Hosta: Big and Bold Foliage for Shade

Hosta is a well known perennial that thrives in shade and produces large, beautiful foliage in shady corners of the garden. This plant comes in a wide array of colors, patterns, and sizes with some varieties keeping compact at 6-8” and some spreading up to 6’ wide. Hosta with yellow or gold foliage will do best in dappled shade, while deep blue and green Hosta will perform best in deeper shade. However, all Hosta need some sunlight in order to keep their vibrant color and produce tall stalks adorned with pastel flowers.

An Easy Choice for All Gardens

Hosta is an easy choice for any garden since it pairs well with most other perennial or foundational plants. Tuck it around the corners of stairs or decks for texture and movement, add it amongst the roses for bright green contrast to darker canes, or add it beneath trees for a cheery pop of color. 

Planting and Care

Plant Hosta in a partial to full shade location early in the spring. To plant Hosta, dig a hole 1-2’ wider than the nursery pot and just as deep. Create a small mound in the bottom of the hole. Remove the Hosta from its pot and loosen the roots. Add the Hosta to the new hole, spreading the roots over and around the mound. Cover with soil and water thoroughly. Hosta love loamy, moist soil, so keep it watered regularly throughout the growing season. Adding a layer of mulch around the Hosta will prevent water loss due to evaporation.

As your plant grows, new foliage will poke up through the soil looking like asparagus spears, which then unfurl into vibrant leaves. Hosta are relatively carefree if they are kept free of debris, which invites slugs and snails. If you notice holes in the foliage, look deep in the center of the plant and you will likely find a slug resting after a delicious meal. Slug and snail bait sprinkled after planting is a great deterrent and a way to keep your Hosta looking its best.

Be sure to remove dead or yellowed leaves throughout the season to keep the area around your Hosta free of debris. Remove spent flower stalks after blooming. In the fall, when the foliage has all died back, cut the plant straight to the ground. Add a layer of mulch for winter protection.

Hosta are extremely easy to propagate. This is best done in the spring. Wait for the plant to break dormancy and begin to push out new growth. Then dig up, divide with a sharp spade, and replant as usual. Don’t forget to add snail bait to give your new plants a chance to get growing before the slugs and snails come calling. 

Four favorites for us this season are: Hadspen Blue, Francee, Blue Mouse Ears, and Stained Glass.