Hosta plants are one of the Queens of the shady garden. They add bold texture, subtle color, and with some varieties, beautiful scent. They are a low maintenance plant once you understand their needs, and come in many different leaf shapes, textures and coloring. They are easy to grow in most parts of the country, you just need to know these little tricks of the trade. So if you want to learn how to grow and care for hosta plants, you are in the right place!

 

 

How to Grow & Care for Hosta Plants

Hosta Plants Need Sun

Thats right, for all of you who planted hostas under the deep shade of a huge elm, and wondered why they didnt thrive, the truth is, they are sun lovers. The problem is, they sun burn! But they are shade tolerant. The trick is to provide the hostas with a few hours of morning sun, or dappled sun throughout the day. With the proper lighting, hostas grow larger and have more vibrant coloring.

grow hostas

 

Hostas Need Cold

Hosta plants do not do well in temperate climates, because they need a certain amount of cold during the winter to cause them to go dormant, allowing them to store up energy for the next season, much as bulbs do. Many perennials have these same requirements. They are hardy plants, and can even take Midwest winters. Make sure you choose a hosta variety that suits your area.

grow hostas

 

Hostas are Resistant to Disease & Pests

Except slugs and snails that is. There is no more a gourmet treat for a slug than a juicy hosta leaf, so make sure you practice control as soon as the first leaf unfurls from the ground in the spring. Use slug bait to control the damage.

 

Hosta Plants Need Good Soil!

Many people try to plant hostas beneath trees because they have trouble growing grass in that deep shade. However, when tree roots compact the soil and the roots of the hosta, it simply can’t thrive. Make sure your hostas have plenty of loose, fertile soil and you fertilize regularly.

grow hostas

 

Hosta Varieties

Hosta plants come in hundreds of different varieties and sizes. They can have blue leaves, variegated leaves, lime and emerald green coloring. They are as small as twelve inches, to as large as five feet. Some are fragrant, most are not. In fact, some gardeners cut the flowers off in early summer, as they are pretty nominal. You can find hosta plants that thrive in your area at your local nursery, or you can shop online for a better selection of types of hostas.

How to Grow (and love!) Hostas

 

Follow these easy tricks on how to grow & care for hosta plants, and you may find yourself quickly addicted to one of the most popular garden plants around.

grow hostas

You may also be interested in our post on Showy Shade Garden Ideas. Or, check out this post on Marimo Moss Balls on our sister site OhMeOhMy!


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31 Comments

  1. Donna July 7, 2019 at 1:11 pm

    How do I get rid of groundhogs?

    Reply
  2. Bonnie May 24, 2018 at 8:29 am

    What kind can take all day sun?

    Reply
    1. Kathy Woodard July 10, 2018 at 3:43 pm

      Sum & Substance is the best at taking sun in our experience, but Hostas never like ALL day sun, they are a shade plant!

      Reply
  3. Patti January 13, 2018 at 8:10 pm

    Can you put these in large pots/

    Reply
    1. Kathy Woodard January 29, 2018 at 5:30 pm

      Yes!

      Reply
  4. B. K. September 26, 2017 at 3:27 pm

    I get lots of hummingbirds, butterflys, and hummingbird moths visiting the flowers of the hosta.. So I wouldn’t cut them off.

    Reply
  5. Jane Milligan September 25, 2017 at 11:32 am

    A trick I learned from a nursery owner in New Hampshire. He surrounded his hosta with pine needles. The needles are scratchy and leave cuts in the slug’s soft underbelly, and the acid in the needles stings those cuts so the slugs look elsewhere for a meal. I used this method for years in NH. Now that I have moved to North Carolina, I’m trying it again. So far, it seems to be working.

    Reply
  6. Emma Hoffman August 6, 2017 at 8:41 pm

    I have not seen anything on the care of hosta’s

    Reply
  7. rich July 24, 2017 at 4:26 am

    Can someone tell me what outdoor plant is easy to care for in Philadelphia/Thanks.

    Reply
  8. Margie Peterson May 19, 2016 at 10:08 am

    Do I cut the flower stems off my hostas?

    Reply
    1. Kathy Woodard June 21, 2016 at 12:37 pm

      Totally up to you… Some of them are fragrant, but we usually cut them off.

      Reply
  9. Cherie Young July 26, 2015 at 9:09 am

    My hostas are really droopy. Is there anything I can do to encourage them to grow “UP” and out instead of just drooping to the ground?

