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Transplanting Hostas (How To Do It Right)

Today we will talk about transplanting hostas, and below you will find a guide where each step of transplantation is described in detail.

You will learn how to transplant hostas during the reading and what time it is best to do. Also, at the end of the article will be answers to common questions.

When to Transplant Hostas?

The best time to transplant hostas is spring and fall. It is better to transplant hostas in the spring when the young shoots have already appeared, but the leaves have not yet unfolded. In autumn, it is best to transplant before the leaves turn yellow.

Season Recommendations
Spring best time
Summer not recommended but possible
Fall best time
Winter not recommended

During spring, the plants are intensively growing, and it will be easier for them to establish in the new place. Also, they will have a lot of time to prepare for winter. It is best to transplant when the plant came out of hibernation and began to grow. For different states, it can be April-May.

In March, it is usually too early to transplant because hostas are still asleep. Transplanting at this time can lead to stress, and the plant will be difficult to take root in a new place.

The next favorable period for transplantation is the end of August or the beginning of September. The weather is not as hot as in the middle of summer, and the humidity is higher. If you transplant a hosta in the early fall, it will have enough time to take root until winter.

Some experienced gardeners say that it is better to transplant in early fall than in spring because the ground is warmer. In such conditions, the roots grow faster. Besides, the plant does not need to expend energy on the growth of new leaves and stems but only on forming new roots.

The best time to transplant depends on your climate

The best time for transplanting in spring is:

The best time for transplanting in fall is:

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Transplanting is best done in wet weather but not in heavy rainfall. If there is no rain, then water hosta several times. If the weather is sunny and dry, replant your plants in the early morning or evening when there is no sun.

Do not transplant hostas during flowering because it will be challenging for your plants. If hosta has already begun to bloom, then cut the peduncles. This will make it easier for the plant to establish itself.

You can also replant the hosta in the late fall, but it is essential not to damage the plant’s roots. However, if the plant does not have time to take root before winter, then in the future, there may be problems with it, or it will lag in growth.

In summer, hostаs can also be transplanted, but more frequent watering will be required. Avoid transplanting in the summer heat. You do not want your hosta to fade. Choose a day when the weather will be cloudy and humid.

Use quality tools

For transplanting the hosta, you will need some tools. First of all, you need to have a basket or box for transferring plants to a new place. Choose a large basket because the underground part of the plant is quite large.

If your hosta has several years, you will need a wheelbarrow to transport the plant and help another person.

You will also need a quality shovel to dig the hosta. Since the bush hosta is a vigorous plant, you need to use quality tools for transplanting. Besides, you will need pruning shears to remove leaves that will damage during transplanting.

Transplant to shade or half-shade

A new place for hosta should be in the shade or partial shade. The soil at the transplant site should be moist, but there should be no stagnation of water.

It is better to choose a place behind a house on the north side.

Hostas can also be planted under large trees, such as conifers. Blue varieties do not tolerate the sun, so plant them in full shade. There they will have a rich color. If you plant in full sun, they will burn. In the partial sun, they will have a pale color.

Varieties with white or yellow stripes on the leaves can be planted in partial shade. They can withstand 4-5 hours of direct sunlight. They can be planted on the east or west side of the house. In full shade, variegated hostas will not have color contrast.

Allocate more space to hosta than before so that it has much to expand in the future. The general recommendation is to plant the hostas at a distance equal to the largest variety’s diameter (mature size). You can read more about the distance between hostas in my article – How far apart to plant hostas.

Dig-up the plant carefully

Dig hosta carefully, step back 6-8 inches(10-15 cm) from the stems and dig a shovel around the bush. Then lift the rhizome with a shovel. The small roots can be trimmed a little. Most of the roots mustn’t be damaged. Also, try to keep as much soil as possible at the root.

If you follow all the recommendations, the plant will almost not feel the transplant.

In case you damage the roots or rhizome, then the hosta may get a transplant shock. The leaves may wither or die. To help the plant, water it more often. If that doesn’t work, cut off all the leaves so that the plant evaporates less water. Over time, the plant will recover.

Also, spray the wounds with a fungicide and dust with crushed ash. This will prevent infection.

Do not deepen the rhizome

Put the dug plant in a basket or load on a wheelbarrow and transfer it to a new location.

Before planting, prepare the soil. As I mentioned, the hostas love moist soil but without stagnant water. It will also be useful if the soil is loose to make the plant easier to grow.

If you have clay and heavy soil, add 25% peat or quality compost. These components will make the substrate light, and there will be enough moisture. Compost should be sterile without bacteria and pests, so you need to prefer only reliable brands.

If your yard is sandy, you should add compost (no more than 10%) not to dry out too quickly.

In a new place, dig a hole twice larger than the size of the rhizome. Put the plant in a new place, spread the roots evenly, and cover them with soil. A larger size of the pit is needed to make the roots grow easier in the prepared soil. This is especially important in the beginning.

If you have a high water table or the soil is too heavy, you need to drain the planting hole’s bottom. Fill the hole with expanded clay or small stones for a third. This will prevent water from stagnating near the rhizome.

Pour a small amount of prepared soil into the hole. Arrange hosta so that the place where the rhizome turns into a stem is not covered with earth. The rhizome’s surface may be lightly covered with soil (not more than 0.5 inches or 1.2 cm), but the stems’ base should be above the ground. Fill all the cavities of the soil mix.

Water the plant

When transplanting is done, water the plant with plenty of water, the ground around should be moist. When the water is gone, add more soil to smooth out any irregularities.

After a few hours, water the hosta again. In the future, the land should be constantly moist. However, you do not need to arrange a swamp because otherwise, the plant may rot.

To prevent the soil from drying out too quickly, mulch hostas with pine bark. The advantage of bark is that it does not decompose very quickly. It also acidifies the soil a bit and hostas like slightly acidic soil. In fact, this type of soil promotes brighter leaf color and contrast.

Reduce shock when transplanting hostas

To reduce the shock:

  • Cut several leaves; this will decrease the vaporization of moisture by the plant and stimulate new growth.
  • When you water a hosta, wet its leaves well.
  • Do not damage the roots when transplanting.
  • Install an additional shade net (or umbrella) above the plant for several weeks, which will soften the conditions for rooting.
  • Water the plant with liquid fertilizer. It will give impetus to vigorous growth.
  • Keep the soil around the plant moist but do not water too much.
  • When the transplanting is finished, fertilize the plant, use long-acting fertilizers.
  • If the plant has flower stems, cut them.

Transplanting Hostas in Fall

Fall is a great time to plant no matter where you live, be it Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, or Minnesota.

It is a couple of advantages to planting hosta in the fall. The first one is that if you get it in early fall, the soil temperatures are hot. The ground absorbs the sun’s energy all summer long, and the warm soil makes the roots grow faster.

A hosta transplanted in the fall collects more moisture and nutrients to survive the winter, and it will also be better prepared for growth in the spring.

When you plant in early spring, the soil’s temperature is cold; the sun does not heat the ground to sufficiently high temperatures. Transplanting hostas in the early spring may be more difficult for the plant. So hosta planted it in the fall, going to be head of that same hosta planted in the early spring.

If you are a busy person and have many plants, transplanting hosta in the fall, then in the spring, you will have more time for other plants.

If autumn is dry, you need to water hostas. The soil near the plant must remain moist. You can also mulch the soil around the plant; it will not allow moisture to evaporate too quickly and will keep the heat generated over the summer for longer.