How to move hostas without killing them can take some practice, although digging up hostas is easy once you know the basics. Many gardeners have mastered the art of splitting hostas and replanting them, and they believe that an art form needs to be mastered in order to successfully dig up hosta plants and replant hostas

How To Move Hostas Without Killing ThemIn this article, we’ll guide you through the whole process and provide some expert tips and tricks to set you up for success. 

How To Move Hostas Without Killing Them

Proper timing and using the correct tools are some of the essential steps to follow when it comes to moving hosta plants. Hosta plants are one of the most beautiful foliage plants around. An added bonus is that they also produce amazingly gorgeous flowers. When they mature, hosta plants can be magnificent sights, with some gardeners wishing to have more of them by dividing them and replanting them.

Many gardeners, especially new ones, can become apprehensive about dividing hosta plants and replanting them. This is especially true when gardeners have had no prior experience with similar plants or activities.

But before we put on our gloves and get our hands dirty, there are some factors to consider first. Luckily, we have them all here for your convenience.

– Hosta Plant Variety, Maturity and Size

The first thing to consider when transplanting a hosta plant is the plant itself. Many hosta plants, especially the larger varieties, benefit greatly when allowed to mature. The maturity of the larger hosta plants not only brings out their beauty but also makes them ready for division and replanting activities later on.

For smaller or miniature varieties of hosta plants, dividing them and transplanting can actually help them look tidier and more maintained.

– Timing Is Everything

The second thing to consider when moving hosta plants is the timing. There are two periods of the year that provide the best time for hosta plant division and replanting. The first period is early spring, and the second period is early fall.

– Early Spring

Early spring is considered one of the most ideal times to begin hosta plant division and transplanting, as this season provides a window of roughly 4 weeks to allow the plants to adjust to their new homes. The hosta plants need this time so that by the time warmer seasons come, the heat would no longer pose any harm to their development.

When transplanted too late in the spring, the warmth of the summer season can interfere with the adjustment, growth and development of the hosta plants.

– Early Fall

This principle also applies to the second period of the year, which is during the early fall. Transplanting too late into the fall can cause the hosta plants to perish from the cold due to an improper growing stage.

The best indication that hosta plants are ready for division and transplanting during the early spring or fall is when hosta shoots appear right before the leaves unfold.

When planning to transplant in the early fall, ensure that the activity is performed at least a month prior to your area’s first frost date. For some areas, that timeframe would be September, while for other areas, the timeframe is somewhere in October.

– Use the Right Tools

For large clumps of hosta plants, it is recommended to use a fork with flat blades in conjunction with a spade or shovel. This allows you more freedom and strength to cover more areas. For even larger clumps of hostas, a hacksaw is a preferred tool for many gardeners.

Use the Right ToolsWhen the clumps or plants are smaller, a long knife with serrated edges can work particularly well. This tool is most favorable when the soil is loose from an abundance of humus.

– Check That the Conditions Are Right

Moist soil makes digging easier. If you have not had rain for a while, consider watering your hosta plants a few days before your planned digging activities. As hosta roots grow at the tip of the rhizome, you will need to be careful that roots will not be disturbed or cut.

– Dig From the Correct Distance

Novice gardeners often make the mistake of digging too close to the base, regardless of the plant. Ideally, you can start digging 4 to 5 inches away from the base of the hosta plants. This ensures that your digging activities will not risk possible disturbance to the rhizome or its roots.

Dig around the base of the plant until you form a small circle around it. Once the soil is slightly loosened from the digging, you can slowly insert your spade or shovel underneath the hosta plant. When you have determined that the spade or shovel can hold the clump, slowly lift out the hosta plant from the soil.

– Examine the Rhizome

Wash the rhizome of the hosta plant with clean water. Once cleansed, you will be able to determine the size and growth of the plant. The roots of the hosta plant are quite strong and can withstand washing.

