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A quick guide to Hostas

Updated: May 14, 2023

I'll admit it. I love hostas.

If you're looking for a great foliage plant - with the added bonus of some summer flowers - then you can't go too far wrong with a hosta. They can range from large, structural plants to smaller varieties that are well suited to containers or rock gardens.

Hosta with purple flowers for sale in Frome

Now obviously this is a stock image. They aren't flowering here in Somerset just at the moment! This is what mine look like at the moment - April. You see? I said that you'd get a clear photo of the plants that I have in stock!

Hosta for a shady border in Frome Somerset

What about those slugs and snails?

Well, firstly don't believe all that you might read about slugs and snails. Choose a variety carefully and follow slug and snail control by reading this link from our sister site - Trug and Lettuce:

I'm planting mine up this year in an old galvanised cattle trough and I reckon that the metal sides will be the first line of defence. And if that's not enough I'm adding some copper tape to the very top of each of the four sides. And then - as a final precaution - I'll top dress the surface of the soil with some washed horticultural grit.

That should do it and will hopefully mean that these shade-loving beauties will put on a fantastic display of beautifully colourful foliage. Those leaves - in greens, blues and yellows, sometimes variegated, smooth or ribbed - will look superb when planted in and amongst a selection of ferns. And if I get any of those small trumpet-shaped mauve or white flowers in the summer then I'll be even more delighted!

Planting and care:

Hostas can be planted at any time of year, however it’s best to avoid months when it's hot and when the soil is dry. Now, and over the next few months, is an ideal time to plant them.

They tend to grow best in moist soil in partial shade, whether in the ground or a container. Yellow leaved varieties prefer some sun, and there are some varieties that will do well in sun. They like fertile soils - including heavy clay provided it's been improved with the addition of garden compost or some manure. If your soil is on the dry side then hostas with thicker, waxier leaves are probably better for you as they tend to be more tolerant. Hostas tend not to do well in really dry soils or in exposed or windy areas of the garden.

Hostas can be easily divided in the spring, or you can take softwood cuttings early in the summer. Plants for free!

They need to be deadheaded regularly and if, after flowering their flowered stems are shortened by half, they might flower again. In the spring and after the risk of frost has passed cut them back to about 15cm as this will help to maintain a nice compact shape.

Hostas are easy to plant and are planted in much the same way as other herbaceous perennials:

  • Space plants up to 90cm (3ft) apart. Check the label and plant bigger varieties slightly further apart.

  • ​Dig a planting hole the same depth as the root ball and twice as wide. Tease out the roots and place in the hole before drawing back the soil and firming it in with your fingers

  • Water the plant in to settle the soil and continue watering regularly, especially when it's dry, and throughout the first summer.

  • Apply a layer of mulch - at least 5cm (2in) thick - to the surface of the soil in late autumn to late winter (Nov-Feb). This will provide frost protection over the winter, improve plant growth by adding nutrients to the soil and reduce water loss from the soil.

Where can I buy them?

I’m so glad you asked that. We've been selling them at The Station Approach in Frome over the past few years and you can now, of course, buy them through Plant a Border.

We're planning to be at The Station Approach every first Saturday of the month from 8am until 1pm.

Use the Contact page to get in touch and we'll be happy to let you know what we're upto.

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