When and How to Fertilize Hosta Plants

Hostas Plant

Hosta plants

Popular for their colorful foliage, hostas add appeal to the look of a garden. Apart from the minimal basic needs, hostas also require regular fertilization of the soil to stay healthy.

Without fertilization, hostas sometimes grow more slowly than you may prefer. At the same time, excessive use of fertilizer can result in abnormal growth of hostas, and also make them vulnerable to infections.

Here are some essential points regarding the fertilization of hostas.

Right Time to Fertilize the Hostas

Spring is the best time to fertilize the soil for hosta plants. You should wait for the new shoots to emerge from the soil, both to better place the fertilizer where it will do the most good and to  prevent burning the sensitive, growing tips.

For encouraging proper development of foliage, it is a good idea to use a balanced, granular fertilizer. Add the fertilizer to the soil once every six weeks. This way, the hostas will get all the essential nourishment they need during their rapid growth phase. Fertilization can be continued till midsummer.

During the fall season, hostas enter dormancy, so there is no need to fertilize the soil during this season. To know the amount of fertilizer needed by the soil, and the right way to add it, refer to the directions given on the package.

Cut Back the Hostas During Winter

Cutting back hostas is an important part of their maintenance routine during fall season. Sometimes, it is done during early spring. In this process, the foliage is cut near the soil using a pair of shears and then removed. These plants go dormant in the fall season and develop new foliage during spring. Cutting the foliage helps to prevent slugs and diseases from overwintering and ruining the plants.

Use Compost for Nutritious Soil

If you are growing your hosta plants on a rich and nutritious soil, you can also use compost instead of a chemical fertilizer. Spread a 2 inch thick layer of compost around the hostas during winter, after cutting their foliage.

Maintenance Advice for Your Garden Tools

trowel_pic_of_102sFor gardening, one needs a specific set of tools. Almost every task related to the garden such as digging, pruning, and mulching needs specific tools. A trowel is one of the most important and versatile gardening tools.

Trowels are used in masonry and archaeology as well as gardening, though their specifics differ.

For instance, the gardener’s trowel is a little heavier than that used by other disciplines. The trowel basically features a wooden or plastic handle and a sharp metallic blade. The blade can be made up of carbon steel or stainless steel.

Other gardening tools include shovel, pitchfork, spade, rake, and hoe. Proper maintenance of such tools is necessary for any gardener.Garden Tools

Here are some essential measures for maintaining gardening tools.

Clean with a Brush: Cleanliness and hygiene are important concerns in gardening, especially when you are growing species such as hostas. Use of dirty tools can spread infections among plants, thus causing diseases that can kill the plants!

You should regularly clean your gardening tools, especially your garden trowel, shovel, and spade. Scrub the tools with a brush to remove the dirt, then rinse them with warm water.

Scrub the Wooden Part(s) with Sandpaper: The wooden parts of gardening tools, such as the handle of a trowel, can get rough when exposed to moisture for a long time. It is a good idea to scrub these parts with sandpaper after each use. Use of faulty gardening tools can adversely affect the plants in your garden, particularly species like heucheras.

Remove Rust from the Metallic Part(s): It is not advisable to use gardening tools that have rusty metallic parts. Usage of such tools is not favorable for the plants in your garden. Scrub the metallic parts of your gardening tools with a wire brush to remove the rust.

Sharpen the Tools: The metallic blade(s) of gardening tools need to be sharp. Tools such as steel trowels, shovels, and spades should be sharpened regularly. Most gardeners use a flat file to sharpen their tools.

Keeping Your Hosta Plant Free from Diseases

Hosta Varieties

Hosta varieties

Hostas are beautiful shade perennials and are loved by gardeners. The most noticeable and attractive characteristic of these plants is their foliage.

Among different varieties of these plants, the color, shape, and size of the foliage widely varies. The colors of the foliage are primarily variations of blue, gold, green and white.


Hostas are mostly immune to the common plant diseases. However, some particular microbes can still cause damage to these plants.

Hostas plant

Hosta garden

Types of diseases in hostas:
Hosta plants are vulnerable to bacterial, viral as well as fungal infections. Each of these infections can cause severe damage if ignored.

Fungal diseases:

  • Petiole rot: This is a fatal disease which can kill the plant quickly. The foliage turning yellow is the first symptom of this disease.
  • Anthracnose:  The fungi in the garden soil is responsible for this disease. It causes damage to the leaves. The main symptom is the irregular spotting on the foliage.
  • Crown rot and fusarium root are other diseases caused by fungi. These also can be fatal if not treated immediately. The symptoms are wilting of leaves and retarded growth despite providing an ample supply of water.

Bacterial disease:  Soft rot is a bacterial disease which initially affects the foliage by harming its soft tissue. It finally results in the death of the plant.

Viral disease: Viruses can cause the leaves of the hosta plant to turn brown, thus ruining the plant’s appearance.

Factors responsible diseases in hosta:
Lack of proper care and maintenance:  Once you buy hostas, it is solely your responsibility to nurture, maintain and protect them. Carelessness in maintaining these plants makes it a lot easier for the microbes to come in contact with the plants and infect them.

Use of dirty gardening tools:  The gardening tools you use are an important factor affecting the health of plants in your garden. Usage of dirty tools can cause infections in hostas and can spread diseases among other plants as well.

Using infected soil in the garden:  Gardeners sometimes decide on a particular type of soil without getting it checked for infections. Infected soil can act as a source of microbes and cause diseases in a hosta plant.

Treating the diseases in hosta plants:

  • For fungal diseases, fungicide can be applied to the soil.
  • The diseased or dead foliage should be regularly removed and the plant should be kept in a cool place.
  • In case of viral infections, the whole plant needs to be destroyed to prevent the infection from spreading to other plants.

Preventing diseases in hosta plants:

  • While buying the plant, get it checked for infections.
  • Do not excessively water these plants.
  • The mulch should be kept away from the base of the plant.
  • Plant debris should be removed regularly.
  • Soil of good quality should be used for the plants.
  • Individual plants should have plenty of space. A congested garden can become a breeding ground for insects and microbes.