Dividing, Transplanting, and Moving Overgrown Hostas

Spring 2012

What do you do with all of your established flowerbeds when you are planning to add on to your house and find you have to move over 100 plants? Yikes!


All these plants had to be dug up and moved to build our new garage.

We are planning a garage and new entry addition to our house this spring and also new siding and in the process I am having to move all my plants around the house and gazebo. Oh, what fun that can be! (Maybe not). I am running out of pots to put them all in too!

But, it has to be done or I will lose all the elegant Hostas that I have treasured all these years with heavy machinery doing excavating work.

We moved many Hostas last fall and stored them in the garage over winter, as I have stored potted hostas in the unheated garage other years. Then, over winter, we changed the plans on access to the garage, and now we have to move A Whole Lot More of all those glorious hostas that are in the pictures on the website.

The Hostas started coming up earlier this year because of the mild winter and early spring we had as usually even by mid-April they have hardly started to show growth. Many times the north side of the gazebo still has ice and snow in mid-April!

The warm Spring weather this year is warmer than usual so it has made it quite easy to work on most days.
This year, I was able to dig some plants in mid-March! That is pretty well unheard of in zone 4 Wisconsin!

It is simply amazing that when you dig even a small plant out of the ground, how it multiplies in size once you get it out of the ground! Hostas especially. I usually tell people that they triple in size when they are dug out.


These had to be moved too!

Some of the Hostas haven’t been moved or divided since the Gazebo was built in 2002 and the new plants put in at that time were many new varieties that I purchased and were in gallon size pots, so this many years later, they are very large and a big solid root mass and they are the ones I leave for my husband to dig out.

Even dividing them after they are dug requires more strength than I have. The very largest one, Lady Isobel Barnett, I planted six very large 12” pots with!

I am also finding that in having to dig everything, I can use soil from the bed for the potting of the divided Hostas up and so it makes it a bit simpler to do when the extra soil is right at hand in the ground. (called recycling!)

In spite of all the extra work in my perennial beds, sometimes things have a way of working out for the good. Almost all of the plants that I have been digging really needed to be divided anyway, and they are certainly getting that!

Usually, I get two or 3 large Hostas divided each year and then run out of time before our Garden Club Plant Sale or the leaves get too large in size to do. (This year I will have many to bring to the plant sale!)

I know that Hostas don’t always need to be divided and can be left in the same spot for years, and that is fine when there is no need to move the plant and it is not taking over the bed.

Things evolve and things can change with perennial plantings just like in life and most of the time it can be for the good if you let it be and can see the good in what the ending is. I will now be planning new planting beds around the house and garage and gazebo and at least one Hosta of each variety will go back in to the planting bed.

Stay tuned for more updating on the building project.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

margaret Akin August 6, 2016 at 4:25 am

I love Hostas but the deer love them too. Two years ago, a newly planted hosta bed was wiped out in one night. Do you have a problem with deer and how do you deal with it? I have tried various claims but the deer always outsmart me. I am now planting lungwort and brunnera which the deer do not bother. Let me know your ideas. Thanks.


Janice May 23, 2017 at 7:24 am


For years I have crumbled up egg shells and placed them around emerging hostas. The deer ignore my hosta when they are surrounded by egg shells. I continue to place them under mature hostas too. The one year I did not add them when just emerging is the year they ate them. And the shells are good for the soil.


Judi May 24, 2017 at 6:12 am

I have heard of using egg shells for slugs but didn’t know it would also deter deer. I don’t have a big problem with deer as there are plenty of alfalfa and soybean fields to eat here! I will pass that information along when others ask. Thanks for letting me know! Happy Gardening.


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