Hostas are possibly the best clump-forming herbaceous perennial foliage plant due to their varieties which vary from large plants to smaller ones suitable for rock gardens. Known for their leaf shape, size and textures, Hosta’s thrive in the shade and make good container plants but beware, slugs and snails love them.
Basic Growing Conditions
When: We suggest planning a Hosta in spring or autumn when the soil is not too dry, and the weather is not too hot.
Where: Hostas are shade lovers, so plant hostas under partial shade, like under a tree. If you are unsure what shade is best, check out our plants for shade article.
Soil: We suggest growing the Hostas in fertile soils, including heavy clay, improved with extra garden compost.
Planting: Hosta’s can be grown in pots or in the ground, but for best results, we suggest in borders if possible.
Non-ideal Conditions: Hostas are not lovers of direct sunlight, dry soils or exposed, windy areas.
How to plant Hostas in borders:
To plant a Hosta, dig several planting holes at the same depth as the root ball and twice as wide, with a gap of 90cm between each hole. Gently tease out the roots and place them into the hole, then lightly cover them with the remaining soil and water.
How to plant Hostas in containers:
To plant Hosta’s in containers, the container must have a diameter of at least 30-40cm and have good drainage holes. Fill the container with peat-free multipurpose or loam-based potting compost and plant the Hostas so that the top of the root ball sits at the same level as in the previous pot. Once planted, water well and regularly check the moist soil for the first two weeks.
Caring for Hosta’s After Establishment:
After your hostas are planted and established, it is essential that you continue to care for them regularly. This includes:
- Regularly checking the soil is moist, particularly in dry weather over summer.
- Tidy up dead foliage in autumn.
- If the soil is poor for Hosta’s grown in borders, apply a general-purpose fertiliser in early spring and then mulch.
- For Hosta grown in containers, give a liquid feed once a month while the Hosta grows, using a general-purpose liquid feed fertiliser.
- Hostas are known to spread and tangle if grown too closely; we recommend dividing them every 4-5 years to prevent this.
Hostas should be cut back in late autumn, but you only need to cut the leaves that have started to wilt or turn yellow.
Hostas are perennials, meaning they come back bigger and better each year.
Hostas often start to die if they have been over or under-watered or if they have been surrounded by standing water. Signs of a hying Hosta are dry brown or yellowing leaves, a brown mushy decay at the base and discoloured leaves.
Hostas need watering daily for two weeks after first being planted. Once established, hostas then need watering once a week.
They can be grown in pots but will develop better in the ground
Shade. Hostas love lots of shade, but some will tolerate partial sunlight
You can grow a Hosta indoors, but it requires lots more care and attention. For example, growing a Hosta indoors requires you to check you have a container big enough, your Hosta doesn’t receive any direct sunlight, only watering when the soil feels slightly dry and fertilising the Hosta every other week during the growing season using a water-soluble fertiliser for houseplants. On top of this, the Hosta has a dormancy period during winter, which means you need to replicate the plant’s normal outdoor conditions, requiring them to be moved to a cool dark room.