I'm seeking advice. I'm new to gardening. I have many hostas in my
garden and I'm looking to divide/moved some to another area in the
garden. How do I divide it? Do I have to get it from the root? I
tried but found it very difficult.
Thanks in advance for any advice.
"New to Gardening"
It's really very easy. The quickest way I've found is to use one of those
bulb planter hand tools like this one:
You simply drive it into the rootmass, being at least slightly careful to
get 3-5 shoots of growth. You also have the added benefit of being able to
pop out the exact size whole you need into which you will transplant your
You can also use a sharp spade, a 'hori hori' digging tool, a big serrated
David J. Bockman, Fairfax, VA (USDA Hardiness Zone 7)
My method is to pry the entire hosta from the soil and rest it on top
of a milk crate and then cut the entire mass in half with a machete and
a hammer or a bread knife. If the clump is large you can then quarter
it. A good size division will have 6 or 8 leaves and a solid mass of
root. Plant the divisions and water them well.
While you can divide hosta nearly anytime, I have the best luck with them in
the spring, just before the leaves start to unroll.
The primary method I use is to use a shovel to dig out the entire plant.
You need to insert the shovel about 4-6 inches from the periphery of the
plant. If it is well established, you may need to insert the shovel in
several places to loosen the plant. You can then get the shovel under the
plant and start prying. To make the job easier, water well the night before
you want to dig the plant. After it is out of the ground, I use a Japanese
folding saw or a large serrated kitchen knife (8 - 10 inches) and cut the
plant into segment. Try to position the knife so it damages the fewest
stems. I cut the plant in half and then split each half, and continue until
you have new clumps the size you desire. Larger clumps will yield fewer
large plants. I seldom divide even a large plant into more than six or
eight pieces, especial if it has already leafed out.
Before dividing the plant, make sure the area where you want to plant the
divisions is prepped. I try to dig a hole or trench that is at least twice
as wide and deep as the root mass I will plant. I like to mix a lot of
organic matter (compost, peat, etc.) in with the soil and add a handful of
high phosphate fertilizer. Plant the division at the same level they were
originally and water well. Unless you are in a very cool area, I would
expect some wilting. If they are fully leafed out, then they will look
shabby for the rest of the season. I would think about holing off until
fall or may early next spring.
In my experience dividing hostas is very troublefree. We have many in our
yard, and from time to time I use a spade to cut, and dig up an entire
section, root and all, preferably with soil around the roots, and put them
in pots and keep them moist. I have done that many a time to please my kids
or friends. Any time of the year really ! Likewise, to move them to another
spot in the garden. We have lots of shade and they seem to thrive there year
after year. Good luck ! Ben
My wife digs them up then uses an old butchers saw but any saw such as one
you would use to trim a tree limb (bow saw) would work, sure is faster than
knife or etc. and works well. We used an electric chain saw on one occasion
but it's kind of hard on the chain saw. RM~
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