Dividing Hostas, Bulbs, Tubers and Liriope

I have been asked the question, what time of year should I divide my Hostas, bulbs and Liriope (Monkey Grass)?  I will tell you up front, I am really bad to divide my plants when it is most convenient for me.  That is not always the best time for the plant, however, according to the experts.  Here is what I have found to be the suggested times for dividing your plants that spread.

Dividing Hostas:  It is generally recommended that the best time for dividing Hostas is in the late summer or early fall.  This gives them a chance to recover before the cold sets in and protects newly divided plants from the worst of summer’s heat.  However, they are a very hardy plant and you really can divide Hostas at any time during the growing season.  If you choose to divide them during the spring or summer, be sure to replant them carefully, mulch them well and keep them watered, until they have had time to fully reestablish their roots.  Those are some of my Hostas at the top of my page.

Bearded Iris

Dividing bulbs and tubers:  Spring flowering bulbs should be divided in September or October.  This is sometimes difficult as they have disappeared from view by this time.  You may need to mark the area where they are located while they are blooming, to be able to find them again in the fall.  Summer flowering bulbs can be divided in early April or late fall.  Tubers, like Bearded Iris, are best divided soon after they flower.


Dividing Liriope (Monkey Grass):  You can divide Liriope anytime of the year, as it is a very hardy plant.  It will have the least stress if you divide it in the spring after the last frost or in the fall before the first frost, but will do fine in the heat of the summer if you keep it watered well until it has time to reestablish new roots.  As you can see above, we have some concrete blocks that help slow the water rushing under our deck.  They are not very attractive but they serve the purpose.  I divided my Liriope last year (in the middle of the summer, of course) and planted it in the openings of the blocks.  I am hoping they will get big enough to cover most of the blocks.  At least they do soften the hard edges some.

How do you know when your plants need to be divided?  For bulbs, I found the following chart on Garden services.com:

Bulb                      Years to Divide
      Tulips                         3 - 5
      Daffodils                      3 - 6
      Hyacinths                      2 - 3
      Lilies                         4 - 6
      Surprise Lily (Lycoris)        3 - 5
      Iris (Bulbous types)           3 - 6
      Alliums                        4 - 8
      Crocus                         seldom needed
      Grape Hyacinths (Muscari)      seldom needed

I have never divided my surprise Lilies (I have had them for about 8 years), and they have not slowed their blooming.  As a matter of fact, they just keep popping up in new places!  My Iris, however, have to be divided every few years.  When you notice they are blooming sporadically, you will know it is time to divide them.

Hostas really do not have to be divided unless they have overfilled an area.  I have Hostas in my yard that have been there close to 10 years, and still come back beautifully every year without being divided.  The same goes for the Liriope.  I divide Liriope and Hostas only when I need some to plant elsewhere, or when I have friends that want some.

All these plants are wonderful to share with friends and family.  I had not realized until the last few years that I had instilled a love of gardening in my daughter and being able to share the plants in my yard with her and my daughter-in-law is a true joy to me!  So, next time you are ready to divide your bulbs, Hostas or Liriope, don’t just put them all back in your yard, share the joy with others!

Do you enjoy sharing the plants in your yard with others?


7 thoughts on “Dividing Hostas, Bulbs, Tubers and Liriope

  1. You may have to come help Mike divide my Iris and Lily plants, because come September (when you say its best to divide) I will be too preggo to do it myself. 😉

  2. Pingback: Favorite English Garden Bee Plants – Hosta « Romancing the Bee

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