Hostas, a perennial favorite in the shade garden, provide lush green foliage from spring until the first frost, growing larger each subsequent year on the previous yearâ€™s roots.
1. Prepare the hosta bed before your plants arrive or before you visit the local greenhouse. Hostas thrive in deep shade but they will tolerate partial sun. The more direct sunlight your hostas receive, the smaller and more compact they will be. Hostas with light green and yellow coloring tolerate sun better than do the ones with deep blue-green shades.
2. Loosen the soil in the hosta bed to a depth of 12 inches or deeper. Hostas form solid root rhizomes with fine feather-like roots that extend deeply beneath the foliage. Add organic matter to the hosta bed to encourage good drainage. Sterilized compost and humus, mixed with good garden soil provide a good growing medium.
3. Refrigerate your hostas if you canâ€™t plant them within a day or two of receiving them in the mail. Unwrap the roots and soak them for an hour before re-wrapping and placing in a plastic zip-type bag. In this manner, you can wait up to two weeks before transplanting the hostas.
4. Inspect the roots of the new hostas before planting. This holds true for hostas from the greenhouse and those received in the mail. In both cases, allow the roots to soak for an hour or two before planting.
5. Unwind the tiny roots from around the rhizome and spread them out after you dig a hole approximately double the size of the root division. Measure from the top to the bottom of the large root and double that number in both depth and width for the hole.
6. Moisten the soil in the bottom of the hole but donâ€™t drench it and carefully spread out the root filaments in the hole, holding the top of the root division at ground level while filling the hole with a mixture of peat moss and compost. Carefully fill in between the roots and pack the planting medium gently around the base of the hosta.
7. Water the new transplants two or three times a day for the first two weeks to encourage the roots to develop. After that, water as needed. Hostas are thirsty plants that need a lot of water.
8. Separate mature hostas every two or three years when the bullet shoots emerge in the spring. If left alone, the hosta will not reach its full potential because too many root divisions are sending up shoots & also dig up the hostas and soak the roots in a bucket of water for an hour. When the soil is loose, carefully wash it away and use a sharp knife to cut between the individual root divisions. Plant the separate rhizomes just as you would new transplants.