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

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!

Beautify the Shady Spots in Your Yard With Colorful Hostas

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.

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.

My hosta plant is just a mere baby in this photo, but it will grow and spread quickly.

My hosta plant is just a mere baby in this photo, but it will grow and spread quickly.

This is the same baby hosta a month later.

This is the same baby hosta a month later.

What You Need to Plant Hostas

  • Hosta plants (Check the identification chart below to pick a variety.)
  • Peat moss
  • Garden trowel
  • Diatomaceous earth
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.

Planting Instructions

  1. Choose healthy 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.
  2. Dig the hole. 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.
  3. Remove the hosta from its pot carefully. 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.
  4. Plant the hosta. 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.
  5. Water and mulch. 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.

Do Hostas Flower?

Hostas 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).

My Favorite Variety

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.

Special Care 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.
  • 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.

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

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

Answer: 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

Comments

Mike and Dorothy McKenney (author) from United States on June 13, 2011:

No problem on the link. Thanks for reading!

RTalloni on June 13, 2011:

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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