In this article I want to talk about the simplicity of growing, propagating, dividing and selling Hosta varieties from home. There is an insane amount of different kinds of Hosta varieties and they are a great item to grow and sell because people love Hosta, they do well in shady situations and there are a lot of people who enjoy collecting Hostas, always adding a new one to their garden.
Mike! All the good ones are patented!
First of all that’s not true, not at all true. Secondly, who cares? I buy patented ones all the time, pot them up and resell them. That’s perfectly legal. No, I can’t divide or propagate the patented ones, but that really doesn’t matter to me. I still make really good money on the ones I buy and resell because I have several great wholesale sources where I buy Hosta plugs. Read up on Plant Patents Here.
Mini Skirt Hosta is a dwarf hosta and perfect for small gardens. Much like Blue Mouse Ears, but this one is green and yellow variegated.
Do people sell Hostas in Our Members Area?
You bet they do! But more importantly than that, we need more members selling Hostas in our Buy/Sell Area because people are asking about them all the time. The demand for really interesting Hosta varieties will not go out of style.
Growing and selling Hostas from home can be as easy as planting them in bed, keep your varieties all grouped together and properly tagged. Then every couple of years you dig out certain varieties, sell off what you want and plant the smaller pieces, or even the scraps back into the bed for future sales.
All of the Hosta photos that I’ve posted here were purchased as plugs and potted up in May. I took these photos in July. Look at how great they look already after only being in the pot for a few weeks. That’s why I love this business! Plants never cease to amaze me.
Recently Duston and I traveled to Roger’s Backyard Nursery in Cranesville, Pa. Roger is One of Our Members and he has an awesome Backyard Nursery, and he uses pretty much every square inch of his yard to grow and sell plants. In this video I talk with Roger about how he does his Hostas. Keep in mind, it was cold, rainy and most plants were still dormant when we did the video.
How do you know which Hosta’s you are free to grow and which ones are patented. First of all, you need the original plant tag from the day that you purchased your hosta. If you no longer have the plant tag, then don’t propagate that plant. Instead start collecting Hostas that you are free to propagate. See this page on tagging, you’ll see where to look for plant patent info on plant tags.
Inside of Our Members Area is where we all share our wholesale sources and in those wholesale catalogs the growers clearly disclose which plants are patented and which ones are not. On the patented ones you have to pay a small royalty per plant and you have to buy tags to go with those plants so the plant patent info is on every patented plant that you sell. It may sound complicated but it’s not, it very easy and it allows us small growers to offer plants that are in high demand, plus all of the old favorites that will always be in demand.
Be sure to watch the movie!
When Should You Divide Hostas?
You can divide Hostas in the late fall after a frost, or you can divide them in the early spring just as they start to emerge. Spring is a great time because you can see the emerging eyes which makes it easy to know where to cut them. Simply cut them apart with a knife, a saw or a spade. Typically a good division is three eyes per division but I’d be perfectly happy with two eyes. And if I were doing them for myself, not to sell immediately, I’d be happy with a single eye as long as it had a decent amount of roots.
Summer Time Dividing of Hostas?
Believe it or not you can divide Hosta during the growing season, but not in the spring when they are actively growing. Hostas put out a spurt of new growth in the spring then they rest. Once they are into that rest period you can dig and divide them. The tops will wilt down so you might as well remove it at the time you divide them. Once planted they will start growing again.
Questions, comments, mean things to say? Post them below and I’ll respond.
Leslie Ponder says
Where can I sale my hosta?
If you have named varieties you could easily sell thousands of bare root clumps in our members area. http://backyardgrowers.com/join
If I have a really interesting “sport” from a hosta, how do I go about commercializing it? I know that the hosta genome is not all that stable and sports sometimes revert back, so I will not be too hopeful until after a few more years of growth with the same phenotype. I have no idea even where to register a new hosta variety, to be honest.
If you want to patent the plant you would need to file a plant patent application with the U.S. Plant Patent Office. But the only way that patent would be approved is if you can prove to them that through several generations and lots and lots of plants the plant is stable. Hhere is the link to the patent office, you have to put the pp and the number to get its info.
Linda Locke says
I am interested in the Mini Skirt Hosta and the Blue Mouse Ears. I live in Waco, TX and wonder if there are any of your members in this area that are selling them.
I see blue mouse ears in the buy/sell area, http://backyardgrowers.com/join, from time to time, but mini skirt is patented and you have to buy those from one of our wholesale sources. Still pretty cheap, just a couple dollars each.