– Use the Right Division Technique

Smaller varieties are easier to divide. Division can be as simple as determining the areas where the hosta plant has shown individual shoots. Ease the stems apart using a gentle back and forth movement until the clump naturally breaks off at the most appropriate point.

how to move hostas properlyFor larger varieties, a similar technique can be employed, although the actual division will be different. Due to the larger size of the hosta plant, a serrated knife can easily cut through the identified clump. The clump may be divided into various sizes as long as each clump retains enough rhizomes to grow back.

How Long Can Hostas Survive Out of the Ground?

Hostas can be quite resilient and can survive for several hours out of the ground. When the soil and the roots of the hosta plant are noticeably dry, it is recommended to soak the clump in water for 2 hours or more. However, the soaking should not exceed twelve hours, or else the roots will begin to rot.

Hosta Plants

To transplant hostas correctly, we also need to briefly go over the hosta plant to understand it and to learn to move hostas without killing them. The hosta plant is a genus of plants named after Austrian botanist Nicholas Thomas Host. This evergreen foliage plant is native to Northeast Asia, although the hosta plant is incredibly popular almost all over the world.

Hosta plants are extremely easy to care for and have become a mainstay for many gardeners who rave about the plant’s low maintenance. The hosta plant grows from rhizomes, which tend to surprise new gardeners. Its large, lance-like leaves are showy, with many hostas displaying various degrees of green shades, tones and variegations.

Transplant Your Hostas the Right Way

Once you have determined that your divided hosta plants are ready to be replanted, make sure that their new homes are ready. If their new homes are not yet ready, you can place the divided clumps under some shallow dirt or peat moss in a shaded area while you work on their new soil.

When you are ready to transplant your divided hostas, ensure that the hole is enough for the root system of the plant to fan out. The depth of the hole should be similar to the parent plant’s original hole.

Plant your hosta into the hole and cover it with soil, patting it firmly to keep the plant in place. Water the soil around the base area to make sure that there are no air pockets in the soil. The soil of the plant should be balanced enough to retain water yet have good draining capabilities.


Perform Post-transplant Care

To keep the hosta plants from expending excess energy, trim off old leaves. This technique ensures that the plant can focus on growing the younger parts of itself as well as developing its root system.

Another technique to make sure that the hosta plant remains healthy and alive is to keep it watered. Watering helps hosta plants recover faster and encourages the hosta plant to heal and grow. Ideally, two weeks of regular watering should make the hosta plant develop well into a stable plant.

how to move hostas plants


Is October too late to move Hostas?

October can be a suitable time to move Hostas, but ensure the plants have enough time to establish roots before the first frost.

How often should you water Hostas after moving?

Water newly transplanted Hostas regularly, aiming for consistently moist soil without waterlogging. Adjust frequency based on weather conditions.

Should Hostas be cut back before transplanting?

It is generally recommended to cut back Hostas before transplanting to minimize stress on the plants and facilitate successful relocation.


Separating and replanting hosta plants is actually easy and simple. Let’s go over what we learned in the article above.

  • Mature clumps of hostas are usually ready to be divided.
  • There are two ideal times for hosta plant division and transplanting – early spring and early fall.
  • If you plan to transplant during early fall, time your hosta plant division and replanting activities a month prior to your region’s estimated frost date.
  • Use the right gardening tools for your activities.
  • Moist soil makes digging around the base of the plant easier.
  • Dig 4 to 5 inches away from the base of the hosta plant.
  • Examine the rhizome and the roots of the hosta plant to determine which section to separate.
  • Divide the sections accordingly using the correct technique and tools.
  • Transplant your hosta plants into the appropriate medium and water regularly for 2 to 4 weeks.
  • Maintain a good cultivating routine for your hosta plants.

Once you’ve followed these simple steps, you’ll be more confident in dividing and transplanting hosta plants. Pretty soon, you’ll be one of those well-versed gardeners advising others on how to move hostas without killing them!

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