Forum home Plants

Hostas in pots

Red mapleRed maple Posts: 891
My sister in law has just given me a clump of hosta from her garden. 

I was wondering if I could divide the clump into 2 or 3 smaller clumps and plant them in containers. (We get a lot of slugs and snails in our garden so think putting them into pots might be better). What is the best way to divide them - do I just cut through them with a spade or knife - I'm worried about damaging the root system.

My other questions are:

As they are in a clump with garden soil still very much attached, would it be wise to try to rinse off as much soil as I can before dividing them (the clump is rather heavy and I'm not sure how best to go about this without harming the plant), or would it be better to try to divide them with most soil still attached. Once divided, do I then attempt to remove more of the soil, as I plan to put compost in my pots, or will it be better with a mix of original soil and compost?

How do I over winter them? Do I leave them in their pots outside in a protected spot or would they be better put in the garage? (I don't want to risk them getting over soggy or too cold in frosty weather.
I live in Yorkshire.

Quite a few questions, but I've not divided hostas before!


  • Joyce21Joyce21 Posts: 15,489
    I use an old bread knife when dividing hostas. I grow them in pots and leave outside all year.
    Hostafan will probably be along to give you much more knowledgeable advice.
    SW Scotland
  • Red mapleRed maple Posts: 891
    Thank you, Joyce21.
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,649
    Hostas do very well in pots.   Divide them as they are with an old bread knife if they won't pull apart into clumps easily.  Use good quality potting compost such as John Innes no 3 perhaps mixed with some multi-purpose to enhance moisture retention and then plant at the same depth as they were before in the soil.   They will then need watering well - best done once in situ or the pot will be very heavy to move.

    Thereafter, keep them in shade or dappled shade and water regularly.   Feed occasionally with some seaweed extract or something else good for leafy plants.  Some people cut off the flower stems when they appear preferring their hostas to concentrate on lovely foliage but I like the flowers and so do the bees.   If you do too, just cut teh whole stem out when the flowers have finished.

    You can use wildlife friendly slug pellets to protect them or copper bands around the necks of the pots to keep slimesters out.   In my last garden I took all my hosta pots, great and small, into covered shelter against the worst of the cold but that was a very exposed, cold wet garden which regularly went down to -20C or worse.   In this new one they've all survived outside in a sheltered, south facing spot but the coldest we got to was only -7C during the Beast from the East's appearance. 

    Every spring, bring them out into the sun till they get going again.  Clear away any weeds.  Top dress with slow release fertiliser and give them a good drink.   Move to their permanent place once the leaves start to unfold and protect from slugs which can crawl up pots, live inside and underneath and also parachute in from nearby plants..
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Red mapleRed maple Posts: 891
    Thank you for the detailed reply, Obelixx. 
    I will search out an old knife to separate them. I suppose I was a bit worried that I would damage the roots by cutting into the plants, but I suspect they are more resilient than I give them credit for. 😁
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,996
    Yes - they're very resilient Red Maple - so don't worry about damaging them.
    As long as you have a piece with some root on it, you can shove it in a pot . Just grow them in a pot of a suitable size, and repot into bigger ones as they grow :)
    If it's a big clump, sometimes a spade is better for splitting them.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Just be aware, growing hostas can be addictive, I was given one about five years ago, now i’ve got 24 of the Little beauties 🙂
  • Red mapleRed maple Posts: 891
    Thank you to you all for your replies.
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,572
    Just be aware, growing hostas can be addictive, I was given one about five years ago, now i’ve got 24 of the Little beauties 🙂
    I think I'm at something around 170 different varieties and around 1,500 plants.
  • StevedaylillyStevedaylilly Posts: 1,087
    Hi Hostafan
    Your definately a Hostaholic. 
    Hi Red maple. 
    They divide quite easy and will thrive in pots and containers. I plant them in a mix of MP compost and horse manure with a sprinkling of chicken pellets. Mine always come back bigger and better. Also, each season, top dress with manure as this is very benificial 
Sign In or Register to comment.