You Can Save That Hosta!


Okay, it is that time of the year and you walk out into your garden and you see your hosta has fallen over and you pick it up to discover that the roots have been eaten. What do you do?
Do not throw it out!
Have you tried to separate your hosta clump and you broke one of the leaves off and it has no roots...
can you save it?
Most likely the answer is YES!
I have have saved hostas for years that have been attacked by voles and other critters and even ones that I have harmed in my quest to divide them. It is so easy to do and only requires (rain) water and a glass jar, vase, or other container.
Voles love the roots of hostas. With this information I know that I have to walk the gardens and pay close attention to any size of distress on any of my plants. If I notice a high activity of moles tunnels (the dogs digging trenches is a sure sign) then I am extra vigilant about walking around checking out my hostas as well as my other plants.
Rooting the hostas takes anywhere from 6-8 weeks so be patient and make sure the water level stays constant in the jar/vase. After it has rooted, then either plant it in a pot or move it back to the ground.
So do not panic if you find a plant distress do not just throw it out!
Happy gardening everyone!
and check out my blog!
you can save that hosta, container gardening, gardening
6/14/14 first hosta of the season-found this the other day leaning over
you can save that hosta, container gardening, gardening
Notice there are a few small white roots-this is a great sign! Put this in a vase with just enough water to go about 2" above the roots. In about 6 weeks this will be ready to plant again.
you can save that hosta, container gardening, gardening
Sitting on my potting bench-patiently waiting and checking for the plants to be ready to either go in a pot or in the ground.
you can save that hosta, container gardening, gardening
5/21/14 I divided this hosta and these leaves broke off but the crown of the root is still in tact (the end which has no roots that you see here in pic). This is still viable and can easily be rooted without any chemicals.
you can save that hosta, container gardening, gardening
6/2/14 Roots are appearing-this is exciting when this happens.
you can save that hosta, container gardening, gardening
6/14/14 Roots have grown about an 1 1/2" now. I will wait another couple weeks to put in a pot. You could even put this in a pot now and keep it moist and do not let it dry out.
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Have a question about this project?

25 questions
  • Patricia Creech
    on May 4, 2016

    I live in North East Florida, can I grow host as ?

    • Elaine
      on May 4, 2016

      I belong to a local Horticultural Society in southern Ontario, Canada (an area that is hot and humid in the summer reaching 90F many times) and, in my opinion, I would think you can as long as you pick a shaded area (East or North-East). Many varieties also easily tolerate full sun but due to your Florida location, pick a shaded spot. A handy tip: you'll hear that slugs love hostas, however, if you pick "tougher" hostas such as "Sum & Substance", "Drinking Gourd" and "Frances William", slugs won't be a nuisance. Hostas that have thicker, heavily-veined leaves are pretty resistant; they are just too tough for slugs to eat.

    • @Elaine I agree I am in zone 7b and hostas prefer little sun and lots of shade. To be honest, I have never had a slug problem either and I have 35+ different varieties in pots and in shade garden

    • Elaine
      on May 4, 2016

      I'm sure it's a beautiful sight!

    • @Elaine well i counted and I lost track at 120 pots of hostas, a few Arborvitaes, and misc shrubs, trees, annuals

  • Lainey Howell
    on May 4, 2016

    I noticed that in the second example that you used a different method. It looked as if they were growing in a hole in a log or plank with dirt. Can you explain how you did this, please?

    • I am not sure what you mean. I grow hostas in pots and in the ground. let me know where you saw this at

    • B. Yates
      on May 4, 2016

      The plants are just laying on the wood to show you the growth of the roots.

    • Maureen Reid-Cunningham
      on May 15, 2016

      So the broken leaves are rooted in a jar of water just like the plant that with a few small roots on it?

    • Yes if there is enough of the root crown left on the leaves (the white shown int he pictures) the hostas will root within a couple weeks and then i put them in a pot to grow but you can put them in the ground again.

  • Marcella Miller
    on May 23, 2016

    do you ever change the water? do you need to put anything in the water.

    • I sometimes have to change the water- I use rain barrel water and try to make sure no mosquitoes have a chance to lay their eggs. I really do not add anything to the water-

  • Centsably Creative
    on Jun 13, 2016

    How do you keep slugs from devouring your Hostas?

