Showing off their pleasing blend of blue, gold (yellow), or green broad-leafed foliage, these herbaceous perennials are a common addition to the landscapes of many homes. They are low-maintenance plants and hardy by nature. The flowers and leaves come in different patterns, shapes and sizes. You may find some hostas bearing sword-shaped leaves, while some may have leaves in the shape of a heart. Some may also have flat leaves and others are noticeable with a concave-shaped foliage.
Late summer and early fall are considered to be an ideal time for dividing hosta plants. Doing so in the summer months may afflict undesired effects on the plants' health.
Using a mulch fork or a shovel, dig around the plant to a depth of about 8-10 inches. Keep digging until 5 inches away from where the shoots leave the ground.
Now, using a fork or a spade, lift the plant by digging under it. Get rid of the soil on it by using water. This would help you to pinpoint the best places for the plant to be divided at. There will be small clumps of leaves and stems together that resemble individual plants.
Next, cut through the crown (the upper branches and leaves of the plant) leaving 3 or more shoots per division. Use a sharp knife for the cutting, and take care that you do not cut the roots in the process. Depending on their size, hostas can be split into several parts. To ensure that each part has enough roots attached to it to keep it alive, cut through the middle into symmetrical segments.
Add some amount of new compost to the soil which you are preparing for planting the divisions. Splitting hostas in the fall does not require any fertilizer, and the plants can wait for the next spring to be fertilized.
While planting the division, it is better to keep the hole larger than the size of the division. Here, be careful while planting, lest the roots may get damage in the process. The divisions should be planted at a depth as that of the original plant. Remember not to plant them too high out of the ground, as it can inhibit growth.
After planting, carefully backfill and pack the soil tightly so as not to leave any room for air. Water the planted divisions and mulch (a protective covering of rotting vegetable matter spread to reduce evaporation and soil erosion) to help them conserve moisture.
Hostas are thirsty plants and so require lots of watering and good drainage as well. Most species do well when exposed to early morning sun and filtered shade in the afternoon. However, species with gold and green leaves require quite a bit of sun for coming up with their characteristic leaf color.
Ensure that the plants do not receive too much of sunlight, especially at noon. Extreme heat may bleach the color and even result in scorched leaves. The same happens when they are left with inadequate moisture.
Varieties with blue leaves do best when grown in shadier parts of the landscape. Less amount of light and cooler temperatures help them to retain their eye-catching blue color.
Keep a check on the administration of nitrogen fertilizer, as 125-square-foot bed of hostas wouldn't require more than one-eighth pound of actual nitrogen. Excess fertilizer results in foliage diseases and affects the variegated pattern of the plants.
Non-compacting mulch can be applied in early summer. This helps in preventing weed growth, increase water retention and lessen soil compaction. Raking the mulch improves air movement through the soil. Keep watering for the mornings, so that the mulch gets enough time to dry before evening. A winter mulch also protects newly-planted hostas, but should be removed before spring.
Splitting hostas, as said, is one effective and smart gardening tip for those who want to see their garden fuller and greener. Use these excellent ground cover plants to direct viewers' attention to your landscape features.