Growing Hostas: How to Propagate Hostas

Published: 12th May 2009
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If you've tried growing hostas, chances are you'd like to add more to your garden. The good news is that these easy-going, adaptable plants are as easy to propagate as they are to grow.

Propagation by division

Think division when you're ready to propagate your hostas. Making one plant into two or more is a simple and effective way of increasing your hosta garden. It won't harm the "mother" plant at all, and in fact older hostas may benefit greatly from being divided occasionally.

When to propagate: As hostas get older and larger, you may notice bare spots in the middle of the mature clump. Dividing the clump will enhance its appearance and eliminate bare spots.

Best times for propagation: Springtime is perfect for dividing hostas. The process is easiest when shoots are only a few inches high and leaves have not unfurled. Be careful about over-dividing, though - a certain amount of root injury is inevitable and some varieties may dry out quickly after division if the weather turns very warm.

Hostas can actually be divided at any time during the summer, but when the leaves are fully opened it's harder to make divisions without causing collateral leaf damage.

If you divide hostas when the weather is extremely hot, be sure to water them thoroughly and regularly to avoid stress problems.

The only time when it's really a bad idea to divide hostas is very late in the growing season, right before the weather turns seriously cold. Hostas divided or planted at this time of year don't stand as good a chance of developing enough root growth to see them over the winter.

How to make divisions: The division method that is fastest, easiest, and the least traumatic for the mother plant is to use a sharp spade, shovel, or trowel to "slice" though the still-buried rootball. Simply cut away a section (like a wedge of pie) of the root clump without digging up the mother plant. Carefully remove the wedge and refill the hole with soil and compost; the mother plant will quickly fill in the area.

Don't cut away more than half of the original plant.

If the slicing method isn't feasible, you can dig out the entire root clump, make divisions, and replant, but this method is more traumatic for the mother plant. To make divisions this way, dig around the entire root clump and lift it carefully from the soil. If a lot of soil clings to the root clump, brush or gently wash it away so you can see where to make your divisions. Make the actual divisions by cutting with a clean, sharp knife.

If you'd like to know more about this fabulously foolproof plant, check out Growing Hostas - Pests and Growing Hostas - Wintering-over

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