    • To be honest I do not have a problem with slugs eating my hostas. I try to keep the mulched about an inch or two away from their plant and I inspect them every couple days to make sure nothing has eaten them from the leaves or from the roots. I would start by trying to sprinkle baking soda around the plants. I have tried beer and never found any slugs in the beer. I will look it up and get back to you. Good luck

    • Centsably Creative
      on Jun 14, 2016

      Thank You! I appreciate your help. My Hostas are devoured every year and I have tried everything. Beer, Escar-go, egg shells....nothing stops these critters. I have never heard baking soda so I will give that a shot!

    • Johnnie Ferguson
      on Jun 20, 2016

      Try scattering Copper. Pennies or bits of copper tubing . Could try making some fun things with copper

    • Brenda Hager
      on Jun 23, 2016

      for slugs on my hostas i sprinkle salt around the base of the plant. seems to work for me.

    • Deborah Phillips
      on Jun 25, 2016

      circle the hosta with sweetgum balls! They are readily available as they drop and lie on the ground . . . free for the picking!!!

    • Carla D'Anna
      on Jun 26, 2016

      Salt on the soil is a bad idea.

    • Jacque Marshall
      on Jun 26, 2016

      I use Irish spring soap. They hate the citrusy smell.

    • Missy
      on Jun 26, 2016

      beer works for me. I also spray the buggers with a 50/50 mixture of ammonia and water, it kills them immediately.

    • Carolyn Hines
      on Jun 26, 2016

      Salt and soda (essentially the same thing) will change the ph of the soil and damage the plant. I've heard people say they have luck with slivered Irish Spring (see Jacque, above) soap.

    • Melinda Bradshaw
      on Jul 7, 2016

      You just need to take your salt shaker and run it around your plants......

    • Spc948812
      on Jul 11, 2016

      Epsom salt around the plant. Since it's not a salt, it's won't damage plant but add magnesium sulfate the soil.

    • Angelia Walker
      on Apr 13, 2018

      I use Filbert shells in my Hosta garden! The slugs and snails will not crawl over them do to the fact it will cut them. Once I jave all my plants in the ground I cover the rest of the dirt with filbert shells and my plants (all of them) stay slug and snail free. The filberts are also great for keeping cats out of my plants too it hirts their paws but they no longer use my beds for litter boxes either!

  • Phyllis Siford
    on Jun 25, 2016

    Do u need to grow ur host as in shade? I have some in the sun and doesn't seem to do well. They don't grow big, all I have is clay dirt, any idea so?

    • Lori Watson Kloc
      on Jun 25, 2016

      I grow hostas in Michigan. My soil is mostly clay. I have added compost to the soil and grow them in sun or shade. They seem to prefer the sun!

    • Brett Ludden
      on Jun 25, 2016

      Hosta's are really shade plants but will grow in sun. They'll perform/grow best in shade tho.

    • Carolyn Hines
      on Jun 26, 2016

      Some of the newer varieties are intended for sun. Check the information in the pot. By and large, hostas are shade-loving and will get sunburned in the sun. Recently I trimmed a tree and exposed a hosta I had underneath to more sun than usual. Some of the leaves were sunburned. White areas on the leaves are sunburn.

    • Beverly Amos
      on Jun 29, 2016

      I have grown hostas for years and they do best in shade and will grow in sun however will turn yellow if too much heat exposure . Just they are not as pretty .

    • Rmt8273428
      on Jul 6, 2016

      Just like pretty much all of the answers above stated, some varieties are more sun tolerant than others. A good indication of a sun tolerant variety is the amount of variegation on the leaves. Just in case you are familiar with this term, its the amount of light and dark coloration on the leaves. The sun tolerant varietals typically have some white streaked in there. But that isn't a hard and fast rule by any stretch, Try to find out what variety you have if it was given to you by another gardener and you don't have the tag from the nursery to identify it. But err on the side of caution and plant in shade if you aren't sure.

    • Alice
      on Jul 19, 2016

      A rule of thumb is the lighter gold or white the leaf the more sun the hosta will tolerate. When in question go for morning sun and see how a variety does. Afternoon sun and blue coloring will not work. Grow daylilies in the sun . They are GREAT for full sun and reward you with beautiful flowers. Choose varieties with lots of buds and branching on the scape. That way you'll get lots of days of color. There are a gazillion varieties with lots of colors and forms.

    • Kitty
      on Aug 13, 2016

      Do hostas plant come back in the summer ? I don't know if your supposed to cut them back in the fall.

  • Carolyn Sheetz Kuespert
    on Jul 7, 2016

    Rabbits are eating my hostas as their salad!! How can I deter them from my hostas?

