How to Plant and Grow Gorgeous, Shade-Loving Hosta Plants

Updated on April 30, 2019
Casey White profile image

Dorothy is a Master Gardener, former newspaper reporter, and the author of several books. Michael is a landscape/nature photographer in NM.

With lots of luck, patience  and a green thumb, you could have hostas like these!
With lots of luck, patience and a green thumb, you could have hostas like these!

They Love the Shade!

  • Hostas are a shade-loving plant. So, if you have some dark, moist areas in your yard that need a makeover, fill the space with different types of hostas, which are perennials so you can enjoy them year after year. The perfect place to plant them is around trees that offer natural shade with only a hint of sunshine.
  • A hosta plant, also called a plantain lily, is the perfect plant for providing color and texture to your yard. They are available in several different shades of green and blue, and there are also variegated varieties that have white, silver and gold patches or stripes on their gorgeous leaves.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
My hosta plant is just a mere baby...but it will grow and spread quickly.This is the same baby hosta a month later.
My hosta plant is just a mere baby...but it will grow and spread quickly.
My hosta plant is just a mere baby...but it will grow and spread quickly. | Source
This is the same baby hosta a month later.
This is the same baby hosta a month later.

These Are the Things You Will Need:

  • Hosta plants (Identification chart below should help)
  • Peat moss
  • Garden trowel
  • Diatomaceous earth

Which Hosta Would You Like?

If you are not sure which hosta would look best in your garden, this identification chart should help you decide.
If you are not sure which hosta would look best in your garden, this identification chart should help you decide.

Instructions for Successful Hosta Plants

  • The very first thing you have to do is find suitable, healthy hosta plants. You need to look for dense plants in pots that have some leaf buds, and at least a few unfolded leaves. Stay away from any wilted hostas in containers full of dry soil. If the pots get dry, the hosta plant can wilt to the point of no return.

  • Once you have your hosta plants in hand, dig a hole that is about twice as large as the pot they are in. Wait until all danger of frost has passed. I have found it is best to fill the hole with a mixture of soil and peat moss.

  • Be extremely careful when you remove the hosta from its original container. You don't want to damage the roots, and you should leave the rootball intact as much as you can.

  • Place the plant in the hole leaving the base of the plant level with the ground. Fill in the hole around the plant with soil and press gently but firmly to set the hosta in place.

  • Water enough so that you have completely saturated the soil around the plant. You can apply some shredded pine bark around the plant as mulch, then sit back and watch this beautiful foliage grow and spread, year after year.

  • Hostas also produce stately purple flowers that some people adore and others despise. I happen to dislike them, as they take away from the great foliage of the hosta, which is the true beauty of the plant. I cut them off, but if you keep them, cut the flower stalks back after the blooms fade. Remove any damaged leaves (slugs love hostas and make big, ugly holes in the leaves).

  • Frances Williams hosta is one of my favorite varieties. It will grow and spread to about four feet. It has green leaves trimmed in gold and the leaves appear to almost have a seersucker design to them. There are several varieties from which you can choose. They all look great together and are especially nice when planted en masse.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
A young Hosta....and this is the same little hosta a month later.
A young Hosta.
A young Hosta. | Source
...and this is the same little hosta a month later.
...and this is the same little hosta a month later.

Special Tips

  • In the early spring, divide any established hostas when the soil is warm enough to be worked. Digging with a shovel, dig deep enough to dig up the whole clump. Separate the clump, divide in half and then replant each one. Next year, you will have twice as many plants.

  • Use plenty of organic matter in the soil as you prepare the area in which you are going to plant.

  • Mulch will provide protection in the winter.

  • Large holes in the leaves are signs of slugs. You can prevent slugs by spreading diatomaceous earth around the plants, but a saucer of beer will work also.

    Note: If you are having trouble with ants eating your hostas, set loose some ladybugs, and they should take care of the problem for you, no pesticides needed.

Hostas do love the shade!
Hostas do love the shade! | Source

Learn How to Divide and Propagate Hostas

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

  • Can I dig up a Hosta plant in early June and replant it elsewhere?

    It is not the best time, but if you are careful not to cut the roots, you will probably be successful. Get the spot you are transplanting them to utterly ready before you dig them up. Don't leave the roots above ground for long.

© 2011 Mike and Dorothy McKenney


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    • Casey White profile imageAUTHOR

      Mike and Dorothy McKenney 

      9 years ago from United States

      No problem on the link. Thanks for reading!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Great tips on caring for hosta. Would like to link this hub to mine on hosta if you have no objection. Thanks!


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