Dividing hosta plants is an easy way to maintain the size and shape of your plants, to propagate new plants for other areas of the garden, and to remove dead portions of the plant and to make it look nicer. Dividing is easy, once you know how to do it correctly.
How to Split Hostas
Should hostas be divided? Yes, they definitely should be divided for several reasons. One is that division is the only real way to propagate new plants. Hostas from seeds don’t grow true in most cases. Division is also a great way to clean up your hostas, remove dead portions, and keep them the size you want. Here’s how to do it: Start hosta plant division by digging up the entire root clump. Pull it up and shake off loose soil so you can better see the root system. Hostas have a clumping root system, so to divide a plant, simply cut through the clump with a knife from the crown down. You can also pry apart the root clump with garden tools, but this won’t give you as much precision. Cutting through the roots is fine, as hostas roots quickly regrow once transplanted. You can divide one plant into multiples, with even just one bud per division. Keep in mind that the fewer buds you have in each division, the less likely it will be that the new plant will bloom in the first year or two after transplanting. Of course, if you are dividing to re-size your plant, this won’t matter.
When to Divide a Hosta
Hosta plant division is best done in early spring, before the spikes have grown very high. You can do it at any time throughout the spring and early summer. The smaller the plants are, the easier it will be to divide them and to avoid damaging any leaves. If you are only dividing your hosta plants to maintain the size or to keep them healthy, you only need to do it every five to ten years. Hosta plants are very forgiving when it comes to being divided. They’re great for your first try at dividing perennials. Take care in ensuring each bud or group of buds has roots still connected and minimize damage to leaves. If you do damage any leaves, just trim them off.
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Mary Ellen Ellis has been gardening for over 20 years. With degrees in Chemistry and Biology, Mary Ellen's specialties are flowers, native plants, and herbs.
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