Meet Mark Cullen

Canada's best known gardening personality, Mark Cullen believes that Canadians of all ages need to play more - preferably in the dirt. A best-selling author with over 400,000 books in print, Mark reaches over one million Canadians every week through various media outlets. He is Home Hardware's horticultural spokesperson and regularly contributes to various magazines, gardening shows and newsletters. With a familiar style that people can relate to, he delivers a message that is compelling, fun, informative and inspirational - all based on his organic approach to gardening. In his spare time Mark enjoys driving his Ford Model A - and of course he loves to garden.

Dividing and Planting Hostas

~ August 31, 2011

This is a great time to work in the garden. The weather is warm but not overly hot and there is a lot less humidity in the air. One of the best things to do in early September is to divide and plant new perennials. One of the most common perennials to divide now is hostas.

Hostas are shade loving perennials and can often outgrow their space in a few years. When this happens they must be divided. The best time to divide a hosta is when they are about 3-4 years old. Start by digging a circle six inches away from the crown with a good garden fork like one of the Mark’s Choice garden forks available at Home Hardware. Next, pop the plant out and gently wash the soil away with water to expose the clumps. This will loosen up the crowns and allow you to see the root structure.

Separate the hosta by wiggling the crown apart. This may be difficult and you may end up having to cut it. When cutting the crown in half start in the middle of the plant and avoid damaging the leaves. This process can be done repeatedly until you have four or five plants in total.

Once separated, you need to keep the roots wet at all times and plant the new divisions as soon as possible. Dig a wide hole approximately 1.5 inches deep and set the crown in the hole evenly spacing out the roots. Cover the hole and water deeply but do not tamp down the soil as this will compact it.

Hostas will root out nicely in the fall because the weather and soil are warm. They will also perform much better in the spring if most of the original root structure is left intact.

The key to success when dividing hostas is to water frequently and deeply thereby minimizing transplant shock and encouraging new root growth.

With a little bit of effort, some patience and care, dividing hostas can be no problem at all. It is a great way to expand your shade garden. All you need is some time and the right tools. Give it a try this September.