Tips for Easy Hosta Maintenance

The following blog talks about the tips a gardener needs to take for Hosta maintenance to promote the growth of their hostas and entails advice for their protection from slugs.

Tips for hostas maintenance

There is no gardener who does not admire the hues of hostas! Hosta maintenance has always been a cakewalk and that’s the major reason behind their popularity. In order to promote their growth there are a few steps which should not be overlooked.

  • Hostas grow best in a neutral soil and that implies the pH of the soil should be strictly between 6 to 7 and hence it is important to check the acidic content in any possible fertilizer before mixing it with the soil.
  • Hostas are shade-tolerant plants and have been nicknamed as “shade-lovers” but keeping them in a completely dark area is not at all advisable.
  • The hole should be dug wider for hostas plants as their roots tend to grow away from the center. Hostas are also suitable for green-walls and vertical gardening as they have a tendency to soften the walls.

Slugs

The slug is the mortal enemy of hostas. Slugs will eventually attack your hostas and to overcome that there are various steps you can take-

  • The process of protection from slugs begins before planting and ideally starts with mulching. It is necessary to keep the soil well-mulched and add organic materials like bark and composted manure.
  • Slugs are attracted to hostas but are often repelled by hair or plastic. So you can ideally keep half-cut plastic bottles or threads of hairs to avoid their visits.
  • To get rid of slug eggs and hibernating slugs, it is best to cultivate the soil during spring to expose them to the elements.

There are various other ways in which you can protect your hostas. Coffee grounds and crushed egg shells are some home remedies.  To see more information on battling slugs and other hosta pests, see our Hosta Pests information page.

Designing a Perfect Garden Hostas

Hosta Varieties Avoid Planting Too Many Bright Colored Hostas

One mistake that numerous gardeners make is to plant too many brightly colored hostas in their garden. In an attempt to make the garden stand out, they actually end up making it chaotic. To balance your garden, you can choose blue hostas or green solid-colored hostas – this will keep the hostas more balanced.

Make Use of Flowers to Make Hostas Significant

Playing with colors can be a perfect trick to design your garden in an appealing manner. The solid-colored hostas can be enriched by planting flowers along with it. For example, blue hostas planted along with purple and pink flowers look alluring. You can also plant flowers and hostas of the same color together. For example, yellow flowers and gold hostas, or white flowers with white hostas are excellent companions.

Plant Thick-Leaved Hostas in Slug-Prone Areas

If your garden has wet areas that might be infected with slugs, it is best to plants thick-leaved hostas as they have the ability to withstand the damage done by slugs. Also, these hostas are tolerant enough to prevail against any conditions, allowing them to grow all year round.

Use One Hosta to Complement the Other One
When planting two hostas of different varieties together, make sure one hosta complements the other one. While designing the garden, plant a solid-colored hosta with a variegated hosta – this will certainly appear pleasing to the eyes. Also, it is important to allot a specific territory to every hosta, so make sure you plant each hosta at a considerable distance from one another.

Facts about Slugs

Facts about Slugs

how to get rid of slugs on hostas

Slug Eating Hosta Leaves

Before taking any measures to kill slugs in your garden, it is helpful to know some facts about them.

•During winter season, slugs wait under garden debris and other areas that are protected from chill. They lay eggs mainly during early summer and spring. Based on temperatures, it may take 10 to 100 days for these eggs to hatch.
•In places where the climate is moist and cool, slugs lay eggs more than once in summer. Slugs show maximum activity in damp and cool days, and nights when they get out of their shelter to feed on foliage of plants.
•There are multiple species of slugs, which differ from each other in size. While some species are 7 inches long, some other are only one and a half inch long.
•A trail of slime in silver color indicates the presence of slugs in a garden.

Methods to Boost Sluggish Hostas

H. 'Empress Wu'

H. ‘Empress Wu’, the largest hosta ever!

Certain adverse factors can slow down the growth of hosta plants.

Following are some methods to deal with sluggish growth in hosta plants:

Water Your Plants Sufficiently

To ensure proper growth of your hostas and to keep them healthy, you need to provide them with ample moisture by watering them regularly.

Lack of water will restrict the plant from utilizing energy for foliage growth. A water level of 1 inch per week needs to be maintained during summer, so if it doesn’t rain that often, you’ll need to take care of them yourself. Level of water can be reduced during late winter, but the plants’ water intake should not be cut off suddenly, and should be tapered.

Optimal Fertilization

As far as healthy growth of hosta plants is concerned, excessive quantities of fertilizer is not a major requirement. However,a certain amount of nitrogen is needed by these plants during their initial growth phase so that more foliage can be produced.

At the start of spring, add a cup of 10-10-10 slow-release fertilizer to the soil in which you are growing hostas. Make sure that roots of the plant do not get disturbed while you are fertilizing the soil. After adding fertilizer, add water to the soil so that it can absorb the fertilizer. Soil fertilization is an essential step while growing heuchera as well.

Pest Control and Disease Prevention

Growth conditions can become unfavorable for your hostas due to the presence of pests. Snails and slugs are common pests that can damage hostas. Place copper strips around your hosta plants to control these pests, or diatomaceous earth. You can also lure them into a saucer filled with beer. Attracted to beer, these pests will enter the saucer and drown as they are unable to get out of it.

Disease prevention is also necessary for your hostas to grow steadily. Avoid over- watering your plants; hosta plants with wet and soggy roots are vulnerable to fungal infection such as anthracnose. Cut off any infected or damaged parts of the plant to prevent infections from spreading among other plants.

Growth Pattern of Hostas During Spring

hosta in sunlightWith a warm climate and extra hours of sunlight, hosta varieties tend to grow vigorously during the onset of spring. Following are some facts about growth of hostas during spring:

Leaf Growth During Spring Season

On being exposed to a temperature of above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, hostas begin a new stage of growth. This stage is often known as the bullet stage.

The warm weather causes the swelling buds to respond, resulting in the growth of about three leaves at first. In warmer areas, leaves will grow even more vigorously. If the soil is moist and well-drained, new leaves continue to grow from the crown until a a little mound of foliage is formed.

The crown is vulnerable to rot, however, which makes it necessary to remove any piled soil or mulch near the crown. Proper air circulation is necessary for the crown to stay safe from any bacterial or fungal infections. Such infections can hamper leaf growth in hostas.

Growth of Roots in Hostas During Spring

Roots of hostas can retain moisture and nutrients for a long time, so sometimes they do not grow immediately after leaves emerge. It might take about a month for the growth of roots to commence. Roots may respond faster when exposed to warmer climates and high soil temperatures.

Old root tips need a fertile soil with plenty of organic matter. These tips grow along with the new structures to supply nutrients to the leaves above. A large area for transpiration can help the roots to grow up to several feet. However, roots need to stay moist during this stage. Lack of moisture can cause drought stress in hostas, causing them to die back/go dormant.