Hostas are a gardener’s favorite when it comes to shady areas. With large green foliage and unique flowers, this is an easy plant to grow. Find out when to plant hosta seeds and how to maintain them once they grow.
When to plant hosta seeds: There are two ways to plant hostas. You can start them from seeds, which you should do so in the spring. Start your seedlings indoors and wait until they are about four inches tall before you transplant them outside. If you want to start your hostas from a bare root or a potted plant, then fall is ideal. The cooler temperatures will allow your plant to establish itself. Be sure to water your plant well in the first year or two. However, once hostas are established, they generally do not need a lot of upkeep. They also can become drought-tolerant so you won’t have to water them as much. Keep your hostas in partial shade for best results although full shade will also work well. Their flowers will continue to bloom all summer as long as you keep cutting them back.
Planting Hosta Bulbs in Different Climates
Hostas need a cool dormant season. A tropical climate can’t usually provide this.
Once they are mature, hostas are drought-tolerant. However, in the first few years, they need continuously moist soil. If you plant in a dry climate, be sure to monitor your watering schedule.
A temperature climate is ideal for hostas. There are plenty of cool, shady areas for a hosta and they will happily survive the moderate winters.
Hostas can survive a continental climate but will need a bit more attention. Be sure to plant them in a very shady area to avoid the harsh summer temperatures and add extra mulch over the soil in the winter to keep them insulated.
Even though hostas don’t like a lot of suns, they still need warmth to survive. A polar climate can’s support hostas.
Choosing Hosta Seeds
If you love hostas but don’t have a lot of shady areas, you can plant this variety. It grows well in partial sun and won’t disappoint.
With a classic oval shape to its leaves, this variety is bold and beautiful. The leaves are ringed with a yellow-golden color.
Those that have less space, or who want an edging plant, will love this variety. It has smaller leaves that are heart-shaped and light blue flowers.
How to Plant Hosta Seeds
Seeds vs plants
The first step in planting hostas is to decide if you want to grow them from seeds. While it isn’t too difficult to grow hostas from seeds, there are a few important steps that you need to follow.
To begin with, you will need to acclimatize them through a process called stratification. This is where you place the seed package in your fridge for a few weeks before you then plant them.
If you think the work of planting from seed is too difficult, many gardeners simply plant young hostas in their garden. They are readily available at most gardening centers and there are usually a few varieties to choose from.
All about the shade
Unlike most plants, hostas love the shade. This makes them a versatile and popular favorite for those with shady areas in their garden.
Ideally, you want an area that is a partial shade or has dappled shade. However, they can also survive full shade, so you have a few options.
Starting with seeds
If you choose to go with seeds, be sure to place them in the fridge for a few weeks. Then, put the seeds in a container that has nice, moist soil.
You want the soil to drain well but still hold its moisture. Most potting soil mixes will do well.
Plant the seeds about half an inch deep in the soil. You then want to put the container in an area of your home that has natural light but not direct sunlight.
After two to eight weeks you should see little hosta plants poking out of the soil. Spray the soil regularly with water to keep it moist.
After the plants are about four inches tall, you can then transplant them outside. While you can plant your seeds directly in the garden, you’re better able to control the elements indoors.
Starting with plants
Those that want a simpler time planting hostas may want to stick with small but established plants. There are many forms of plants you can purchase.
Potted hostas can be found at any gardening center. You can also purchase them online and they will come in a bare-root form or as a dormant plant.
It’s best to plant these in your garden in the fall. As hostas do not initially do well with high temperatures, planting them in a cooler season will allow them to establish themselves.
If you find yourself planting your hostas in the summer, just be sure to give them extra water.
Whether you are planting established hostas or are transplanting them from inside, you want to take into account their large foliage. Hostas need a few feet of space between them and other plants as their leaves can grow to be quite larger.
How to Water Hosta Bulbs
Eventually, your hostas will become self-sufficient and drought-tolerant. However, for the first two years, you need to spend more time on this plant.
Water really well after the initial planting, although make sure the water can drain properly. After this, you want the plant to have nice, moist soil.
Be very careful with your hostas in the summer during the first few years. You may want to get into a habit of watering daily. Early mornings are preferable to allow the water to really sink into the soil.
How to Grow Hostas
As we’ve discussed, hostas like moist conditions. To help you and your plants out, be sure to add a nice layer of mulch around your plants.
While mulch will help retain moisture, it can attract slugs. Be sure to keep an eye out for these pests as they are attracted to hosta leaves.
Encourage new growth
Hosta flowers will continue to grow for most of the summer, so you want to encourage this. Once a bloom starts to fade, you can remove it. This will tell the rest of the plant to grow more flowers.
Cut back in the fall
Some varieties of hostas will continue to flower into the fall. It’s best to leave them be and not rush the cleanup process.
Once the blooms are over, you will be left with a lot of foliage. This will naturally break down but it can also attract a lot of slugs.
During the fall, after the blooms are over, you can tidy up your hostas so pests won’t come by. Don’t worry if you don’t get to this step as you can also clean up your plant in the spring.
Hostas can grow to be quite large and they are a great plant if you want to divide them. To do so, start in the spring when the leaves are just coming out.
Gently dig around the root of the hosta. Mature hostas will have large root structures so you should be able to easily cut off part of the area.
Leave the root attached to the plant and then place them in another shaded area of your garden. Plant the division at the soil level and then water the well.
Unfortunately, there are a few pests that love hostas. Slugs like this leafy plant because it is situated in the shade where slugs like to live.
Check your plant for holes in the middle of the leaves or irregular edges. Add broken eggshells to the ground to discourage slugs.
Another pest is deer. Unfortunately, deer love to munch on hostas so this is not an ideal plant for rural areas.
If you have a large shade garden, you can grow quite an abundance of plants. Hostas pair really well with bleeding hearts and ferns.
Can you eat hostas?
Not many people are aware of this, but you can actually eat hostas. The trick is to pick the leaves when they are still young so that they won’t be too tough.
You can boil or fry your hosta leaves, and even eat them raw. They have a taste that is somewhere between asparagus and lettuce.
How long do hosta seeds take to grow?
Hosta seeds take two to eight weeks to germinate. While you might get flowers in the first year, some varieties take longer.
It will take between three and five years for most hostas to reach their mature size. They will come back each year.
Hostas are an excellent addition to a shade garden. If planting from seeds, start them indoors in the spring and then transplant them in late spring. For rooted plants, get them in your garden in the fall.