Hosta Care: What You Need To Know

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hosta care guide

So you want to know how to do Hosta care the right way?

Well, then you’ve come to the right place!

Read along and you’ll be ready to get the most out of these shade garden beauties.

Hosta Care: Suitable USDA Zones

Chances are good that if you’re reading this, you can grow Hostas in your area!

This is because they’re some of the hardiest and adaptable perennials around.

There are varieties that will survive down to Zone 3 and there are varieties that will go up to Zone 9.

Talk about a huge range. So you just need to ensure you’re picking a variety that will do well in your area.

Overwintering Hostas

Hostas are deciduous. This means that they will die back to the ground every winter.

Therefore, overwintering your Plantain Lilies really is pretty simple.

Once they die back to the ground, you don’t really have to do anything. They’ll return anew in spring.

Here’s a great picture of some Hostas re-emerging in spring.

There’s nothing quite like seeing that fresh new foliage coming out of the ground.

You can provide some extra precautions to help ensure they survive the winter.

In fact, if you are in an extremely cold environment, such as USDA Zones 3-5, you really should provide some supplemental coverage.

All you need to do is cover the dormant hostas with 3-4 inches of either mulch or pine straw.

This will provide another layer of protection for your dormant Hostas and will help ensure that they make it through the winter.

Keep in mind, though, you need to remove the mulch or pine straw once spring rolls around.

If you don’t, they will probably die underneath there.

Sun Exposure

This is one of the best aspects of Hosta care.

In fact, I’d go as far as to say that this is one of the main reasons that people grow Hostas. They handle shade very well.

Now, I’m not saying that they are Full Shade plants. They really aren’t. Most plants aren’t. They need sun to perform photosynthesis and survive.

But they are good options if you have a primarily shady spot that maybe only receives an hour or two of direct sun. Or maybe you have a spot that receives filtered sun throughout the day.

They’ll grow better in these conditions than many perennials.

variegated hosta care

They also grow well in areas where they’ll receive all-morning sun and all-afternoon shade.

They will get fried if you plant them in all-day or all-afternoon sun, so keep that in mind.

How To Water Your Hostas

When they’re first planted, you’ll want to provide regular water weekly.

A deep watering once a week is plenty during moderate to cool weather.

Water new plantings 2 to 3 times per week during extended droughts and extreme heat.

Once they’re well-established in the landscape, they won’t need much extra water. However, it’s a good idea to water them deeply once a week during the summer.

This way they’ll have plenty of water to grow and bloom.

Soil Requirements for Ideal Hosta Care

Hostas grow best when their soil is rich and well-draining.

For this reason, Loamy soil is ideal.

Loam generally consists of sand, clay, and humus (decomposed organic matter). The end result is soil that drains well, breathes easily, holds some moisture, and is rich in nutrients.

One easy way to improve the organic richness of the soil for your Hostas is to mix in compost with your native soil when planting.

You can also add around 3 inches of compost around the base of your plant yearly to continue improving the soil.

Soil pH

Plantain Lilies are not incredibly picky when it comes to soil pH.

They’ll grow well in neutral, slightly acidic, or slightly alkaline soil.

If your soil is below a pH of 6.5, supplement it with Lime to raise the pH.

If it’s above 7.5, supplement with elemental sulfur to lower it.

Hostas: How to Divide

Unlike many perennials, Hostas don’t actually NEED to be divided. They’ll grow happily for many many years undivided.

Why might you want to divide them?

  • You want to give some away to friends or family.
  • You want to plant some elsewhere in your landscape

So, if you do, here’s how it’s done.

  1. Use a shovel to cut around the entire Hosta.
  2. Carefully remove the plants from the hole with the spade
  3. If your plant is smaller, you can shake the extra dirt off (Carefully!). If you have a large clump, you can gently hose the water off.
  4. Now that you can see the exposed roots, you should be able to identify the eyes (individual plants).
  5. You can remove plants by hand or you can cut the clumps into sections. If you cut the clumps, chances are that you’ll lose some eyes. Some varieties are easy to separate apart and some will require cutting.
  6. If you’re so inclined, you can separate out each individual eye and get dozens of plants. Or you can cut it into just a few parts. It’s up to you.
  7. Replant your divided Hostas and water very regularly, 3 or even 4 times per week. Your new plants will dry out easily since the soil was removed from their roots. Sometimes it’s easier to start individual eyes out in pots (pictured below).

Wrapping Up Hosta Care

Don’t overthink it when it comes to Hosta care, they’re generally hardy plants.

However, do take the time to ensure that they’re prepared for success. A little extra care goes a long way.

Good luck and happy planting!

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