If you’ve had good luck with hostas this spring and summer, they are one of the easiest plants around to divide, and thus increase the number of plants you have. They are very forgiving — you can just dig up a clump of hostas and then slice them into new plants with a sharp spade. Or a knife works well.
Late summer is a good time to divide them. This allows plenty of time for the new divisions to settle in before winter.
I also like to divide them in spring when the new shoots are just coming up, because it’s a little easier to see what you’re doing. Also, in early spring you’re just dealing with a clump of roots instead of a fully grown plant. Here’s a link to an earlier post, with photos, of how I divide my hostas.
Along with being shade tolerant, lately I’ve been discovering that hostas can take a good deal of sun.
If you garden in a small spot with lots of tight corners, try a variety called ‘Mighty Mouse.’ It’s just 7 to 8 inches tall, with a spread of about 1 foot — perfect for containers, too.
(photo from www.dutchbulbs.com)
In spring, ‘Mighty Mouse’ boasts blue-green leaves with a creamy yellow edging that ages to white by mid-summer. It gets its name from its tough, thick leaves that are said to be resistant to the nibbling of snails and slugs.
If you grow hostas, you know how devastating slugs can be in wet, cool weather. You also know that it’s all about the foliage with hostas, not the flowers. Yes, you will get attractive lavender flower spikes in early summer on ‘Mighty Mouse,’ but it’s the lustrous foliage that holds its color well into fall that you’ll come to appreciate in your shade garden.
Like many hostas, this one prefers full to partial shade and sandy, loamy soil. But it will tolerate a wide range of soil conditions. Alas, deer look at hostas as the perfect salad bar, but I’ve found that the varieties with thick leaves show better deer resistance.
For good descriptions (and photos) of other winning varieties of hostas, click here for an excellent article on hostas in Fine Gardening.