How to Grow Hostas & Care Guide

One of the most popular perennials in the world of gardening is the hosta. For a low-maintenance landscape, these plants are a great choice.

Originally from Asia and transported to Europe in the 1700s, there are now over 2,500 cultivars of hostas, each with its own unique leaf form, size, and texture.

Even though caring for hostas is considered simple, knowing how to grow hostas will allow you to get the most out of your yard investment in the plants.

Where and How to Grow Hostas

When it comes to sunlight, hosta plants are often referred to as “shade lovers,” but this isn’t entirely accurate. Color is the key to growing hostas in the shade.

Depending on the cultivar, you can find hosta leaves in hues ranging from a deep blue to bright chartreuse to a creamy white.

As a general rule of thumb, the lighter the leaves, the brighter the sun should be for hostas. In the mild shade, the darker, richer foliage looks its finest.

To maintain their white and gold stripes, variegated species require more sunlight.

Few, if any, of the hostas you’ll find at a garden center will thrive in direct sunlight.

Four to eight years later, they’ll be ready to leave the nest.

Plant hostas in rich organic soil with a slightly acidic pH for the best care.

Only one time is required. Set aside a space large enough to accommodate a full-sized plant while digging a planting hole.

As a result, the roots will have an easier time getting established and can begin spreading out horizontally.

Hostas, despite their tropical appearance, are hardy and can grow in virtually any soil once established.

Drainage is the most crucial consideration when it comes to growing hostas.

One of the few diseases that affect these plants during the dormant season is dormant season crown rot. Drainage is an important part of proper hosta management.

Keep the roots of newly planted plants damp but not wet.

Hosta plants aren’t fussy once they’ve been established, and they’re extremely tolerant of summer drought.

Tips for Hosta Care

As soon as your plant is established, hosta care is a simple question of upkeep.

Every spring, use an all-purpose garden fertilizer on your growing hostas to keep them healthy.

It’s not a necessity to apply more fertilizer throughout the warmer months. The leaves should never be exposed to granular fertilizers.

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Hosta plants are generally disease-free, save for crown rot and leaf rot.

To keep deer away from your hosta’s budding shoots, you might want to consider growing daffodils around it if you live in an area where deer are a common problem.

Slugs can also be a problem when it comes to caring for Hostas. Keep them at bay with a thin sprinkling of sand around your plants.

With their wide range of sizes ranging from a few inches to four feet (1.2 meters), hostas make a lovely addition to any garden.

Now that you’ve learned the basics of how to cultivate hostas, you’ll be glad to have them in your garden.

Pruning Hostas

When the flower stalks the first sprout, some gardeners will cut them off, but more knowledgeable growers know how important the white or purple blossoms are to bees and other pollinators.

Make sure that you remove the stalks of any flowers that you allow to bloom.

Propagating Hostas

Hostas, in contrast to many other perennials, are satisfied to grow right where they are, without needing to be removed and divided on a regular basis.

Hostas are among the easiest plants to break apart and share with others if you wish to propagate them.

All it takes to start a new plant is a sliver of the root. What you need to know:

  • Use a sharp shovel or spade to remove the entire plant from the ground in the fall or early spring.
  • Using your hands, if possible, or a trowel or shovel if the clump is too hard, break the root ball into segments. Despite the fact that each segment should have some leaves attached, even a small naked portion of the root is generally able to survive and produce new growth.
  • Plant the pieces where you want them to be. Keep the pieces moist and they will last for several weeks before replanting.

How to Grow Hostas From Seed

It is possible to gather and plant the seeds of several hostas, but the plants may not “come true” as a result.

This means that certain types do not yield seeds at all. Seeds from hybrid varieties may produce plants that look different from the parent variety, so don’t be shocked.

Reverting to one of the parent plants’ genetic traits is common in hybrid seeds.

The variegated, ruffled leaves of a hosta, for example, may give rise to a hosta with plain green leaves.

But if you’re a plant lover, you may still want to give this workout a whirl.

The seeds are inside the seed pods, which you can break apart once the blossoms have faded and dried for a few days.

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During the winter, the seeds can be stored in containers filled with commercial potting mix, and then planted in the spring.