  • Elaine Matos
    on Jul 14, 2016

    How do you grow Ivy plant they always die on me ? And l love them but no luck with them ty.

    • English ivy? Ivy is one of the most invasive plants. Where are you trying to grow it?

    • Julie
      on Sep 11, 2016

      Yeah. I'll give you a yard full! The previous owners planted a big patch for soil retention and now it has invaded all the trees on that side of the house and that neighbor's trees. My husband wades through it once a year to get to the trees to cut the roots. It's awful!

    • Julie I know here in Virginia it is awful and people still plant it! It will climb up a 50' Oak and kill it within a few years.

  • Sue
    on Aug 10, 2016

    Saving my hostas. More details.

  • Laurine Valenti
    on Aug 10, 2016

    Organic gardening. My broccoli and cauliflower Plants have tiny white bugs. Any suggestions to make Them go away?

    • Give them a shower and use water to remove and drown the bugs.

    • Sheilagh
      on Feb 17, 2017

      Sounds like your plants need a bubble bath. Simply run the water into your sink briskly add a squirt of dish soap, I use Dawn, scoop the giant bubbles up and put them on your plants leaves and under the leaves. That's the way I control knats or other little bugs like aphids.

    • Debbie Schwitzer
      on Jun 17, 2017

      My raspberries always seem to get whiteflies every year. The easiest cure is to use a mild dish soap like Ivory and mix a few squirts with water in a spray bottle. I spray all over the entire plant and even chase them in the ground where they jump! I do have to repeat about every other day mostly due to rain. You can also squash them if you can catch them but they will be back.
  • Abu7262209
    on Oct 14, 2016

    I have a giant leaf hosta and live in NE Ohio. It is now mid October. Can I root hosta leafs indoors and save them until Spring? Would you keep them indoors or in a cool garage?

    • Marietta Bundy
      on Oct 16, 2016

      THEY COME BACK BY THEM SELF LEAVE IN GROUND THEY DIE BACK AND COME BACK

    • Lesley Carroll
      on Nov 5, 2016

      Yes, you can root leaves any time of year. I live in Ontario, Canada, and do it all the time. I do this with many types of plants, all year round. Got some Rose of Sharon just starting to root. I always have a few jars of plants on the windowsill. 👍

    • Tj Richardson
      on Jun 10, 2017

      How do you root a leave?
    • There are many plants that you can root in water but I have never seen hosta leaves root in water. I use them in cut arrangements and they do not root. Was there a plant that you want to root in water? hostas can be divided easily to get more plants
  • Carolyn Macinnis
    on Jun 23, 2017

    My potted hostas were sprayed by a fire extinguisher. One plant has damage on every leaf. The other plant has a couple of leaves that were damaged. Can I salvage them?
    • Lori Dumm
      on Apr 9, 2018

      If all my Hostas were sprayed with anything else .I always use one part vinegar and Canola oil mix it all up with water and spray it it alll with a spray bottle .One fourth of Vingar and half a cup of Oil ,All the rest with water shake it all up well and and spray each one all carefully ,getting under all leaves carefully. I hope this works all out for you. Also the oil makes it all so shine !

  • Susan Hollaway Webb
    on Jul 22, 2017

    I have some oRita mental grasses that were beautiful last year. They're turning yellow and brown. We have a sprinkler system so I don't think it's lack of water. Any suggestions?
    • Lori Dumm
      on Apr 9, 2018

      I always cut mine all down before the fall. Let them all grow back n the summer !

  • N
    on Apr 9, 2018

    How to repair gaps between laminate flooring

    • Wyldecent
      on Apr 9, 2018

      You need to ask this question in the DIY forum. You will likely get more answers there. This question section is for the hosta post.

    • Okie Chic
      on Apr 9, 2018

      what does this have to do with hostas?

    • N
      on Apr 9, 2018

      oops! My bad. . . too little sleep and too many projects going on:)

  • Rosemary
    on Apr 9, 2018

    How do I stop a groundhog from eating my hostas...I've seen him eating all of them?

    • Rjl4804610
      on Apr 9, 2018

      Try moth balls

    • Mary Smith
      on Apr 9, 2018

      Sprinkle cayenne Pepper around the plants.

    • Ann
      on Apr 9, 2018

      .22

    • NCbulldoglover
      on Apr 9, 2018

      Voles and moles love them also.

    • Cat15474143
      on Apr 9, 2018

      Catch him in a have a heart trap and relocate him to a woods or lake area!

