Hosta Maintenance, Maintaining Hostas

  • Moisture:

    Water-related hosta maintenance is minimal if you live in reasonably moist area. Hostas like about 1 inch of water per week, depending on the plant, location, temperature and soil. In most soil types, 1 inch of water will soak down about 12 inches. In loose, sandy soil, water will soak down more quickly. Ideally, water should not be applied to the base of the plant (not the leaves).  Hostas should be watered in the early morning so that the leaves dry off before the intense afternoon sun comes out, because water on the leaves

    increase its effects. Morning watering also reduces attracting slugs and snails. Make sure there is adequate soil moisture, in particular during the hot months of July and August. New plantings and slow-growing hostas are most vulnerable to moisture fluctuations, including sieboldiana and Tokudamas. If the root system dries out at an early growth stage, the plants seem to shrink in size over time. As a regular part of your hosta maintenance, be sure not to let your gardens become completely dry for longer than a week.

  • Mulching:

    There are pros and cons to mulching hostas. The benefits to mulching as a form of hosta maintenance include: controlling weeds, keeping soil cool and moist, and adding compost as the mulch breaks down. (Wood chips and green grass clippings can deplete nitrogen from the soil as they decay.) On the downside, mulching provides hiding places and food for pests and diseases such as slugs and viruses. 

    After much thought and study, HostasDirect does not apply mulch except to cover new plantings in late fall. This is because newly planted, very young, or prized plants should be covered or mulched withoak leaves or straw for the winter. Mulches should not be applied before the ground is nearly frozen in the fall, and it should be left in place several weeks after the ground thaws in the spring since it will prevent alternating freezing and thawing, which can cause plants to heave out of the ground. Do not use freshly cut grass as mulch; allow it to turn completely brown before using it as mulch.

 

  • Centering Out:

    “Centering out,” the same as “fairy ring,” or “center-clump dieback” is when very old clumps die in the center. This is most evident in early spring when the pips begin to emerge from the ground. One option is to dig up the remaining clump, amend the soil, and repant it in the same area. Simple hosta plant maintenance can prevent this from happening by dividing your hostas when the plants get too dense or compact. You can spread the divisions around your yard and let them grow.

  • Blooms:

    By cutting off your hosta’s blooms, you will provide more energy to the plant that would otherwise be used to make seeds. You do not need to cut the blooms off until after they fade, but they can be cut off at anytime. However, leaving your blooms on is helpful to the declining honey bee population.