Hostas Care & Feeding

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Hostas Care & Feeding
Hostas come in a variety of colours, shapes and sizes. (hosta image by lesley marlor from Fotolia.com)

Hostas are a strong, sturdy plant that when cared for properly can result in years of beauty. Planting your hosta in the correct location, watering and fertilising when appropriate, and caring for the plant during winter months can result in optimal growth and health.

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Identifying Hostas

Hostas come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours, providing a distinctive landscape. The leaves of hosta plants range in shape from very narrow and elliptic, to broad or heart-shaped. They may be smooth, shiny or puckered, and can range in colour from yellow and white to green and dark blue. In addition, many hostas contain lily-like foliage, with blue, white or even purple bell-shaped flowers. These flowers are typically relatively aromatic, and can draw the attention of hummingbirds.

Planting Hostas

Hostas prefer soil that is fertile, moist and drains well. In addition, hostas thrive in the shade, and will provide the best leaf colouration when planted in limited sunlight. While hostas can be planted nearly year-round, they will do best when planted in the spring or fall. Make sure they are planted evenly or just higher than the soil line for optimal results.

Watering Hostas

Watering is essential for optimal hosta growth. These plants require at least an inch of water per week; however, if the plant is placed in sandy soil, they may need more due to increased drainage. If you notice drooping leaves or yellowing of the edges of the hosta plant, provide additional water.

Fertilising Hostas

Hostas can tolerate a variety of fertilisers, including liquid, granular or extended-release granular varieties. If using balanced granular fertiliser, a combination of 10-10-10 should be applied in the early spring, with a follow-up application approximately six weeks later. Extended-release fertiliser should be applied in early spring; choose a variety with a three- to six-month releasing formula and follow up with regular granular fertiliser in the midsummer. If using a liquid fertiliser, apply every seven to 10 days, according to label instruction. When fertilising your plants, be sure not to cover any leaves, eyes or new plant growth.

Maintenance of Hostas

Caring for hostas is relatively simple. During hot summer months, mulch the soil surrounding the plants in order to keep the earth moist. This will help prevent damage to leaves that may be in direct sunlight. At the end of the growing season, cut back the foliage and remove the flowering stalks. If hosta plants become too large, consider dividing them into sections every three to four years.

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