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How to Transplant Hostas in the Spring

How to Transplant Hostas in the Spring

If you have hostas in your garden that need relocating or want to divide and spread them, spring is an excellent time to transplant them.

Transplanting hostas in the spring gives them a full growing season to establish their roots in their new location. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to transplant hostas to ensure a successful transplant.

My house came with an awesome, huge hosta garden. I’m talking hundreds of hostas in multiple areas of my yard. The previous owner loved her hostas, and it showed!

Unfortunately, maintaining the hosta garden hasn’t been my biggest priority for the past couple of years, and the garden has gotten a little…wild.

How to transplant hostas

If weeds are triggering for you as a gardener, this may not be the tutorial for you. This garden is very much a work in progress, but I’ll explain as we go along!

We are finally working on improving the yard little by little, so I’ve been pulling up hostas from areas we are turning back to grass and transplanting them in the main hosta garden we are keeping.

While I’m not ready to share a full garden reveal – we aren’t quite done yet – I thought this would be a great opportunity to share how to transplant hostas. It’s so easy!

I’m going to share the official steps for proper transplanting, and share how I quickly transplanted 20+ hostas in a day.

How to transplant hostas

How to Transplant Hostas in the Spring

Here’s a step-by-step guide to ensure a successful transplant.

1. Choosing the Right Time

Spring is ideal for transplanting hostas because the soil is warming up, and the plants are beginning to emerge from dormancy.

The best time to transplant is just as the hosta shoots start to poke through the soil but before the leaves fully unfurl.

This timing minimizes stress on the plant and helps it acclimate quickly to its new environment.

Clearly you can see my hostas leaves have unfurled, but they’re still small. It’s still cool-ish with frequent rainfall this spring, so I was able to get away with transplanting them a little later.

You can also transplant the full plants in the fall when the weather cools down a bit. October is a great month to transplant here in Missouri.

How to transplant hostas

2. Preparing the New Location

Before digging up your hostas, it’s essential to prepare the new planting site. Hostas prefer well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter.

Choose a location that receives partial to full shade. Here’s how to prepare the soil:

  • Clear the Area: Remove any weeds or debris from the new planting site. (Again – due to the timing and state of my garden, you’re going to see some weeds. I’ll keep working on that after the hostas are established in their new homes!)
  • Amend the Soil: Improve soil structure by incorporating compost or well-rotted manure. This will enhance drainage and provide necessary nutrients.
  • Dig the Hole: Dig a hole twice as wide and just as deep as the root ball of the hosta. This will give the roots plenty of room to spread out and establish.
How to transplant hostas
How to transplant hostas

3. Digging Up the Hostas

Carefully digging up your hostas is crucial to avoid damaging the roots. Follow these steps:

  • Water the Plant: Water the hosta thoroughly a day before transplanting. This makes the soil easier to work with and reduces transplant shock.
  • Dig Around the Plant: Using a spade or garden fork, dig a wide circle around the hosta, about 10-12 inches from the base, to capture as much of the root ball as possible.
  • Lift the Plant: Gently lift the hosta from the ground, keeping the root ball intact. If the plant is large, you might need assistance to prevent breaking the roots or stems.

4. Dividing the Hostas (Optional)

If your hosta is mature and large, you may want to divide it into smaller sections. This can rejuvenate the plant and allow you to spread it to other parts of your garden – or share with friends!

  • Separate the Clumps: Use a sharp knife or garden spade to divide the root ball into smaller clumps. Each division should have several shoots and a portion of the root system.
  • Trim the Roots: If the roots are excessively long, trim them to make handling easier. Avoid cutting too much; just enough to manage the transplant process.
How to transplant hostas

5. Transplanting the Hostas

Now that your hostas are ready, it’s time to plant them in their new location:

  • Place the Plant: Position the hosta in the center of the prepared hole. The crown (where the roots meet the stems) should be level with the soil surface.
  • Backfill the Hole: Fill in the hole with soil, gently firming it around the roots to eliminate air pockets. Be careful not to bury the crown too deeply.
  • Water Thoroughly: Water the newly transplanted hosta thoroughly to help settle the soil and reduce transplant shock. Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged for the first few weeks.
How to transplant hostas

6. Aftercare for Transplanted Hostas

Proper aftercare ensures that your transplanted hostas thrive in their new location:

  • Mulch: Apply a 2-3 inch layer of mulch around the base of the hosta to retain moisture and suppress weeds. Keep the mulch away from the crown to prevent rot.
  • Watering: Continue to water the hostas regularly, especially during dry spells. Aim for about 1 inch of water per week.
  • Fertilization: Hostas benefit from a balanced, slow-release fertilizer applied in the spring. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for dosage.

7. Monitoring for Pests and Diseases

Hostas can be susceptible to pests like slugs and snails. Monitor your plants regularly and take action if you notice any issues:

  • Slug Control: Use organic slug bait or traps to manage slug populations.
  • Disease Prevention: Ensure good air circulation around the plants to prevent fungal diseases. Remove any yellow or damaged leaves promptly.

By following these steps, you can successfully transplant hostas in the spring and enjoy their lush, vibrant foliage throughout the growing season.

Of all the steps, ensuring your newly transplanted hostas stay watered is the most important.

You can continue to transplant hostas in the heat of the summer, but expect the leaves to react poorly to the transplant the first summer. If you keep them well watered so the roots can get established, they’ll regrow in much better shape the following summer!

Hostas are resilient, so don’t worry too much about messing up.

I’m sure you can tell by my pictures that my garden isn’t in perfect condition right now, but the hostas are doing well!

With a little care and attention, your hostas will thrive in their new location, adding beauty and texture to your garden.

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How to transplant hostas