Hostas are a beautiful and beloved plant around the world because of their wide foliage and ability to survive in shady conditions. They can be planted almost everywhere and grow rapidly while also being durable, making them a favorite for growth and transplanting. These perennials require little attention, but transplanting is a procedure where you will need to focus on the hostas to ensure they thrive in a new location.
Unfortunately, few realize there actually is a best time to transplant hostas, especially for those living in regions with harsh winters and hot summers. Many try to do so in the middle of summer, which is one of the worst times to move any plant. Instead, you should wait until late spring or early fall, when the plant doesn’t have its full roots. Performing the procedure at this time ensures the hosta grows healthy and strong, and that you can enjoy amazing foliage without fear of decay and death.
The Most Common Hostas
Before transplanting, make sure you know what type of hosta you have. Although they all bear certain similarities, including being hardy and having gorgeous foliage, some varieties are more durable than others. This durability can affect the success of a transplant.
Varieties mainly describe what color a hosta is and how large it will become. There are thus miniature, average, and big hostas as well as a type called variegated, which produces leaves with multiple color stripes. It’s important to know type before transplanting because you don’t want to put a hosta in too big or small of space because this will affect overall growth and development.
In general, most hostas will grow to be about 12 in. tall and around 36-48 in. wide, so prepare for this measurement. Large hostas can be up to 36 in. tall and grow as wide as 114 in., and you definitely don’t want to put those in a small location.
Where to Grow Hostas
One of the reasons hostas are so popular is that they can be grown in almost any environment, making them a perennial favorite for adding a splash of color and greenery to any garden. Hostas grow best in evenly moist soil full of nutrients, with an emphasis on humus. They need at least partial shade, and some can even grow when entirely blocked from the sun, again making them a favorite in colder environments.
Green-leaved hostas are the most tolerant to shade, while many variegated varieties will prefer more sunlight. Large hostas work well in most environments, while mini versions might require a better ratio of sun to shade – usually around 50/50. If you plant a blue-leaved hosta in the sun, the leaves will bleach and become green, so avoid doing so if you want to maintain the plant’s blue color.
If your soil is uncommonly dry, consider planting hosta varieties with waxy leaves instead of thin ones. Waxy hostas are better at maintaining moisture and will survive a lot longer than their thinner counterparts. Most hostas are also disease resistant but are prone to getting slugs, so remember to tend to them regularly. These plants grow well around native wildflowers, so consider keeping some in the garden for pops of color and the health of the hosta.
When is the Best Time to Transplant Hostas?
There are actually two times when it is acceptable to transplant a hosta: late spring and early fall. During both of these periods, the soil is warm enough that the roots do not struggle and are capable of expanding and growing. Depending on your region, you might want to time the transplant to the period before seasonal rains, as the hostas will benefit from the extra rainfall.
Transplanting is best reserved for hostas that you don’t want to grow too large. These hardy plants are capable of expanding to fill any area in which they are left, and they grow best when left alone. If you worry about the plant getting too big, move it to a smaller location. Otherwise, you could end up stunting the hostas growth by moving it too frequently.
When you’re ready to transplant, be sure to mix good organic matter in the soil of the new location. This will enrich the plot with essential nutrients for the roots, which will appreciate the extra help you give it and will form stronger connections in the new place. Try to get as much of the root ball as possible of the hosta when you want to move it, and be sure to dig a wide and deep hole that will cover the roots completely. Always water well right after the transplant.
Hosta Care Tips
Once a hosta is planted, it needs surprisingly little care. The most important step is keeping the soil moist and damp but not entirely wet. Too much water can drown the roots and stunt future growth. You also need to make sure the soil pH is neutral and that there are enough nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus to promote healthy growth.
If you’re unsure what you can do on a regular basis to help a transplanted hosta, consider following these steps:
- Place mulch around the hosta to help it maintain moisture
- Remove brown leaves and weeds around the hosta to keep away slugs and snails
- Remove flower stalks after they’ve bloomed to facilitate new growth
- Apply a slow-release fertilizer during the spring to guarantee regular nutrition
Through these steps, any hosta can thrive and grow under just about any conditions. Just remember to ensure each plant gets enough shade and to only transplant during late spring or early autumn.
Hostas are perhaps the easiest plant to transplant. These broad leaved, beautiful perennials require little care and maintenance and can sprout roots that go 18 in. deep. All they need to survive is some warm soil, a little moisture, and enough shade to keep the leaves shielded from the sun. Just don’t get excited and try to transplant in the middle of summer – wait until fall to give your hostas the best chance for survival.