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Hostas Planting Guide

Hostas, also known as Plantain Lilies or Funkia, are hardy perennial plants ideal for shady garden spaces. Beyond arriving in a sensational array of colors, sizes, and forms, these lush beauties are long-lived, reliable, and super easy to grow! Oh, and did we mention they're resistant to hungry critters and attractive to hummingbirds? There's just so much to love about these leafy charmers! Learn more about growing and caring for Hostas with our comprehensive guide.

Success Snapshot

PLANTING
DEPTH

Crown at soil line

WATER
QUANTITY

Moderate

SUNLIGHT
QUANTITY

Partial Shade to Full Shade

PLANTING
PROXIMITY

Species dependent; 24-36"

BLOOM
SEASON

Summer

HARDINESS
ZONES

Zones 3-9

Where to Plant

With an astounding range of sizes and shapes available, Hostas are perfect for both in-ground and container planting. While many thrive in shady conditions, their light requirements vary, so it's essential to refer to the "Exposure" section for each specific variety when choosing a location. Plant where the soil drains well—if you notice water puddles 5–6 hours after a hard rain, scout out another site or amend the soil with organic material to raise the level 2–3" and improve the drainage. Whether you're planting in the ground or containers, Hostas prefer soils that provide average moisture but are never waterlogged.


When to Plant

The best time to plant Hostas is in early spring or early fall, depending on your gardening climate and the variety. When planting in the autumn, be sure to give at least 30 days before the average first frost date, as this is when root growth occurs. Top growth will develop in the fall for those in warmer regions and in the spring for colder climates. Flowers will emerge in the summer for all climate conditions.


How to Plant

  • For outdoor landscape planting, locate a spot where the soil drains well, and your Hosta will receive the appropriate amount of light based on the specific variety. Tuck your bare root plants in the soil with the roots pointing downwards and the "eyes" or growing points slightly below soil level. Refer to the mature width information in the "Plant Size" section of your chosen variety for desired spacing.
  • For container planting, ensure there are adequate drainage holes in your pots and that they are well-suited to your plant's mature size. Fill with a good-quality potting mix. Tuck your bare root plants in the soil with the roots pointing downwards and the "eyes" or growing points slightly below soil level. Refer to the mature width information in the "Plant Size" section of your chosen variety for desired spacing.
  • Water thoroughly, gently soaking the soil and settling it around the roots.

How to Grow

  • Water as needed during active growth periods; about 1" of moisture per week is a reasonable estimate.
  • Leave the foliage in place after flowering is done for the season. The leaves will gather sunlight, create food through photosynthesis, and strengthen the bulb for the future.
  • Clip off spent flower stems when blooming has finished for the season, as Hostas will continue to provide attractive foliage until fall or longer, depending on where you live in the country.
  • Trim off yellow or wilted leaves when cold weather prompts your plants to slip into dormancy. Your Hostas will rest for a few months before beginning the next growing cycle.

Hosta Tips & Tricks

  • Trim a few leaves or flowers during active growth for stunning additions to arrangements.
  • Bear in mind that while Hostas are touted as "shade-loving," their sunlight requirements can vary based on the variety.
  • Research the mature size of your Hosta before choosing a planting site or container.
  • Amend soil with the addition of compost, finely ground bark, or decomposed manure to improve drainage.
  • Don't worry if your bare root Hostas sprout in the same direction as the roots before getting in the ground. Plant with the roots down in the soil and the sprouts tucked on their sides. The new leaves will change course, heading upwards toward the sky in no time!
  • Expect your Hostas to arrive bare root, which simply means 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.
  • Pot your Hostas four to eight weeks before hard frosts when planting in autumn to minimize the risk of frost heave and give your Hostas time to establish their roots.
  • Remember that cold hardiness is decreased by one or two zones when planting in containers.