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How to Divide Hostas | Instructions and Advice

How to Divide Hostas | Instructions and Advice
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Dividing hosta plants is a great way to extend your garden without spending money.
Dividing hosta plants is a great way to extend your garden without spending money.

Hosta plants—leafy, shade-loving perennials—can be found in sizes that range from about 6 inches to more than four feet when fully mature. It’s a good idea to divide hostas once they’ve become established, typically three years or more after the plant has been growing in one location. Not only is this good for the plant, as it encourages new, healthy growth, but it’s also good for your landscape in terms of inexpensively expanding your garden areas using existing plants. Have hostas to spare? Why not share or swap them with fellow gardeners?

While hosta plants can be divided anytime during the planting and growing season (after the danger of a spring frost and before the first hard frost in the fall), planting, transplanting and dividing in springtime is ideal. If you miss the spring deadline, wait until the plant has flowered and the blooms have faded before dividing. This allows for the natural growth cycle of the plant to remain relatively undisturbed and will reduce the risk of the plant going into shock.

Instructions on How to Divide Hostas

  1. If the plant is small in size, gently grasp the base of the plant and use a shovel to free the roots from the dirt. For medium to large hostas, try wetting the dirt before digging the roots up.
  2. Shake the dirt off the roots and use your fingers to untangle and separate the roots of a few leaf stalks from the main plant. These stalks are now ready to transplant into a new area. Transplanting right away is recommended. If you are not planning to immediately transplant the divided stems, make sure the roots are protected in a roomy container with moist soil.
  3. Place the main plant back in the hole and refill the area.
  4. Dig holes as deep as the root system of the newly-dug hosta stalks and about twice as wide. Leave 1- 3 feet of space between each plant to allow for growth and spreading. A good rule of thumb is to space small hostas 1 -2 feet apart. For larger varieties, leave 2-3 feet between plants.
  5. Place the stalks in the hole and pat the soil gently around the roots.
  6. Water daily at the base of the plant for the first few weeks and avoid saturating the leaves with water to deter slugs. In a few years these transplants should be ready to divide.

While hostas are one of the easiest perennials to care for, they are susceptible to slugs and damage from deer who like to nibble on the leaves. Follow my advice to keep deer out of the garden naturally and Yankee’s simple tips to get rid of slugs.


Shelley Wigglesworth


Shelley Wigglesworth


Shelley (Fleming) Wigglesworth is an award-winning freelance journalist from Maine specializing in maritime topics and the commercial fishing industry. She is also a certified Maine Master Gardener who writes gardening articles on a regular basis for Yankee Magazine. Her work can be found in the following publications: The York County Coast Star, Portsmouth Herald, Bangor Daily News, Yankee Magazine (online), National Fisherman Magazine, Commercial Fisheries News, Tourist News, Points East Magazine, Coastal Angler and The Maine Lobstermen's Association’s “Landings.” Follow Shelley on Facebook.
Updated Monday, July 7th, 2014
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