Hosta Growing Guide
Hostas are hardy perennials grown mostly for their spectacular foliage, which comes in a range of textures, colours and sizes. Their pretty, lily-like flower racemes in shades of white, mauve and purple are a bonus during the warm months. Hosta is a member of the agave family. There are 40 species; most are native to Japan, a few to Korea and the fragrant H. plantaginea is native to China. Over 3000 cultivars have been registered.
- Hostas can be grown in most parts of Australia except the tropics and desert regions.
- Hostas are understory woodland plants, which tells us they need light to medium shade to thrive.
- Hostas grow well in containers. Use a premium potting mix and be sure to water them regularly. When the plant becomes too large for the container split it and replant into two or three pots.
- Hostas are herbaceous perennials that die back over winter and reshoot in spring. They grow from stolons (above ground creeping stems) or rhizomes (below ground creeping stems) and can be propagated by division in winter if necessary. To keep the plant tidy, remove flower stalks when they’re finished.
- The ideal soil is a pH neutral, deep, well-drained, moist and humus-rich loam.
- For clay or sand soils, dig through organic material such as compost, well-rotted manure or coco-peat to a depth of 20-30cm.
- For poorly drained soils create mounded beds.
- Hostas will suffer if soil remains dry for too long.
- Feed with a general-purpose fertiliser in late winter.
- Apply Seasol and Powerfeed regularly to keep plants healthy and performing at their best.
- Hostas are toxic to domestic animals, but tolerated by rabbits, deer, (wallabies, kangaroos?) as well as snails, which treat them as a culinary delicacy. If you don’t have chickens or ducks to use as pest control, crushed eggshells or spent coffee grounds are both pretty good deterrents. And there you have a perfectly valid reason for consuming more eggs and coffee!