Using additional potting mix, wet the seeds and place them in an area that is both warm and bright.

Until the seeds germinate in about three weeks, mist the soil daily.

Sow the seeds and nurture the plants until they are ready to be planted outside in a cooler location with indirect sunshine.

Potting and Repotting Hostas

Potting mix made from commercial potting soil is ideal for growing Hostas in containers.

The container does not need to be any particular size, but it should be at least as broad as the mature plant’s leaf spread when it is potted.

Keep in mind that container plants are vulnerable to temperature extremes, so in colder climates, you may need to dig them into the ground or place them in cold frames or unheated garages.

Potted hostas should be placed in an area with bright indirect light and watered frequently because indoor winter air tends to be extremely dry.

The six-week chilling phase will be necessary at some time in the winter.

Repotting container-grown hostas in the spring is an option if you so want.

This may be required as the plant grows, but many kinds can be kept in the same container for many years.


Generally, these hardy plants don’t need to be protected from the cold throughout the winter.

Keep the plants moist, but reduce the amount of fertilizer you give them as winter approaches.

Dispose of any dying leaves to avoid the overwintering of pathogenic fungi and pest larvae.

Compost piles do not benefit from the vegetation, which should be removed and disposed of.

A dry mulch, such as pine needles, straw, or dried leaves, can be useful in far northern climates to protect the root crowns.

During the winter, potted hostas should be buried in the ground up to the rim of their pots and then mulched.

Common Pests & Plant Diseases

As low-care plants, hostas need to be kept an eye out for a number of pests and diseases:

  • Hostas are vulnerable to slugs and snails that eat ragged holes in the leaves and can destroy the plants if they are not dealt with in time. These pests can be caught and killed using a wide range of bait.
  • nematodes can cause the veins in the leaves to turn brown. To protect wildlife and fish, it is best to remove and kill any plants that have been affected by chemical controls.
  • Infected hostas need to be removed and destroyed because several viruses have been found to target them.
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As a frequent and potentially deadly fungal disease of hostas, anthracnose is one to watch out for. As the weather warms and rains, it is more likely to occur

Large irregular dots surrounded by dark borders can be seen on the leaves of plants that have been affected by the disease.

A preventative fungicide application administered in the spring may prevent the illness, but once it takes hold, plants usually need to be destroyed.

On rare occasions, leaf spots and crown rot will show up on your leaves as well.

Fungicides and basic hygiene can help avoid this, but plants that are significantly afflicted may need to be taken out of service.

How to Get Hostas to Bloom

Hostas are mostly grown for their foliage, not their flowers. If you don’t like how they look, you can even cut them off before they open.

Hosta flowers, on the other hand, are attractive to bees and other pollinators, and they give off a nice aroma when they bloom.

Hostas flower with little more than a little sunlight and a lot of water.

Despite their common name as “shadow plants,” these plants will not produce many flowers if they are placed in a location where they will receive no light at all.

Some hostas don’t begin to bloom until they’ve reached a certain age. Be patient; it could take up to seven years for your variety to fully bloom.

Common Problems With Hostas

If an issue does arise, it is usually minor and rarely fatal. This list includes some of the most prevalent issues with hostas:

Holes in Leaves

Slugs and snails are the most common culprits when you find ragged holes in leaves.

Disturbing mollusks can be discouraged by keeping the ground surrounding plants clear of rubbish.

Shredded Leaves

Hosta leaves can be badly harmed by hail storms, which can lead to illness.

The plant will swiftly recover if three of the affected leaves are removed.

Leaf Edges Burned

Hosta leaf edges that are brown and shriveled are typically the result of overexposure to direct sunlight, which causes the leaves to burn.

If feasible, provide some shade for the plant throughout the summer months.

Trim or remove damaged leaves, and new ones will grow in their place.

Leaves Have Spots

A fungal or bacterial infection is frequently the cause of this symptom.

Using soaker hoses instead of aerial spraying is the best way to prevent these infections.

Foliage Is Yellow, Growth Is Stunted

Too much watering or rainfall may have caused your plant’s crown to rot, as this is a common indicator.

Damaged vegetation must be ripped out and disposed of.

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