Hours: Monday-Saturday 8 am to 5 pm, Sunday noon to 5 pm

Hornbaker Hosta Dig

Jul 9, 2024 | News

Every year, sometime in late June to mid-July we begin our yearly hosta dig. During our hosta dig, we pot up plants grown from our own fields to give you access to quality, Hornbaker-grown hostas. We select varieties from our propagation beds that have been growing for at least two years and are ready for division. Rotating the varieties that we divide gives the plants time to develop multiple eyes that can grow into new plants of their own.

Our crew divides our hostas in early summer because this is when we have time to take on such a large project. We have also found that dividing anytime through late summer will give the plants a good start before the cold weather comes. We try to dig during the cooler parts of the day, and we make sure the plants do not dry out. If you are dividing hostas at home, spring is ideal because you can dig the hostas as they are just starting to emerge, and you will not have to worry about working around large leaves after they fully leaf out. This also allows the plants time to start re-establishing before the heat of the summer.

Producing Hornbaker-Grown Hostas

We cut the leaves off the hostas right after we dig them out of the field. We have found that it does not set back the plant any more than the transplant shock that occurs when the leaves are left on. For a large-scale project like we take on, it is much more manageable for us to divide, handle, and pot them when the leaves have been cut off. After digging the hostas, shaking off as much soil as possible, and removing the leaves, we take the hosta clumps to our potting shed for further processing.

We use a sharp knife to cut through the crown of the plant, dividing the clump into sections that have at least one eye. Depending on the variety and size, we usually get 5 to 10 divisions per clump that we dig. We recognize the increased risk of spreading plant diseases, including HVX, when handling cut hostas. In between each variety, we take care to sanitize all our equipment, both in the field and in our potting shed.

We reserve some of the hosta sections to replant in our fields. Then, we pot up the rest to grow for our retail benches. For our potted hostas, we use a custom potting mix that is a blend of shredded bark, compost, and bark fines. This helps provide the right amount of drainage and nutrients in addition to our fertilizer.

Let Them Grow

We do not intend to sell or ship hostas with their leaves cut off. We wait until there are quite a few leaves before putting them on the retail benches. Most of the hostas are grown to sell the following season. However, some faster growing varieties may be available in the fall.

The 2024 hosta dig is going on right now. In 2023, we dug and divided over 100 varieties, totaling 3,810 potted hostas! You can view the hostas that we have available anytime at https://shop.hornbakergardens.com/dept/1/hostas.