Updated/Fact-Chacked on March 30, 2022 by John
This is the second part in our hosts series, in Part 1 we cover all the general questions people have about growing hostas. Now that you have decided to grow hostas, it’s time to look at how to plant them correctly to get the best from your plant.
Hostas can be planted in beds and pots depending on your requirements. They love shade so are great for north facing gardens or in locations that get partial sunshine. I have a few in pots outside my back door (see image below) as my garden is north facing and only get 2-3 hours sunlight in that location late evening.
- 1 How to plant hosts in borders
- 2 How to plant Hostas in Pots
- 3 How far apart do you plant hostas?
- 4 Where is the best place to plant hostas?
- 5 How long does it take hostas to grow from bulbs?
- 6 Can you plant hostas too deep?
- 7 Should I soak hosta bulbs before planting?
- 8 Is it OK to plant hostas under trees?
- 9 Can you plant hostas in full sun?
- 10 How many hours of sun can hostas take?
- 11 Can you plant Hostas and Hydrangeas together?
- 12 What can I plant next to hostas?
- 13 How late can you plant hostas?
- 14 Will hostas grow through landscape fabric?
- 15 How deep do you plant hosta seeds?
- 16 How do you prepare soil for hostas?
- 17 Do hostas do well in pots?
- 18 Where do you put hostas in pots?
- 19 Do hostas need big pots?
- 20 Can you plant hostas in water?
- 21 Do hostas do well in containers?
How to plant hosts in borders
- Choose your shady position in your garden. Ideally the the soil should be around PH 6.5, but they will thrive above or below this number
- Ensure the hosta is not too close to other plants, giving it room to grow without crowding out other plants when they grow over the year
- Dig a hole the same depth as the pot/root ball. Make sure you dig the hole twice as wide to allow the roots to grow and expand. You can add some mulch or wood chips into the hole to help with drainage, but it’s not essential.
- Carefully plant your hosta and water the plant thoroughly to allow the hosta to settle in.
How to plant Hostas in Pots
Find a pot twice the size of the current root ball
- Ensure the pot has drainage holes and add some broken pots or gravel to the base of the pot to help drainage. This also stops the drainage holes getting blocked with the soil/compost.
- Plant your hosta in a good potting compost
- Water regularly
- Check daily that your hostsa is not being eaten by slugs and snails as they love hosta foliage
Below we have answered all the other common planting questions.
Planting Hostas FAQs
How far apart do you plant hostas?
This will depend on the variety of hosta you have, check the maximum size your hosta can grow to and plant it as if they are full size allowing at least 50cm between plants.
Where is the best place to plant hostas?
Hostas are best planted in area of shade or partial shade in moist damp soil with a PH around 6.5. Saying that, hosts thrive in most conditions.
How long does it take hostas to grow from bulbs?
If you plant hostsa bulbs (bare root system) in spring they will likely grow foliage and flower that summer if you are meet the right conditions
Can you plant hostas too deep?
Yes you only want to dig a hole the size of the root ball
Should I soak hosta bulbs before planting?
It is advised to soak the root ball for 1 hour in water, ideally in rain water for a good PH and more minerals
Is it OK to plant hostas under trees?
Hostas will grow fine in a tree’s shade, but you need to be careful of the tree’s root system. Some trees will not tolerate root disturbance. The list below do not respond well to planting under them :
Beeches (Fagus spp. and cvs., Zones 3–9)
Black oak (Quercus velutina, Zones 4–8)
Buckeyes (Aesculus spp. and cvs., Zones 3–9)
Cherries and plums (Prunus spp. and cvs., Zones 3–9)
Dogwoods (Cornus spp. and cvs., Zones 2–9)
Hemlocks (Tsuga spp. and cvs., Zones 3–9)
Larches (Larix spp. and cvs., Zones 1–8)
Lindens (Tilia spp. and cvs., Zones 3–9)
Magnolias (Magnolia spp. and cvs., Zones 3–9)
Pines (Pinus spp. and cvs., Zones 3–10)
Red oaks (Quercus rubra and cvs., Zones 5–9)
Scarlet oaks (Quercus coccinea and cvs., Zones 5–9)
Sugar maples (Acer saccharum and cvs., Zones 4–8)
Can you plant hostas in full sun?
Only certain hosta varieties can tolerate full-sunlight, typically hostas with yellow foliage. Check with your garden centre when you buy the plants.
How many hours of sun can hostas take?
Standard hostas can easily take 3-4 hours of sun per day and thrive.
Can you plant Hostas and Hydrangeas together?
Yes you can, but hydrangeas can grow very large over time and will totally dwarf your hosta is you have not spaced them out. You can move your hostas after a couple of years if you did not provide adequate spacing when planted.
What can I plant next to hostas?
Hostas are very hardy so anything can be planted next to them, but you need to consider colours to create some contrast. As hostas bloom in summer, you might want to consider a plant that flowers in late spring so you get continual colour throughout spring/summer – so any spring bulbs would be great like Tulips, Crocus and Daffodils.
As you are likely to plant hostas in a shaded area of your garden, they will need to be paired with other shade loving plants. Most shade loving Shrubs and perennials would work along with ornamental grasses – like I used in my pot above. Here’s a few other plants that will pair well with your hosta: Asarum, Alchemilla,Hellebores, Astilbe, Dicentra (Bleeding Hearts), Epimedium, Ferns, Athyrium (japanese fern), Heuchera, Lungwort
How late can you plant hostas?
Hostas can be planted all year round, but its best to avoid cold snaps and hot spells. If you plant them in summer, make you the root system is watered regularly so the settle in.
Will hostas grow through landscape fabric?
Yes eventually but it will take a couple of years.
How deep do you plant hosta seeds?
You should plant the seeds about 1 inch into the soil in your container and 6-8 weeks for them to germinate. Once they have grown you can then transport to a bigger post or to your border.
How do you prepare soil for hostas?
Hostas will grow in most soil conditions so you don’t need to over think it. If you want to give them the best possible start, moist soil with a PH of around 6.5 is best. If you have poor soil, simply turn in a good quality compost or some decomposed organic matter.
Do hostas do well in pots?
Yes hostas are fine in pots and can easily be transported to bigger pots and divided if they grow too big.
Where do you put hostas in pots?
Your posts are best placed in a shaded part of you garden.
Do hostas need big pots?
You can start your hosts off in a small post and transfer it to a bigger pot after a couple of years
Can you plant hostas in water?
No, hostas are not aquatic or marginal plants
Do hostas do well in containers?
Yes they love a container
John Green is a 46-year-old graphic designer living in Durham. John is RHS level 3 certified and owns an allotment in Durham.