The Q&A Archives: Propagating Hostas

Question: I am expanding my perennial garden this spring and need lots of plants. Dividing the hostas won't provide enough. Can I propagate them from root cuttings or stem cuttings?

Answer: Division is the most common method. You can also collect seeds and sow them, although it takes 2-3 years for a plant to bloom from seed. There is also another method called "topping" that is used for hostas. I've never tried it, and it won't help you this year, but here's how it works, as described in the American Horticultural Society's Plant Propagation Guide:

1. When buds begin to poke through the soil in spring, scrape away the soil from around the base of the bud to expose the crown. Wipe the base clean on each crown with a damp cloth. Don't disturb the crown.

2. Make a small, vertical cut through the crown of each bud with a clean sharp blade. Push the blade through the crown.

3. Treat the cut with rooting hormone, then stick a toothpick through to keep the cut open. Cover the crowns with soil at the same depth as before, firm and water. Keep moist through the growing season.

4. By fall, dormant buds should form around the healed cuts, and the following spring, new buds will produce new shoots. Divide the crowns in autumn or spring into pieces, each with its own bud.

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