Chris Gorrell says
Hi Mike, Thanks so much for all of your helpful advice. My question to you is, can hosta stems be rooted? I was dividing a rather large clump of very large elephant ear hosta (I’m not sure if that is the right name or not) and as I was attempting to break it apart, several of the stems broke off without any roots on them. Can these stems be saved? I immediately put the stems in water, but I’m not sure what to do with them. I’d love to have some more of these plants if possible. Thank you for any info.
Under the right conditions they might root, but I’ve never really heard of anybody doing them that way.
Is it too late to trim back my burning bush? It has nice green leaves already but it’s getting too tall.
Sylvia, You can trim it some, but a really hard pruning would be better when dormant.
Mike,. What are the names of some of your Hosta wholesalers? Stef
We only share wholesale sources inside the members area. http://backyardgrowers.com/join Sorry.
I know this is a bit off topic but I just purchased a bunch of different perennial plants online for my grandma’s small backyard. We are in Zone 7 and this is the first time I am doing this. I recently became interested in gardening and was wondering if I could separate plants from the gallon containers?
I have read a bunch of your blog posts but I didn’t see the topic covered. Once My grandma receives them between this week and next week, do they go straight into the ground? I want to receive them all before planting so I can plan the layout. I just asked her to water them but don’t drown them… but now I don’t know if they are coming in little baggies. Kind of scared now especially because of all the money spent.
Can you give me some advice?
You can divide perennials in one gallons unless they are patented, check the tags. It will say if they are. Yes, plant as soon as you get them. Don’t fertilize them just plant and water, they should do fine as long as you receive viable plants. There’s a place called Garden Watch Dog where you can look up online sellers to see how others rate them.
Thank you so much Mike for the Garden Watch Dog information. I truly appreciate it. What I am planting is just for the backyard not for resell. Can you still seperate? I ask because a 3 gallon plant seems rather large and if I could separate roots and plant in three different places, I think it will make things even… same with a one gallon plant. Also for shrubs plants… those grow rather large? I had an idea in mind but now I don’t know what to do with a 3 Gal Canyon Creek Abelia, 1 Gal Autumn Sunset and a 3 gallon Autumn Sunburst Azalea’s as I didn’t notice that they were shrubs. In New York City we don’t have much space in backyards especially when part of the backyard is cement.
Thank you again!!
Shrubs cannot be separated, they grow from a single crown. The perennials can only be divided if they are not patented no matter what they are to be used for.
Ahhh thank you for the heads up. Really appreciate it.
Joe Catania says
is now a good time to cut back my mohawk daisies /?
I would say it is, a perennial I assume. Tops should be pretty much used up with new growth starting.
Joe Catania says
Yes you are correct New shoots growing can I prune it back now ? Joe
Yes you can, just remove all of the dead material from the plant.
Joe Catania says
Mike don’t recall if I responed but yes you are correct shoots are starting to appear can I cut the dead stalks and trim it back now thx joe
Absolutely, prune away.
Jean ANDERSON says
Mike and Lisa: When I had a smail problem I placed a plastic plate on the ground with a rock to keep it in place. After a time when you pick up the plate the snails will have gathered there. Yucky, but easy to dispose of. Good luck!
Lisa Kerbo says
I love my hosta’s, the problem is so does the big snails ( up to about a inch wide) the snail bate on the market is harmful to animals,i have a cat and a small dog. i try to go out in the morning and pick the snails up, but it is so discouraging. what product do you suggest for this?
Gardens Alive sells a product call Escar Go or something like that. It works, I’ve used it. Take a look at their website.
Used coffee grounds are an excellent snail deterrent as they don’t like the smell and tend to stay away. Simply sprinkle coffee grounds around your hostas – your garden will smell great and look good, too with a nice top dressing of dark ‘java mulch’!
Judith St. Louis says
I use crushed egg shells around the plants…. snails hate them Others use coarse coffee grounds… again snails hate them…. I dry my egg shells (doesn’t take much even when oven is off) and then put them in plastic bag and crush and store over winter…in a pastic tub. Anything coarse around the hostas will keep slugs away.
I have used play sand around all my hostas and never had any problems with slugs and snails,with there smooth and soft skin they approach the area around plant and leave it alone.
Crushed Egg shells ! Snails hate them
Shelby Britt says
Why have my varigated Hostas changed to solid green?
Too much sun will do that with some varieties and some variegated plants can lose their variegation over time. But I’m guessing it’s the sun.
Shelby, I don’t know what kind of hosta(s) your referring to, but some hostas do change throughout the season. I have one that starts with nice variegation in the spring and gradually changes until by early to mid summer the leaves are completely green. Could be you have something like that going on.