Are you growing hostas and not sure how or when to divide them? Learn how to divide a hosta plant like a pro with these simple tips.
One of my all-time favorite garden additions is the beautiful, effortless, and easy-going hosta. These lush, green perennials that are hummingbird magnets are not only easy on the eyes but also an incredibly low-maintenance plant to grow.
But over time, hostas plants can become overcrowded, which may lead to reduced vigor. The solution? Divide them!
In this blog post, I’ll walk you through the process with step-by-step directions so you can keep your hostas healthy and grow more of them for free!
And don’t worry about damaging the plant, because they’ll appreciate the time you put in splitting them.
Learn how to divide a hosta plant with these simple tips.
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Why Hostas Need to Be Divided 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.
Why We Need to Divide Perennials
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.
When to Divide Hosta Plants
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 is 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.
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.
How to Split a Hosta Plant
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!
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!
Directions for Dividing Hosta Plants
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.
More About Dividing Hosta Plants
Have you ever divided a hosta plant before? I would love to know more in the comments below.
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Looking for More Easy-Care Flowers to Grow?
If you want to grow a beautiful low-maintenance flower garden, you’ll want to grow easy care plants that require minimal work from you.
Here are some plants you should try growing!
- 5 Reasons You Should Grow Lenten Rose
- How to Grow Black Eyed Susans
- Purple Coneflower Care
- How to Grow Bearded Iris
- Growing Sedum Autumn Joy
- The Basics of Hydrangea Care
Garden Supplies I Use
I’m often asked about the garden supplies and tools that I use most. From pruners to deer repellents, here are some of my favorites in no particular order.
- I like to use a good-quality, potting soil, garden soil, compost, and perlite when planting. While I make my own compost, you can easily buy it ready-made for use.
- I have used this deer repellent with great success. But now, I’m all about this deer repellent that is systemic instead of topical. This means the plant takes it in as opposed to it just smelling bad.
- Hands down this is my favorite hand-weeding tool. You can use it to get underneath roots and loosen soil, and it cuts down on the weeding time because you work much faster.
- But I also love this long, stand-up weeding tool to really get around roses from afar.
- I use THIS ORGANIC FERTILIZER for roses because the blooms are more prolific and it’s organic.
- And I use this organic fertilizer for my vegetables and herbs in the potager garden.
- You’ll need a sharp set of pruners when working with plants and flowers. I buy a few so I can stash them around.
- I use these garden snips to deadhead and cut flowers from my gardens.
- Where pest and disease problems are concerned, if I need to, I generally use this insecticidal soap or neem oil to help control infestations depending on the issue. When using, only apply when pollinators are less active.
- This is my favorite set-and-forget slow-release fertilizer for houseplants, annuals, and container gardens.
- Whenever I stake my peonies or other plants, I generally use these grow-through garden supports because they work really well and keep the blooms upright.
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