    Reply
    1. Kathy Woodard August 4, 2015 at 2:49 pm

      Are they getting enough water? Too much sun?

      Reply
  10. JoyceK June 21, 2015 at 8:23 pm

    What are people doing to repel deer? They pick out my hostas and eat them to the ground. Was going to try Irish Spring soap shavings, but someone told me that soap is toxic for cats. Any suggestions??

    Reply
    1. judy July 15, 2015 at 7:39 am

      Coyote urine on cotton balls or in tiny plastic bottle attached to nearby shrubs. Works for me. I am in Manassas VA. You can sometimes find at Southern States and Ace Hardware/TrueValue stores. If not, you will find it on line. Wear gloves when working with it. It is quite smelly.

      Reply
    2. Laura May 16, 2016 at 5:36 pm

      My sister uses cut up Irish Spring to repel deer. She also has a lot of outside cats. She’s been using this method for years with no cat-poisoning incidents.

      Reply
  11. GinaO May 28, 2015 at 9:22 pm

    Another way to keep slugs at bay is to plant rosemary around hosta. Creeping Rosemary is good too. The leaves cut them and they won’t cross.

    Reply
  12. Joy May 27, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    I was curious at what time of year can you separate and replant them?

    Reply
    1. Kathy Woodard June 9, 2015 at 10:41 am

      Spring works fine, but fall is best!

      Reply
  13. Lynn Landis May 6, 2015 at 10:39 am

    Go organic. Coffee grinds are ok, in addition to them add copper pipe as a border or wrap a strip of aluminum around the base. They won’t cross it. Plus I save and wash egg shells, and after they are dry I chop them in the food processor. Sprinkle them around under the leaves. They wont crawl over the shells. Other plants benefit from this calcium too. Have fun.

    Reply
  14. Karen schneider April 22, 2015 at 11:42 am

    I love hostas they are my favorite but have a hard time finding the names of the few that I have.

    Reply
  15. olive goold April 7, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    Instead of coffee grounds can I use out-of-date ground coffee, I wondered if it might be too strong.

    Reply
    1. Kathy Woodard April 10, 2015 at 8:09 am

      Anyone tried that?

      Reply
      1. Jennifer May 5, 2015 at 9:25 am

        I used the coffee technique and it seemed to work well. Also kept the neighborhood cats away from the soil as well. I just kept the spent coffee grounds in a bucket under the sink after I made my morning coffee and tossed them out once a week. A regular coffee drinker, I was able to reuse my old coffee grounds on a regular basis. Give it a try, either way, if you are already making coffee, why not use the spent grounds for something good!

        Reply
  16. RainerS January 8, 2015 at 1:19 am

    Hello, best is to collect the coffe grounds und and put it aound the hostas.
    The coffee grounds is a poison to the snails. Secondly the coffee is a fertilizer.

    Reply
  17. Renee February 14, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    Can you tell me how to keep slugs/snail’s from eating my hosta’s? NOTHING SEEMS TO WORK.
    Thanks.
    Renee

    Reply
    1. Kathy Woodard February 15, 2014 at 12:43 pm

      Can you tell me what you’ve tried so far? There are a lot of remedies, but different ones work for different areas as well…what area of the country are you in?

      Reply
    2. Dave A. September 3, 2014 at 6:36 pm

      Good old fashioned Sevin or Malathion spray mixture around the base of your hostas. Be careful though, spray only in the evening when honey bees aren’t active.

      Reply
    3. Angie May 6, 2015 at 12:28 pm

      I am using a mixture of ammonia and water and it is working wonders. It’s a four parts water to one part ammonia and I mix it in a pump sprayer. I spray the entire plant as soon as they start coming up. If it rains, make sure you get out there and spray them again. It’s a nitrogen boost as well, so you really can’t go wrong. If the ammonia makes you nervous, you can make the solution a little weaker.

      Reply
    4. kathy May 6, 2015 at 3:44 pm

      I live in coastal south carolina and have done many things including nightly slug hunting with a flashlight and container of salt water to drop them in. I now mix 4 oz of ammonia with 36 oz of water in a spray bottle and soak my hostages, the ground around them, the trees (pretty much everything) and my hostages are gorgeous, lush, and a slug is rare!!!! Cheap and very effective!

      Reply
    5. Mary Jo May 1, 2016 at 6:08 pm

      Sweet gum balls! Snails hate them and will not crawl over them. Pile them up around your hosta!

      Reply

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