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Hosta Planting Guide

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Shady Ladies of the Nicest Kind
Hostas

Is your landscape shady? Do yourself a favor and find space for some hostas. There are plant sizes to fit most sites and varieties for very light to fairly dense shade. All add lush, leafy fullness and white or lavender flowers in summer, many with a sweet fragrance as a nice bonus. There are enough hosta cultivars in today's market to make your head spin. We've focused on a selection of the best; any variety here will perform with dependable strength and beauty. Just follow the planting instructions below and you'll be all set.







Outdoor Beds
  1. Find a location where the soil drains well. If there are still water puddles 5-6 hours after a hard rain, scout out another site. Or amend the soil with the addition of organic material to raise the level 2-3" to improve the drainage. Peat moss, compost, ground bark or decomposed manure all work well and are widely available. Hostas prefer soils that provide average moisture but are not water logged.
  2. Site your hostas where they will receive the amount of light recommended in the "Exposure" section of the product information. Ideal light conditions vary with individual cultivars.
  3. Your hostas will be shipped "bareroot." This just means that the soil has been washed from the roots, so you won't risk introducing any soil-borne diseases into your garden, and the plant is lighter and cleaner to ship. Bareroot plants are easy to handle and settle in quickly. Tuck your hosta plants with the roots pointing downwards and the "eyes" or growing points slightly below soil level. Space plants according to the mature width information in the "Plant Size" section of the product information. For instance, for a hosta with a mature width of 20", plant half that distance, or 10" from its neighbor, for a hosta with a mature width of 48", plant 24" from its neighbor, etc.
  4. After planting, water well, gently soaking the soil to settle it around the roots. Root begins to develop quickly and top growth usually starts to appear in two to three weeks.
  5. When in bloom, feel free to cut bell-shaped flowers for bouquets. These are under used flowers for arrangements and they work well, so experiment!
  6. After blooming has finished for the season leave the foliage in place; don't cut it off. The leaves will gather sunlight, create food through photosynthesis and strengthen the bulb for the future. Water as needed during active growth periods; about 1" of moisture per week is a good estimate.
  7. Foliage will remain attractive until fall or longer, depending on where you live in the country. Cold weather prompts hostas to slip into dormancy. At this point, feel free to clip off yellowed leaves. Your hostas will rest for a few months before beginning the next growing cycle.
Pots, Barrels, Tubs & Urns
  1. Fill your containers with well-drained potting soil that includes peat moss, perlite and course sand in equal proportions. Make sure there are adequate drainage holes in your pots; hostas must never sit in waterlogged soil. Consider the mature size of the varieties you have chosen and plan your container sizes accordingly.
  2. Site your hostas where they will receive the amount of light recommended in the "Exposure" section of the product information. Ideal light conditions vary with individual cultivars.
  3. Your hostas will be shipped "bareroot." This means that the soil has been washed from the roots, so you won't risk introducing any soil-borne diseases into your garden, and the plant is lighter and cleaner to ship. Bareroot plants are easy to handle and settle in quickly. Tuck your hosta plants with the roots pointing downwards and the "eyes" or growing points slightly below soil level.
  4. After planting, water your containers well, gently soaking the soil to settle it around the roots. Root begins to develop quickly and top growth usually starts to appear in two to three weeks.
  5. When your plants bloom, feel free to clip blossoms to bring inside. This will not hurt the hostas and will provide pretty stems of bell-shaped flowers for bouquets.
  6. After blooming has finished for the season, feel free to clip off any spent flower stems. Your hostas will continue to provide attractive, lush foliage for the remainder of the growing season. As fall arrives and temperatures cool, your hosta leaves may yellow or wilt after the first frost. At this point you may trim off any leaves with the knowledge that next spring will bring fresh growth.
  7. For autumn planting in cold areas, pot up eight weeks before hard frosts so hostas have time to securely root in. This will minimize the risk of frost heave. Also note, cold hardiness is decreased one or two zones when plants are situated in containers.
Note: Sometimes bareroot hostas are so ready to grow, they sprout before getting in the ground. (Gotta love the enthusiasm!) If yours are raring to go and have sprouts that are growing in the same direction as the roots (downwards), don't worry. Plant with the roots down in the soil and the sprouts tucked on their sides. The new leaves will change course, head upwards and be growing skyward before you know it.




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