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Writing about the things I love. My writing work has appeared in hard copy magazines including Green Prints, Twins Magazine, Practical Parenting Magazine, Good Old Days Magazine, The Journal of Court Reporting, and more as well as hundreds of articles in Sunset Hosta Farm's Hosta blog and The Homesteading Village blog.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Top Ten Hosta Questions


White Margined Hosta Plants alongside statue

Top Ten Hosta Questions Answered
Some Answers May Surprise You!

Hostas are one of the most popular perennials of all time.  Here at Sunset Hosta Farm.com, we get a lot of questions about hostas.  Following is a list of the ten top questions we are asked about hostas and their care.

1.  Can you kill a hosta?

Short Answer: Yes!

Explanation:  I've heard people say "you can't kill a hosta." And while it's true that hostas are very tough, easy-to-grow perennials, they are plants and need a few things to survive; sunlight and water, and without which they will die.

And although you could keep hostas alive under minimal conditions, they surely wouldn't thrive. 

Further Reading:  Using Epsom Salt on Hostas!

And as all hosta lovers know, IT'S ALL ABOUT THE LEAVES!  Giving hostas some extra care will ensure they will give you many years of health and beauty.

Related Reading:  The Ultimate Guide to Hostas

2. How much direct sun can a hosta take?

Short Answer: If it's a hosta variety that is labeled "sun tolerant," it can generally take four to six hours of direct sun.

Explanation:  There are several characteristics that sun-tolerant varieties have.  They include how thick the hosta leaves are, the color of the hosta leaves, and if the hosta is a fragrant variety.

Further Reading:  All About Fragrant Hostas

3. Are Hostas Drought Tolerant?

Short Answer: Yes,and no.

Explanation: If a hosta is healthy and of mature size, its root system has become wide-reaching and can collect enough moisture to get the hosta plant through dry times.

An otherwise healthy, mature hosta plant will only need added water in extreme cases. In that case, you can say that that hosta has become drought-tolerant or said another way, drought-resistant.

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4. How long does it take for a hosta to fully mature in size?

Short Answer: Four to eight years.

Explanation:  Ever seen those gigantic hostas in some neighboring yards around town?  Those hostas have probably been growing there undivided for seven or eight years.

Of course, the variety of a hosta and its growth rate matters greatly.  So if you want a giant hosta and you have time to allow it to grow undisturbed for several years, you should buy one with a size labeled as large to very large AND is labeled as having a fast or vigorous growth rate.  

Guacamole, pictured above, is a very large and fast-growing variety.

Related Reading:  Fast-Growing Hostas

5. Should I cut back hosta flowers and stems once they're done blooming?

Short Answer: Dealer's Choice

Explanation:  If you want a hosta to grow faster, cutting off the flower stems as they appear will direct more of the plant's energy to grow the roots and leaves.  

Another reason to cut back flower stems and blooms is simply that hostas are mostly grown for those awesome leaves, and some hosta varieties have blooms that are rather lackluster at best. 

Further Reading:  Cutting Back Hosta Flowers


6. How much water does a hosta need?

Short Answer:  Generally a hosta needs at least an inch of water per week.  Like with all perennials, infrequent deep soakings are better than frequent light waterings.

Explanation:  Hostas are native to China, Japan and Korea, locations that receive a lot of rainfall and even periods of intense downpours.  So it's no surprise that hostas thrive on a good amount of water!


7. Why is my hosta growing so slowly, or not at all, or is actually shrinking in size?

Short Answer:   Sorry, no short answer!

Explanation:   There are several reasons why a hosta is growing very slowly, isn't growing at all or is even shrinking from year to year.  

These reasons include the amount of shade/sun the hosta gets, the amount of water it gets through the season, (especially in the fall), if the hosta is fertilized through the season, if the hosta is left to flower, and the variety of hosta that it is.

We have a detailed article on this subject:
Further Reading:  Why Isn't My Hosta Growing

8. How can I deal with slugs around my hostas?

Short Answer: Slugs, eeeeewwww.

Explanation:  Knowing the reason that slugs are drawn to hostas can go a long way to rid the plants of the slimy little pests.  

Generally, ways to rid your hostas of slugs include using chemical products, using organic material, trapping them, changing the slug's environment, and my favorite, buying slug resistant hostas!

Detailed article about all of the above:  Slugs and Hostas


9. Can I leave my potted hostas outdoors over the winter?

Short Answer: Sorry, again, no short answer.

Explanation:  The full answer to this question depends on your growing zone, the species of hostas in the pot, the pot size, the maturity of the hosta plant to name a few.

Further Reading:  Winter Care for your Potted Hosta


10. Why are hostas shipped "bare root" and what does that mean?

Short Answer: Hostas, like most perennials, are generally shipped bare root due to the expense of shipping these days. It is a very safe way to ship plants.

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Explanation:  First, most or all of the soil is washed away from the roots of the hosta and the leaves are sprayed clean.

Next, the roots are wrapped in a damp paper towel so they won't dry out in shipping.

The entire plant and roots are then wrapped in a bread bag-type plastic sleeve and tagged with the name of the hosta.

The hostas are then shipped expedited delivery.


So there you have it.   There's much more to hostas than meets the eye.

If you haven't added some hosta varieties to your garden, you're really missing out.

If you enjoyed this article, please hit the "follow" button on our blog home page.  We have over 50 articles about hostas and we're adding new ones all the time!


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