I love hostas because there is such as wide variety. These foliage plants, which are distant cousins to lilies, may be found in almost any shape and size from 6 inch diameter miniatures to giant plants with leaves that are 12 inches across.
Hostas grow well when placed in mixed plantings since the variety of leaves make a nice contrast to one another. The leaves may be found in solid green, yellow or blue as well as striped and variegated varieties. The shapes may range from diamond to heart.
Hostas in Planters
In planters, Hostas take on a sculptural look. Provided that they are planted well inside their temperate zone, these perennials will return year-after year and will grow larger and more spectacular with each season. Plant hostas in troughs, flower pots or planters paired with other foliage plants such as ivy, ferns, bleeding heart or with annuals such as impatiens. You can also plant spring bulbs along with hostas, since the bulbs will produce flowers and foliage before the hostas emerge. The hosta leaves will emerge just as the bulbs are fading.
Although hostas are known as shade loving plants, there are a few varieties that tolerate the sun better than others. In general, hostas with more blue leaves prefer deeper shade while hostas with gold leaves like more sunlight.
Choose a planter that is the same size or slightly larger than your hosta. It’s okay for the plant to be slightly root bound. Hostas do not like to be over potted. The plants prefer rich soil that is heavy in organic material. In containers, a potting soil that contains 60 percent composted bark 20 percent peat and 20 percent aggregates will give hostas the nutrients that they need to thrive. Fertilize the plants in early April, mid-May and late-June with a granulated, time-release fertilizer such as a 5-10-5. Water hostas frequently to keep the soil damp to the touch. Never allow the plants to dry out between watering. Make sure that your planter has adequate drainage to prevent crown rot in the plant from waterlogged soil.
The plant’s main predator is the slug, which also prefers low-light and damp locations. Hand-pick slugs from your plants and throw them into a bucket of soapy water to protect the plants.
Just like their lily cousins, hostas produce flowers on stalks. But hosta flowers are small and unimpressive. In order to force the plant to put more effort into developing dramatic foliage, it is better to remove the flower stalks as they emerge. If you do not remove the stalks, hostas will continue to produce attractive leaves.
Early Spring Care
Two of the major reasons that hostas die are crown rot and late freezes. In winter, hostas will go dormant. In late fall as the leaves die out, you should cut back on watering so that the soil stays just damp enough to keep it from drawing water from the dormant roots. Once the soil freezes, the roots will be protected from too much winter precipitation so long as the planter has adequate drainage.
One way to increase the chances that hostas will survive through the winter in containers is to move them into an unheated greenhouse or garage or cover the pots with a layer of leaves or straw. This will prevent a cycle of freezing and thawing, and will help to keep the soil slightly damp.
Do not move hosta containers outside until most of the spring rains have passed and the plants have broken dormancy. One of the major reasons that potted hostas fail is crown rot from being overwatered before they break dormancy. If you have left your hosta containers outdoors in winter, cover them with plastic to protect them from too much water in spring and from damage due to late freezes.