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Dividing Hostas – 5-Step Guide

Like most plants, Hosta grows in size, so sooner or later, every gardener faces the problem of splitting hostas.

This process is not very complicated, and even a beginner gardener can do it, especially if he is well informed about all the intricacies of the dividing hostas. This is what we discuss in this article, let’s go!

When to Divide Hostas?

First, you need to decide when to divide hostas. The season is crucial for the success of the process.

The best time to divide hostas is spring and early fall. Also, experienced gardeners prefer late summer. This time is considered the best for various reasons; let’s discuss it in more detail below.

The benefits of these two seasons:

  • Leaves hosta do not evaporate much moisture.
  • Humidity is higher than in summer.

When you dig up a hosta, you will damage the root system, which is why spring and autumn are more good for this.

The best time to divide depends on your climate

The best time for dividing in spring is:

The best time for dividing in fall is:


The table shows the best time to separate different types of hostas.

 Size of Hosta Spring dividing Summer dividing Fall dividing Winter dividing
Large, Medium best time yes best time no
Mini best time no yes no


Spring separation can be done for about 30 days when young sprouts just appeared from under the ground until the leaf unfolds. This is an ideal time, later the leaves will evaporate too much moisture, and the plant will be tough.

I tried to separate hostas in the early spring and can say that it is possible. When the buds on the rhizome became barely visible in early March, I dug the plant and divided it.

At the beginning of my acquaintance with these plants, I cut the rhizome into too small pieces. As a result, some divisions not survived. We can conclude that it is possible to split Hosta in March, but if you can wait until April or May, it is better to postpone the split.

Also, you must consider your climate zone and the weather as a whole. What can be said for sure that it is impossible to separate when the soil is still frozen. Also, do not divide unless the plant shows signs of life (enlargement of buds, etc.).

This hosta is ready to split.


Dividing hostas in the summer is also possible, especially if it is the beginning or end of summer. In my opinion, the best time to split miniature varieties is the first half of June. At this time, it is humid enough, and there is not too much heat.

In July, the sun shines too brightly and dries the earth quickly, so it’s best not to split hosta at this time. However, if you do not have the time and another period, then you can do it. In the middle of summer, I recommend split only large or medium varieties that already have a large rhizome. We will discuss this in more detail below.

The second half of August is the next favorable period of summer when you can start dividing. At this time, I also recommend dividing only medium and large varieties.


In fall, as well as in spring, you have about one month to splitting hostas. This is approximately the end of August throughout September. The timing depends on how much closer to the south you live.

The lack of heat and humid weather makes the beginning of autumn the ideal time to separate hostas.

The beginning of September is, in my opinion, the best month to split (USDA Zone 6). Depending on where you live, this period will be different. In warmer climates, separation may take place in the second half of September. If you live in the north of the USA, it is better to do it at the beginning of autumn.

More than 30 days must remain before the first frosts. A 30-day period is required for the plant to take root and survive the winter well.

I do not recommend dividing hostas in late autumn, the plants may not have enough time to take root, and they may die in the winter. In general, the second half of autumn is not suitable for the vegetative propagation of these plants. If you do not have time at the beginning of autumn, wait until next spring.

I want to say a few more words about separating hostas in winter: do not split hostas during winter! Otherwise, they will die. Even if winter is warm and there is no frost, cutting the rhizomes increases the risk of rotting, so do not do it in any case.

Choose the right tools

To divide the bush of hosta, you will need some tools. Here’s a list of what you’ll need:

  • shovel;
  • basket or box;
  • knife;
  • saw;
  • pruning shears.

The shovel is needed for digging hostas. It would be best to choose a narrow shovel to make it easier to dig up the plant. The main thing is that your tools were sharp enough.

A basket is needed to move the plant to a new location. Choose a bucket the size of your hosta. If the bush is huge, use a wheelbarrow.

The knife is suitable for separating small hosta bushes, and for cutting off damaged parts of the plant, it should be sharp.

The saw is necessary to separate large bushes hosta, which cannot be divided by hands or knife.

Use pruning shears to trim the damaged leaves.

I recommend sharpening the entire tool well before you begin. Also, disinfect everything with an antiseptic; this will help prevent infection.

Dig a plant

When hosta grew big enough, it was time to split it. There may be several reasons for dividing; maybe you want to share the plant with a friend, perhaps the plant is already not enough space, or you want to have two or more bushes hosta of the same variety.

It would be good if it rained before digging if it did not rain, then water the plant 1-2 days before dividing. Start digging in the morning or evening.

For separation, dig a plant with a shovel, but be careful not to damage the roots and stems with leaves. Dig around a bush 5-10 inches from the stems to a depth of 10-18 inches, depending on the variety. Then pull a plant with roots out of the ground. Drag the bush to the side to clear it.

If the hosta variety is large or the plant has grown very much, you may need another person’s help.

Clean the roots

Clean Hosta roots

To better see the structure of the roots, clear them of soil. If the soil is not very wet, clean it with your hands or a soft brush; try not damage the thin roots.

