Caring for Hosta

Hostas make a magnificent addition to any flowerbed. They have amazing foliage that ranges from light chartreuse to deep blue hues. Some hosta varieties remain small while others, like the Empress Wu variety, can get as large as 4 feet tall! Different varieties and cultivars are able to withstand sun or shade, so hostas can be planted in any bed.

These plants are incredibly hardy and make a great plant for gardeners of any level. Here are some facts and tips for you to keep in mind when you are purchasing, planting, and caring for your hosta.

Hostas are one of my personal favorites. Since they are native to my area, I love seeing them in nature when I go on hikes. I have even taken a few from surrounding parks and reservoirs to take home for my personal collection. The leaves are so beautiful and the flower spikelets that bloom in the spring look great on a cool day. 

Purchasing:

Buy the right hosta

Become familiar with your garden. Before you go to the nursery you should know how much sun your garden receives, the soil quality, and moisture level. Considering all of these variables will help you choose the best cultivar for your particular needs. You should also consider how large you want your hosta to grow. The nursery tag will tell you the hosta’s ideal conditions and estimated mature size

Buy Quality

Make sure that you are purchasing healthy plants! Quality does not necessarily mean expensive. Before you take your plant home, quickly inspect it for any lesions, dead spots, or bug infestations.

Buy less than you need!

Usually, hosta can be divided straight from the nursery. One hosta from the nursery can usually be divided into 3 or more plants. This is an easy way to save money and multiply the plants in your garden.

Care:

 

Spring

Mulch around hosta in the early spring just after you see the leaves beginning to emerge from the ground. Fresh mulch provides protection from temperature extremes, retains water and deters weeds.

Summer

Around mid July to mid August remove dried and shriveled flowers at the base. Removing the flower stems redirects energy to the root system and neatens flower beds.

Fall

After the first killing frost, cut hosta leaves down to the base. Removing the leaves prevents insects and disease from manifesting in the following spring. It also cleans up flower beds for the winter.

Planting:

 

Timing

Hosta can be planted any time of year, however, early spring is ideal. Try to avoid planting in the heat of summer. However, if you must plant during summer, make sure that you give your hosta plenty of water.

Preparation

Clay is abundant in our area. Prep your planting site with equal parts native soil, peat moss, and pine bark fines. Peat moss retains moisture in the soil. The larger pine bark fines aerate the soil and prevent compaction.

Mulching

Mulch around your hosta immediately after planting. Mulch protects the new plant from temperature extremes. It also retains water and prevents competition from weeds.

Pruning

To help your hosta establish strong roots quickly, remove any flowers that you see during the first year. Removing flowers redirects plant energy to the roots. This practice isn’t necessary but it will help establish your gardens more quickly if done for the first year after planting.

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