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24 May 2011

I am not kind to my hostas

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There are some plants that are picky about being moved.  Take poppies...have I ever properly been able to transplant one??  NOPE.  Luckily, there are plants that almost seem to like being battered and broken and slung into the ground.  One of those plants is the ubiquitous hosta.

Hosta :: Guacamole
You know, when I was in Nebraska, I would see these little signs on the side of the road and I would slam on my brakes and turn because I thought they were garage sale signs (I'm a bit of a recovering yard sale addict...).  Well, those signs were not garage sale signs, they were plant sale signs, and most often: hosta sales.  Well, I had no idea what hostas were, and at the time thought $2 was far too high of a price for just about anything at a yard sale, so I moved on.  Now that I have discovered what easy plants hosta are, I realized I was missing out on one of the easiest, forgiving, shade loving plants available.  Of course, since then I've also found out how {stupidly} easy it is to propagate hosta, so I still believe $2 is highway robbery for one.

So anyway, back to dividing.   For small hostas, you simply wait until there is a good rain and then grab the hosta by the base and gently pull it from the ground.  If it is large, you will need a good shovel.  If you want to completely move the hosta, go around the plant with the shovel cutting the roots and then dig the whole shebang out of the ground.  If you want to simply take a piece, you can drive the shovel straight through the crown of the plant, take off a piece, pile some soil up around the original plant and you are good to go.

If you have a whole plant, you can usually just pull the pieces off.  The hosta will almost fall apart where it is ready to divide (kind of like brisket after 10 hours in the crock pot).  Dig a hole for each plant (or just use your hands and scoop away a chunk of soil), place (plop) the plant in and press down gently, but firmly around the edges of the soil to finish.  Basically, just throw it in the ground.  It will grow. 

Many times I even end up breaking a bunch of leaves, especially on large specimens like this 'Sum and Substance',  The poor plant looks tortured.  He will be ok though.  IN fact, this photo was taken 2 or 3 days ago.  Today, there is quite a bit of leaf growth.  By 2 weeks out, the plant will be back to his former glory.


Here are sections of a hosta.  The first is the leaf and a little bit of crown (the whitish/purplish part at the bottom).  The second is a clump of roots that fell away from the plant when I was dicing it.  I planted both.  The leave went about 2" deep into the ground.  The roots were buried about 2" under the surface.  I am about 90% certain both will grow. 




Sorry for the abuse hosta.  
I do appreciate you.  Really.
That's why I keep splitting you and spreading you all over my garden.  
Please forgive the battering and bad planting.  I'll bake you a cupcake later.



7 COMMENTS:

Ladybird Ln Tuesday, May 24, 2011  

Very interesting, I have never heard of a Hosta before, but I think I like them... I wonder if they grown in the desert! Haha, it is hard to find tings that grow where I live (Utah, high desert) But very good info about plants! Found you at a little birdie told me!

Carlee
www.ladybirdln.com

Torviewtoronto Tuesday, May 24, 2011  

my husbands favourite too he is trying to take over the garden with these :)

Sheila Tuesday, May 24, 2011  

You are lucky to have them. They are an annual where we live!

Sarah, Three Boys Tuesday, May 24, 2011  

hmmm love my hostas but so do the deer. I have a few that are surviving, maybe i will have to go and abuse them. Is there a certain time of year that is better for moving them around? I also have about a bzillion peonies that need to be thinned but I haven't a clue!

allenaim photography and design Tuesday, May 24, 2011  

Carlee, I assume they won't grow in desert because they do need some rainfall, but if you could give them shade and a little water, they might be happy??

Torview...I'm a fan of your husband's taking over the world with hosta :)

Sheila - what zone are you in??

Sarah -

If you guys are getting the rain we are getting, you can move and split hostas now, but it is best to do it when they are first emerging from the soil (April/early May here in zone 6). They are so tough though, I've moved them in almost every sort of weather during the growing season. Enough water and they will do fine.



As far as the peonies, I would wait until fall to split them, or you can also take chunks off the sides of the plants in early spring and the "mother" plant will still bloom that year.

Jenn Erickson Tuesday, May 31, 2011  

I'm going to have to give Hostas a try. My father used to grow them when he lived in this area and I always admired them. I, unfortunately, did not inherit his green thumb, so I shy away from most gardening. Sounds like the Hosta is just my speed and would look lovely in my garden full of hardy, abuse-weathering plants.

Jenn/Rook No. 17

Anonymous Saturday, September 24, 2011  

My daughter bought this plant from the local store in June but threw away the name of the plant. I'm glad I came across your site because I would have been still wondering what it was. It's a pretty plant and very hardy, we love it.

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