How To Choose The Right Location
Hostas can be used in mass plantings, as accents or as background for other plants. Planting in groups of three often creates an appealing clump. An effective technique is to plant hostas in drifts, much in the same way they occur in nature. Plant several plants closer together in the center of the drift area increasing the spacing as you move toward the outer edges of the planting area. Using several dozen of the same kind of plant gives a very natural appeal.
Hostas grow best in rich, loamy soil with pH of about 6. The soil should be moist but with good drainage. This can be accomplished with the addition of organic matter to the hosta bed. Fertilize your hostas by broadcasting a light application of granular 10-10-10 in early spring just as the leaves appear. Do not fertilize in late fall.
Don’t underestimate the potential size of your new plant. Give your new hostas plenty of room to grow. Young hostas need approximately two seasons of undisturbed growth to reach their adult potential. Space small hostas 18″ to 24″ apart and large hostas 24″ to 30″ apart. Generally, spacing between plants should be equal to the spread of the plant. Hostas are hardy in Zones 3 through 10. Plants do tend to produce better in cooler climates. Given the right mount of space and care, your hosta(s) will provide you with years of enjoyment.
As hostas get older they only get better. They are larger, more attractive, color deepens, variegated margins become more pronounced and depressions in leaves become more prominent. Like many other things in life, hostas only get better with age!
COLOR AND HOSTAS
Use blue hostas to add depth to the garden spot. Using blues can make a small garden spot appear to be larger by creating the illusion that the plants are farther way from the viewer. Cool, blue plants also create a relaxing aura for that garden stroll at the day’s end. In contrast, plant gold hostas to brighten up a dark corner.
Some sunlight is necessary to encourage flowering in fragrant hostas. Plants usually tolerate up to 3/4 sun. Avoid deep shade which will limit blossom formation.
SUN & HOSTAS
Hostas growing in sunlight will require more watering. Gold hostas need some sun to develop their brilliant coloration. Green and blue hosta tend to lose their color intensity in sun. Some variegated varieties grow better with more sunlight, but full sun should be avoided.
Hostas tend to prefer morning sun and dappled shade to full shade for the remainder of the day. Most hostas will grow in full sun, but will tend sunburn from the outer edge of the leaves inward. Those grown in full sun will tend to be more green and will multiply well.
WHAT TO DO ABOUT SLUGS & SNAILS
Slugs and snails chew unsightly holes in your beautiful hostas. Practicing good garden sanitation helps to limit the effect of these unwanted visitors. Remove dead or decaying materials which provide good housing for slugs and snails. Water hostas in the morning rather than in the evening.
Several organic remedies for deterring snails and slugs in your hosta garden are offered for your use. Garden centers do have numerous pesticides. If you choose to use chemical control, be certain to read the label carefully and follow the directions as they are written. Be certain to wear protective clothing when using pesticides.
Combine 4 onions (chopped) and 4 cloves of garlic (crushed) with one gallon of water. Store the mixture in a jar with a tight lid for 10 days. After 10 days, strain the brew. Mix strained brew to 3 parts water. Spray mixture on hostas. Spraying every two weeks should help to control the slug/snail problem. This may vary with your garden environment.
The Slug Catcher:
A common way to trap slugs is to place a shallow dish of beer in your Hosta garden. You can prevent birds from getting drunk on beer basted slugs by putting a lid on the dish of beer. Any small plastic container with a tight fitting lid will work fine. Cut two or more holes near the top of the container just big enough for the slugs (about ˝ inch). Pour the beer into the container up to the level of the holes and replace the lid. Put the container in your garden. The rain won’t dilute the beer. The slugs will enjoy their feast, but the birds miss the party!
A spray of water and ammonia can be used to kill slugs and snails. The mixture should be made of 15% ammonia and 85% water. Spray on the slugs in the evening hours. The mixture will kill the adult slugs and snails.
Wood Ashes & Egg Shells:
Sprinkling the area surrounding your hostas with wood ashes or egg shells will deter slugs. The ash or egg shells irritate the slug’s mucous membrane, damaging its skin.
JOIN THE AMERICAN HOSTA SOCIETY
The American Hosta Society is a store house of valuable information on growing your Hostas. For information contact: Robyn Duback, Membership Secretary, 7802 NE 63rd Street, Vancouver, WA 98662.