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Dividing Hostas and Other Perennials

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Crowded plants often look unhappy because they don’t have room to spread out and reach their full potential. This is especially true for hostas and other perennials that return year after year. Learn how to divide these plants so they’re more attractive and less prone to pests and disease. As a bonus, you’ll end up with extra plants.

Hostas in garden and hostas being divided.
Crowded hostas that need to be divided.

When to Divide and Transplant Hostas

Although you can divide most perennials any time during the growing season, fall and spring are best because cooler temperatures and more ample moisture mean less stress for plants once they are divided and transplanted. Wait to divide plants until they are large enough to separate into multiple sections. This large clump of hostas can be turned into a dozen or more plants.

Digging up clump of hostas.

How to Divide Hostas

Begin by digging deeply around the perimeter of the plant with a shovel, then push down on the handle like a lever to lift the clump out of the ground. Note: Watering plants a day or two beforehand will soften the soil and make digging easier.

Cutting clump of hostas in half.

Once the clump is removed from the ground, use the shovel to split it in half to make it easier to work with. With smaller clumps, this may be the only step necessary before replanting. With larger, overgrown clumps like this, further dividing is necessary.

Split clump of hostas into small sections with serrated knife.

With a saw or serrated knife, divide each clump into small sections to be replanted. Discard any sections with dead stems or minimal roots (often found in the center of old perennials).

Small section of hosta roots held in hands.

Each new section should have at least three sets of shoots arising from the root crown (where stems and roots meet). Note: If you can’t see the root crown, remove some of the soil and debris at the base of the foliage by hand or with a jet of water.

Transplanting hosta sections in garden.

How to Transplant Hostas

Replant these small sections, allowing enough space for plants to mature. Note: If you are giving the divisions away, place them in old nursery containers and pack the roots with moist soil. Keep them watered and in the shade until they’re ready for their new home.

Watering replanted hosta sections.

Water deeply after planting and weekly throughout the growing season if rainfall is lacking.

Hostas are one of the many perennials that benefit from periodic dividing. --Lowe’s Creative Ideas

Dividing plants is easy. And it’s a win-win, too. Your garden will look better and you’ll have lots more plants available—for you or for family and friends.


Explore more garden tips and ideas:

Growing Hostas

10 Easy Perennials Anyone Can Grow

Plant a Perennial Border