    • Rosemary
      on Apr 9, 2018

      Thank you everyone for the great suggestions...I will surely try them! 🙂

    • Renee
      on Apr 9, 2018

      coffee grounds works real well.

    • Cindy
      on Apr 10, 2018

      Shred some bars of Irish Spring bar soap and spread it in your beds. Animals hate the smell and taste of the soap and will not return to it. And it does not affect your plants at all.

    • Plant in pots is another option. Whatever you try to deter varmints you have to be consistent. I also use castor oil and water and douse around the plant- gal of water to about 2 tbls or so and stir and pour right away- oil and water do not mix LOL

  • Sandy
    on Apr 9, 2018

    I need to dig up my hosta's because they are in direct sun. When they first spring up in the spring they are beautiful, after that the sun burns them and they become dry brittle and ugly looking. I want to dig them up and I have tried but they are very hard to get to the roots. Do you have any advice?

    • D
      on Apr 9, 2018

      Use a shovel and dig deep down. They do not have deep roots. You want to do this to get all of the roots at once.

    • Regina and Brian
      on Apr 10, 2018

      pay the neighbors kid to help you dig. They are hard to get up


    • I dig up after a good rain. when the soil is moist you can freely dig them up. This is a good time to divide them also

  • Regina and Brian
    on Apr 10, 2018

    so I'm guessing this will work on one leaf the little vermin left me? I have to try this just to increase the number of hosta I have. Thanks for the info


  • Rburroughs
    on Apr 10, 2018

    How do prevent them from drying out turning brown midsummer ? Do I replant in shade!?

    • Linda
      on Apr 10, 2018

      Hostas are shade plants and do not do well in full sun.


    • Wxw
      on Jun 7, 2018

      The majority of my hostas are planted in the full of south carolina and do very well. I do keep them well watered. It stumps me when everyone says "hostas are 'shade' plants."

    • Amanda Jane Porter
      on Jul 26, 2018

      Some are for sun, some are for shade. Should be able to look them up. My solid green ones do great part sun/ part shade. But, I have some green variegated ones that tried to croak in the sun but have done great since I moved them to full shade.

  • Linda Galloway
    on Apr 10, 2018

    How do you keep free from eating hostas , or may be rabbits?

    • Rad25071228
      on Apr 10, 2018

      Cayenne pepper powder. Just sprinkle it around anywhere in your garden and the varmints will stay away. I also mix it with my bird seed to keep the squirrels away. Birds love peppers, critters can't stand the heat.


    • Jody Chance
      on Apr 13, 2018

      I buy the big thing of cayenne at Costco and mix it into the dirt as I plant. When a vole or mole gets his snout in that, he’s going to hightail it!

    • Linda Galloway
      on Apr 14, 2018

      Thanks, I will try this, and I meant deer.

    • Nancy Parham
      on Apr 14, 2018

      I have trouble with deer also. Buy moth balls and put a few near your hosta plants (not against them but near them) and it will work like a charm.



    • Becky
      on Apr 17, 2018

      Epsom salt sprinkled in you hosted will keep slugs from having a feast. I do this all the time.

    • Susan Hall
      on May 7, 2018

      Coffee grounds sprinkled thickly around plants keeps slugs and things away. Coffee shops give away the used grounds for free if you ask.


    • Susie
      on Dec 6, 2018

      Resin dusting

  • Haw10206504
    on Apr 13, 2018

    What time of year can you separate hostas from the larger plant?

    • Molly Griffith-Morales
      on Apr 13, 2018

      Early spring when you just barely see the purple "toes"

      popping up!

    • Virgi S
      on Apr 23, 2018

      It can also be done in the fall as the leaves are dying back.

    • Kathleen Freet
      on Jun 10, 2018

      You know I've listened to everyone and before I knew only spring or fall I did it split my hostas on a cloudy day in deep summer. Hostas are very forgiving

    • Linda Bradley
      on Jun 17, 2018

      You're so right about Hostas being very forgiving! I've split mine every season except winter and have never killed one so far.

    • Amanda Jane Porter
      on Jul 26, 2018

      I've split mine any time of year and they still do great.

    • GMS
      on Apr 22, 2019

      MY husband once brought me a bunch home from a friend's house that he was throwing away, they had been sitting in a wheelbarrow and all looked half dead, we put them in the ground and sure enough they all came back to life. We have since then divided them up and shared with my daughters for their gardens :)


  • Jake West
    on Apr 6, 2019

    I have a question I know what moles are but what are voles?

