Most plants adorning your yard and flower gardens are sun worshippers. And, the selection of sun-loving flowers and plants is vast. When it comes to choosing plants to spruce up those shady areas of your yard, the selection becomes much more limited. Enter the world of attractive Hostas! You will find growing Hosta plants in your shade garden is rewarding. Hosta plants originated in Japan, China, Korea, and other areas of Southeast Asia. Perennial Hostas are members of the Lily family. While the common name for them is Hostas, you may also know them as “Plantain Lily”.
Hosta plants are among the most popular shade-loving plants. There are legions of Hosta lovers and groups. And, rightfully so. Along with their shade-loving nature, there are hundreds of varieties of Hostas to choose from. While they do produce flowers on a long stem, they are primarily grown for their attractive leaves. A low maintenance plant, they grow well under trees, and on the northern side of your house.
Tip: Houseplant lovers…try growing Hostas indoors.
Flowers Bloom: Summer
Hosta Flower Colors: While the plants are grown primarily for their attractive foliage, they do produce flowers. Blossom colors include lavender, pink, and white.
Plant Height: Miniature varieties grow under 9 inches tall. The tallest varieties grow up to 4 feet.
Other Names: Plantain Lily
Hostas can be propagated by seed or division. Plant division is by far the most popular method of propagation.
Dig up plants, shoveling deeply with a spade or fork to pull up as many roots as possible. Each plant will have a separate crown and many entangled roots. Loosen the soil, or wash soil off the crown and roots. Carefully divide crowns. You can also divide an individual crown by cutting it with a sharp knife from the top to the bottom of the crown. Try not to cut the roots. Once the crown is cut, separate the roots as best you can. The more roots that remain, the less the transplant shock.
If you are growing Hostas from seed, start them indoors several weeks before the last frost.
Select a spot with light to medium shade. Perennial Hostas prefer loose, well-drained soil. Add some compost and mix well. Plant Hostas up to the tops of the crowns spaced two to four feet apart. After planting, water well. Keep them well-watered for a few weeks as they grow new roots.
Once established, Hostas need little care. A little general-purpose fertilizer from time to time will promote bigger, healthier leaves. But, your plants should do well even without adding fertilizers. Mulching around plants will create a more attractive appearance and help to retain soil moisture. Water them occasionally during periods of drought.
In midsummer, Hostas will produce a long stem, also called a “scape” with a flower at the end. After blooming, the stem and spent bloom can be removed. Or, you can leave it on to fully dry and harvest the seed pods.
Note: Hostas do not like heat. They don’t grow well in the southern parts of the country.
Ideal Soil pH: 6.5 – 7.5.
After frost has killed off the leaves, you can remove the dead leaves to the ground. In colder areas, add a layer of mulch to keep the roots from being damaged from the ground freezing.