When is the Best Time to Transplant Hostas?

Hostas are available in more than 2,500 varieties. They were originally cultivated in China, Japan and Korea. The plants were brought to Europe sometime in the 1700s and by the 1800s they were brought to the U.S. Hostas are low-maintenance plants. The leaves vary in color from blue, green, yellow, gold to white. Hostas flower in summer with blooms that may be white, or in varying shades of lavender.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • pH Strips (optional)

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Transplant hostas is in the late summer, at least 30 days before the frost arrives. When the plant no longer has new shoots growing from the center of the plant cluster—that’s your clue that it’s time to transplant. Some believe that hostas should be transplanted in spring. This can be done without harming the plant but it is best left to August. This allows the plant to have a better chance of reaching full maturity.

Select the type of hostas you want to use. There are thousands of varieties. Hostas change color according to season: viridiscence means the plants will change from light to green by mid-growing season. Lutescent means the plant will change color from green to yellow. Albescent means leaves will turn from yellow to white. Determine if you want to use fragrant blooming hostas. Hostas with fragrant blooms are from the Hosta plantaginea plant. That particular type has white flowers that are 6 inches in length and fragrant.

Prepare your hostas to be planted (or transplanted). Mail order hostas may arrive as plants with bare roots. Soak the roots in warm water for 20 to 30 minutes.

Set in soil that is dug at least a foot deep. Add organic materials to the soil, including peat moss, decomposed leaves and compost. Test with pH strips to see that the soil is in the range of 6.5 to 7.5: slightly acidic to slightly alkaline. Water thoroughly after planting.

Water your hostas with at least 1 inch of water per week.

Be assertive with pest control. Slugs can be killed by laying down damp newspaper overnight. The next morning, kill slugs by applying salt directly to them or dumping them in a solution of water and 10 to 20 percent ammonia. Beer traps, or small lids filled with beer, can be set in the garden near the hostas. The slug draw near and drown in the beer. Chemical pellets designed to kill slugs can also be purchased from a nursery.

Tips & Warnings

  • The blue color on some hostas is from a waxy substance that coats the leaves.
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