If the soil is wet, wash the roots with water, use the garden hose with a sprayer. After cleaning, the roots should be visible to you.

You can split the bush hosta, for example, into four parts with a shovel without cleaning the roots of the soil. However, if you want to divide the plant into many pieces and do it right, you must clean the dirt from the roots.

Once I dug up the hosta and did not clean the roots and immediately divided it into three parts. I then planted in a new place. The divisions survived and began to grow rapidly. They withstood the separation well, and this is because the root system was not damaged.

Split Hosta

If you divide hosta in spring, leave at least three teeth (sprouts) on each part. Also, there should be roots; the more roots, the better the plant will take root in a new place. Do not divide into tiny parts. Depending on the size of the bush and on your goals, use different tools.

If the rhizome is large and you want to split it into two or three parts, you can use a shovel. If you need more parts, then use a saw or knife.

The 3-4-year-old rhizomes are quite solid, so you have to make considerable efforts. During the split, you will damage some young shoots; unfortunately, it will not be avoided.

If you divide in summer or autumn, leave at least three stems with leaves on each division. Otherwise, the plant may die or take a long time to root.

It is better not to divide hostas in the middle of summer, but if you need it, then try to give them more shade and water.

In the fall, separate hostas before their leaves turn yellow. In some varieties, the leaves turn yellow in late August or early September, so they need to be separated earlier.

If the bush is small, you can divide it into parts with your hands, grab your fingers with the part of the bush that has already formed into a separate plant, and gently tear it off. Also, a small bush can be divided with a knife.

For the separation of miniature varieties, it is best to use the most sterile conditions. Treat all tools with antiseptic. Clean the plant from dirt and place it on a cutting board. Then gently cut with a sharp knife into two parts in the thinnest place.

Next, dust the wounds with ashes and put hostas in pots. Place the pots in the greenhouse, then shade them. The air temperature in the greenhouse should not exceed 77 ° F. The best time to split the miniature hostas is the start of summer.

That all, your plant is ready for transplanting to a new place or as a gift to a friend.

One day I cut large hostas bushes that had been growing in one place for over five years. The rhizome was so hard that I couldn’t separate it with a spade or knife. I used an ax for this, just chopped the bush into four pieces. As a result, everything ended well.

How often can hostas be separated?

The more often you split your hostas, the further delay when they become mature and show their varietal characteristics.

Do not separate hostas too often; do it once every 3-5 years, depending on the variety. Divide large hostas less often than medium ones.

After dividing

After you have divided the rhizomes, you need to treat the wounds. First, spray the wound with a solution of fungicide, let dry the solution slightly. Next, dust the wound with crushed ash. All these measures will protect the plant from rot and other infections.

Also, to make the plant easier to recover, you can cut 1-2 leaves; this will reduce the amount of evaporated water and stimulate the plant to new growth.

Water the plant often enough at a new place but do not create a swamp around it.

If possible, additionally shade your hosta for several weeks. It will also be useful to moisten the leaves twice a day.

Some huge hosta varieties reach their peak growth at 6-7 year growth. Then they slow down growth. Until this time, they should not be separated.

If you did everything correctly, in a short period, you wouldn’t even notice that your hostas were separated.

People also ask

When to divide hostas zone 5?

In zone 5 hostas, it is better to divide at the beginning of September as it can be too cold later. For zones 3 and 4, you need to start a little earlier, somewhere in late August. For zones 6-8, the separation of hostas can be delayed until the second half of September.

Can you divide hostas in June?

It is better not to split hosta in the summer because the weather is too hot, and the divided plants may die. However, if you have experience growing hostas, you can try to split up. There are successful examples of dividing hosta in the summer, but this will require a greenhouse.

Can you divide hostas anytime?

No, you cannot separate hostas at any time. In winter and hot summer, you cannot split hosta; otherwise, the plant will die. Also, do not do this during flowering.

How to divide hostas in pots?

To separate hosta in a pot, you need to take it out of there, clean the roots of dirt and divide the plant as described in the fourth step (see above).

How often divide hostas?

Hosta does not need to be divided too often. Do this once every 2-3 years, depending on the variety. Large and slow-growing varieties you should divide once every 4-6 years. Frequent separation does not allow the plant to show all its decorative characteristics.

Can you divide hostas in late fall?

Late fall is not the best time for separation. The plant may not have enough time to recover before the first frosts, and you can lose it— divide hosta in the early fall.

When is the best time to split the blue hostas?

The best time to split blue hostas is the same as any other hostas. It is best to do this in the spring or early fall.

When to divide hostas Zone 7?

The climate is warm enough in this climate zone so that you can split hostas around mid-April. Another suitable period is the second half of August.

Can I divide a hosta without digging?

Yes, it is possible. Sometimes, you don’t have to split the whole bush, and you only want to cut a small part of it. You do not need to dig the rhizome.

Dig a small hole on one side of the plant. Next, cut a piece of the rhizome as if you were cutting a cake. Try to keep the maximum number of roots in the division. Pour the wounds with ashes and fill the pit. The cut piece can be planted in a new place.