Control for Hostas

Slugs are a common pest for hostas. Use traps, such as shallow pans of beer or boards, to attract and eliminate slugs. Handpicking at night with a flashlight is also effective. In cases of severe infestations, consider using molluscicides containing iron phosphate​.

Monitoring and Maintenance

Regularly check the plants for signs of stress or disease. Trim off any yellowed or damaged leaves to maintain a tidy appearance and reduce the risk of disease. In late fall, remove dead foliage to minimize the build-up of pests and diseases​.

A lush garden scene with potted plants beside a gravel pathway. The foreground features a detailed stone planter with leafy green foliage, while the background showcases various blooming flowers and vibrant greenery. Stone and mulch paths wind through the garden.

Frequently Asked Questions About Dividing Hosta Plants

Dividing hostas can seem daunting if you’ve never done it before. This FAQ section provides answers to common questions gardeners have about splitting and transplanting hosta plants. Whether you’re wondering about the best time to divide, the tools needed, or how to ensure a smooth recovery for your hostas, you’ll find the answers here.

When is the best time to divide hostas?

The ideal time to divide hostas is in early spring or mid-to-late fall. In spring, the plants are smaller and easier to handle, while in fall, they’re beginning to go dormant, making division less stressful on the plant

How do I know when my hostas need dividing?

Divide your hostas every 3-4 years or when they become overcrowded, showing reduced vigor, fewer blooms, or a bald center.

What tools do I need to divide hostas?

A spade shovel, garden fork, garden knife (or hori-hori knife), and garden gloves are essential. Mulch and garden soil can help replant divisions successfully.

How should I divide the hosta root clump?

Dig up the entire root clump and use a shovel or garden knife to separate the clump into smaller sections, each containing healthy shoots and a strong root system.

How deep should I plant the new divisions?

Plant the new divisions at the same depth as the original plant, ensuring the crown is just below soil level.

Can I divide hostas in summer?

It’s not ideal, as the hot, humid weather increases transplant shock. If necessary, keep the divisions well-watered and mulch to retain moisture.

How soon will the new divisions grow and bloom?

New divisions will quickly establish themselves and typically grow vigorously. They may bloom the following growing season.

How can I prevent slugs and deer from damaging my newly divided hostas?

Use slug and snail bait or systemic deer repellents to protect your hostas. To protect divided hostas from deer damage, you can also try fencing them in or companion planting with deer resistant plants they tend to avoid.

What should I do after dividing hostas?

Water the divisions thoroughly and mulch around the plant base to retain moisture. Monitor soil moisture closely in the weeks following division.

Can I share my divided hostas with friends?

Absolutely! Dividing hostas is a great way to expand your garden or share plants with fellow gardeners.

A lush garden showcasing a variety of vibrant green plants and leaves, with a large rock partially obscured in the background.

Final Thoughts About Dividing Hosta Plants

Dividing hostas is a rewarding gardening task that helps increase hosta plants in your garden. By following these step-by-step instructions, you can enjoy more free garden plants while maintaining the health and vigor of your hostas.

This process not only enhances your garden’s beauty but also provides an opportunity to share plants with fellow gardeners. Remember, the key to successful division lies in proper timing and technique, making these hostas gardening tips essential for any enthusiast.

Have you ever divided a hosta plant before? I would love to know more in the comments below.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear! And feel free to share this post with anyone you think would find it helpful too.

For more information about dividing hostas, please read the following university extension articles:

To drill down on more beginner gardening techniques and tips, please read these posts:

Thank you for visiting the blog today!

Enjoy your day! xo

Stacy Ling bricksnblooms logo

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Here are some plants you should try growing!

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