    • Michelle Payne
      on Apr 6, 2019

      A vole looks a lot like a mouse about the same size but has a pointier mouth and a tiny stub of a tale. All the ones I have seen have been grey.

    • Christina
      on Apr 7, 2019

      Yep, what I was going to say. They have the two front teeth (rabbit look) also.

    • Kathy
      on Apr 22, 2019

      She miss typed

    • Debbie Davis
      on Apr 22, 2019

      Appearance of moles, voles and shrews. ... A vole, also called a meadow mouse, has rounded ears and body and is reddish or brown and black in color with a gray underside. And finally, a shrew has a pointed snout, but unlike the mole, a shrew's front feet are not enlarged.

  • Patti
    on Apr 22, 2019

    How do u thin out a healthy Hosta without cutting remaining healthy roots?

    • Renee
      on Apr 22, 2019

      Actually when separating a hosta I always look for a natural dividing place, somewhat separate from the main plant. If I can’t see one, I simply cut through the plant making sure each piece has some roots. They do survive!

    • Betty
      on Apr 29, 2019

      I have done that also Renee, im just glad now to know when they break off they can be saved !!! Happy Hostas

  • Eleanor Browne
    on Apr 22, 2019

    how do you keep deer from eating hostas

    • Jharrison06
      on Apr 22, 2019

      The deer in our neighbourhood (Vancouver Island), think a hosta is a healthy salad additive. The only way we could keep them out was with a high fence. And, you have to be very diligent about keeping any gates closed - otherwise, the deer think the buffet is open.


    • Patty
      on Apr 23, 2019

      You can try spreading human hair around,or a 10 foot fence.

    • Melanie Ross
      on Apr 29, 2019

      I've heard moth balls work.

    • Kitty
      on Apr 29, 2019

      Here in GA deer love our salad bars. There is no way to keep deer away. They failed reading in 1st grade therefore Closed sign is useless

    • Janee Polino
      on Apr 29, 2019

      Save uncleaned eggshells. Break them/crunch them up. Spread all on the surface of your garden area, and around hostas. Deer will avoid them.

    • Shirley
      on Apr 30, 2019

      Put torch lights out, it works.

  • Caroline
    on Apr 23, 2019

    Does it have to be rain water? Can it be tap or bottled water? And also what if it hasn’t rained lately?

  • Judy
    on Apr 29, 2019

    Any ideas on how to get rid of the moles, they about destroyed my flower beds last year.

    • Patricia
      on Apr 30, 2019

      i have tried many things, nothing has worked.

      They have destroyed my lawn.

    • Sonya marshall
      on May 1, 2019

      I heard castor bean plants repel moles/Voles. I am planting them all over my property. I have tried everything too. I hope this works.

    • Deb
      on May 4, 2019

      Plant beer bottles ( empty ) with about an inch and a half of the neck stickinking out. Plant several around your garden area, or if you have a bid problem with moles plant them every 18 inches along your property line. The wind blowing over the bottles causes an unsettling sound under the ground which frightens the moles and the run like mad in the other direction. IT WORKS!!!

  • Shirley
    on Apr 30, 2019

    We have chipmunks, how do we get rid of them.

    • BETTY MAHNESMITH
      on May 2, 2019

      PUT JUICY FRUIT GUM IN THE HOLES THEY MAKE IN YOUR YARD

    • Nana Judie Watson
      on May 9, 2019

      You get a guy named Dave Seville, make sure that you have three male chipmunks and name them Alvin, Simon and Theodore. Now if you have three girls you have to name them Brittany, Jeanette and Eleanor. Then you take them on a world tour! Keep your eye on Alvin I hear he's a handful!

    • Kathy Clausen
      on May 16, 2019

      We had a really bad problem with chipmunks. I called a pest control company. The nicest lady told me to try stuffing their holes with rags saturated with ammonia. We did just that. We had to follow them around as they relocated, but eventually we won!!!

    • Harveysmom
      on May 31, 2019

      Mothballs

    • Denise
      4 days ago

      If you really want to permanently get rid of chipmunks take a bucket of water, lean a board against the top of the bucket from the ground. Place some corn at the top of the board. The chipmunk falls into the bucket...

Join the conversation

2 of 126 comments
  • Chelle
    on May 5, 2019

    swee thanks!

  • R
    on May 8, 2019

    I had a three huge hosta patches in my backyard for 50 years. Came back more and more year after year. And than the deer showed up. It was like a deer salad for them.

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