Hostas are a very long lived perennial. Many clumps can continue undisturbed in the same location for decades and decades. However, it is common for the center parts of such clumps to begin to decline over time. Clump decline is also known as center clump dieback, fairy ring and centering out. What is happening is that the oldest tissue in the clump is starting to give up the ghost.

Think about how hostas grow. You plant a single division and it adds new buds and divisions on the outer edge of the crown. Over the years, this increases the diameter and size of the clump. So, the oldest part of the clump is in the center.

Usually, this situation can be overcome by rejuvenating the plant. Some people just take a shovel or sharp garden knife and cut out the dead area. This will cause damage to the surrounding crown tissue and should stimulate new buds in that area. In a season or two, that part of the clump will fill in again.

Another approach is to dig up the clump, remove the dead part and cut the rest into smaller divisions. Again, this will stimulate new buds and new growth to keep the plant going just fine for another few decades.

If the plant shows signs of Southern blight which has rotted the center of the plant, you will want to move the live parts to a new, uninfected soil after soaking them in a mild solution of bleach (10-20%) before replanting.  

 

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