Dividing hostas - 1998 Hosta College talk
The outline of my talk at the 1998 Hosta College can be found at the
Greater Cincinatti Daylily/Hosta Society web site. I can't seem to get the
exact URL, but the date is March 14, 1998.
Denise, I have pasted it here in its entirety.
Greater Cincinnati Daylily/Hosta Society
Why, When and How to Divide Hostas Why divide?
growth demands it--many small shoots, variable size, uneven growth
die back due to age or growing condition
root rot or disease (not virus!)
poor growth over years
Mature outstanding growth
Continued vigor over years
When can you divide?
Anytime you can put the plant back intodormancy--fall winter
good growing environment--spring, summer
Hosta rhizomes can be stored above ground at +20° F if kept out of
wind (piled high and mulched), or in freezer at 40°-45° F, low
In summer, best chill down roots before/after in cold water, plant and
Do not leave rhizomes in sun or heated area-they will cook or rot
Have stored division in moist sphagnum moss in shaded area to
"recover" prior to replanting Bruce Banyai
March 14, 1998
How to Divide
Divide large to single crown; medium or small to multiples or single
If fully leafed out, cut off leaves 2-3" from crowns
If plant is nearing flower, cut flower stem
Not necessary to have some leaves on small or medium division, larger
like a leaf left
Stolons should be separated as far from stolen, as near to rhizome as
Using a sharp knife eases cuts
Clean off all cuts or breaks
Clean off old bloom scapes/fiber hairs, including scraping out or
cutting the scarred area
Acceptable to "cut into" large rhizomes
Cut away woody soft, rotten, discolored, root mass
Serrate the woody core if no root hairs present
Why use bleach?
Doesn't seem to have any negative effects
We have "bleached" roots for 2-3 days in summer
Cool water, no problems
Hot or warm water will soften tissue and lead to rot.
Dig clumps and knock off dirt carefully, then use water to get as much
dirt off the root mass as possible.
Rhizome size dictates time to recover.
Large sieboldiana types need dormant time to regroup--sometimes two
Smaller types can send new roots with 4-6 weeks, giving energy for
Smaller ones have very short time to regenerate.
Leave clean solid root hairs
Cut off woody rhizomes
Cut off diseased or damaged roots
Use bleach water to clean knife and soak roots
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