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Planting Hostas

Published 1-4-2021

Hostas are known for having large foliage, with colors ranging from light/dark green to yellow or blue. There are around 40 different species of hostas (Hosta spp.) Other common names are plantain lilies or funkia. Native to Japan, Korea, and China, this leafy plant has summer and fall blooms of white, purple, pink, or blue. 

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Best suited for zones 3-9, this leafy plant thrives in moist, well-drained neutral soil. Most species have a height and width of 1-3 feet, so allow space for the plant to mature into it’s full size. Hostas are best housed in partial to full shade areas. This versatile plant works well in different kinds of garden areas, borders, or as a container plant.

What You Need To Plant Hostas

Garden spade
Garden knife (for splitting)
Shovel
Organic compost
wheelbarrow
Partial to full shade area

Where to Plant Hostas

Hostas like partial to full shade areas. It does not thrive in full sun, so placing it in areas such as under large trees, between buildings, or the north side of a house are ideal. Plant the hostas at least 12 inches deep in soil that is rich and moist. A well drained area is ideal. Avoid areas that can get too waterlogged, as overnight wet soil at the base of hostas can invite slugs to visit.

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Hostas Spacing

When thinking about planting hostas, spacing is key. There are many varieties and sizes of hostas plants. Consider how big the mature plant will be when planning out the garden area. If you acquired cut offs from a friend, and do not know the variety of plant, the general rule is to plant each hostas 3 feet from other plants.

Miniature Hostas - plant 12 inches apart with a 10-12 inch spread

Dwarf Hostas - plant 20 inches apart with a 18-20 inch spread

Medium Hostas - plant 40 inches apart with a 38-40 inch spread

Large Hostas - plant 60 inches apart with a 50-60 inch spread

Giant Hostas - plant 80 inches apart with a 70-80 inch spread

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Hostas are shade tolerant, so planting it near buildings or foundations will work well. Allow for soil moisture and spread considerations when planning your landscaping area. Planting hostas too close together can cause too moist of soil as well as difficulty when it comes time to split the plants.

Steps To Plant Hostas

Step 1 - Choose an area that is partial to full shade.

Step 2 - Dig a hole at least 12 inches deep and 1 ½ time the mature plant size.

Step 3 - Mix in organic compost.

Step 4 - Set the plant in the ground or container so the top of root ball will be level with the top of the soil.

Step 5 - Fill in around the root ball with soil, packing down gently.

Step 6 - Water slowly so the soil sets around the roots.

Step 7 - Water frequently until the plant is established.

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When to Plant Hostas

Hostas are a very easy to care for, hardy plant. Hostas can be planted from early spring to late summer; however, spring is the ideal time to plant potted, dormant, or divided plants. Spring is when the soil is cool and moist and the hostas roots grow the fastest. This is the best time to let it get a good jump on growth. Fragile new hostas may not thrive if planted during the summer months due to the fact that it will need extra watering to help it handle the heat. If you must plant hostas in the fall, be sure to do it several weeks before the soil freezes. This will allow time for the roots to establish.

Transplanting Hostas

Hostas are often known as a plant that can be split and shared with others. It does not need to be divided for the health of the plant, but more for appearance. Spring is the best time to divide or transplant an entire plant to another area. One good sized plant can be divided three or four times in one cutting.

Hostas have a clumping root system. When you dig up the plant be sure to leave as much root attached as possible. If moving the entire hostas, replant it at the same soil level as before. When splitting the plant, divide it when the plant pops up and before the leaves uncurl. Slice from the top down into the ground, including as many of the roots as you can. In both cases, add compost to the new hole before replanting and water thoroughly. Continue to water well until established. It is best to saturate the soil before transplanting or do it after a soaking rain.

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Hostas can also be divided and replanted in a pot. Follow the same split procedure and place the root ball about 2 inches from the rim of the container. Fill in with soil so the plant soils level is the same as before.