Hosta plants are shade-tolerant plants with beautiful, waxy, green leaves that produce a vast range of foliage colors. While these plants are traditionally grown outside the house, they also make fantastic houseplants under the right conditions. For these plants to thrive inside your home, they will need a lot of attention and care.
For optimum results, grow your Hosta in the shade, provide them with plenty of water, and watch for possible problems. Snails, slugs, and viruses are some of the potential issues you may find. However, these problems will be less likely when growing indoors. If you’re looking to grow Hosta plants inside your home, read on to learn how to help them thrive.
About Hosta Plants
Hostas are extraordinary because they come in many heights, sizes, colors, and textures with which to experiment. They fit into both indoor and outdoor environments, and they’re also cold-hardy. Most variants will grow between one to three feet tall, but smaller and bigger varieties are available. Hosta plants’ leaves come in various colors, such as lime green, variegated white, and blue-green, to name a few. The shape and texture of Hosta leaves also have diverse ranges, from narrow and smooth to heart-shaped and ridged.
Additionally, while these plants are commonly known for their beautiful foliage, Hostas can also provide you with lovely flowers. During summer to fall, tiny flowers in lavender, pink, white, or light blue colors sprout from Hosta plants. These flowers, which may also be fragrant depending on the species, will attract pollinators such as hummingbirds. Moreover, outdoor Hosta plants will also attract rabbits, deer, snails, and slugs. Be aware that deer may graze upon your outside Hosta patch, leaving only the stems behind.
Planting Your Hosta Plants
Maybe you want to raise your Hosta indoors but are skeptical because they’re usually grown outdoors. While growing this plant indoors isn’t the norm, you can do it. It does, however, need a bit more attention to meet your plant’s needs. Follow this guide to learn everything you need to know to grow Hosta plants indoors successfully.
Preparing the Pot
Start by looking for a suitable container for your Hosta. Depending on the variety you choose, it may need a larger pot, while others require a relatively small container. Generally, Hosta plants grow well inside large containers, so be sure there’s enough room for the roots to grow. Getting a pot at least 18 inches deep will provide the roots with enough space to expand downwards. The pot should be as wide as your expected amount of foliage or more. Ensure that you choose a large houseplant container with drainage at the bottom to prevent root rot.
Preparing the Soil
Pick out sterilized soil rich in organic material. This soil will help prevent fungus growth. Use soil mixed with peat moss to help keep it moist.
Planting Your Hosta
When you’ve prepared the plant’s requirements as outlined above, follow these steps:
- Buy your Hosta as a dormant, bare-root division or as potted Hosta plants during spring.
- Plant Hostas late during the growing season but give them extra attention with watering.
- Set your plant in a planting hole. Make sure the crown of your plant is even with the surrounding soil. Furthermore, its growing tips should be visible at the soil’s surface.
- If you’re purchasing potted Hostas, plant them on the same level as the soil inside the pot.
- Ensure the soil is damp around the plant, and water it until the soil becomes moist.
- Place it in an area where there is bright, indirect sunlight, and avoid intense direct sunlight.
- Water Hostas whenever the soil feels somewhat dry. They prefer moist (but not soggy) soil. Diligently watering them when they’re dry will ensure they don’t succumb to hot summer weather.
Caring for Hosta Plants
Gardeners are always looking for beautiful, hardy houseplants. And they won’t find anything better than the Hosta. Its attractiveness, variety, and flexibility for indoor and outdoor use are just some traits that make it a great addition. Follow the tips below to ensure your Hosta grows well.
Your Hosta plants will need both shade and light to survive. They are shade-loving plants, and every variant will need some shade. However, you will need to look into specific requirements for light, depending on your variety. Some Hostas grow in complete shade, while other species like the partial sun. Green-leaved variants are highly tolerant of shade, while the variegated variants are likely to burn from the harsh sun. Brown leaf tips are a sign that your Hosta plants are receiving too much sun. Another sign to look out for is faded spots or dull color in the leaves.
These plants will need plenty of water, especially when grown inside containers. It’s also essential to keep your Hosta moist by watering it frequently. Watering them properly is highly critical on hot days. Water the Hosta deeply until excess trickles down the drainage hole. Let the pot drain thoroughly. Take care not to wet the leaves, and only water them once a month during the winter months. While this plant needs little moisture during winter, don’t allow the soil to become dry.
Hostas grown in containers can thrive at the same temperature as your home, preferring environments with moderate heat. Hostas are perennials, which means they need six weeks of temperatures under 42 degrees F at the very least. Providing this environment will help the plant to go into dormancy. Because of this, Hostas need a different type of care during winter than during summer and spring.
While you can over-winter your plants in the garage in a spare refrigerator or outside, don’t let them freeze. Don’t worry too much if leaves drop during the plant’s dormancy. Unlike most plants, Hostas grown indoors have a dormancy period. Move the plant to a dark room where the temperature stays cool to replicate the plant’s conditions while growing outside.
A commercial soil mixture that’s well-draining is the best food for Hostas grown in containers. Be sure to protect its roots by adding a layer of organic mulch or shredded bark. Mulch will also help the plant retain moisture.
Four months before your Hostas go into dormancy, stop feeding them fertilizer to allow them to harden off. At the start of the growing season, use a slow-release fertilizer. After this, continue to fertilize your Hosta plants every other week using a water-soluble fertilizer. Because they lose nutrients due to frequent watering, Hostas need a bit more fertilizer when grown in containers.
Your Hosta plant won’t need too much pruning. However, you’ll want to remove flower stalks after the plant blooms to allow for new growth. Many Hosta varieties display beautiful colors during fall, so allow them to thrive until the frost arrives. After the first few touches of frost during late fall, this plant will get mushy and flatten. When this happens, cut back the foliage to prevent disease and other issues. Be sure to also clean around the plants and take away any brown leaves.
Propagation of Hosta Plants
You may propagate your Hosta by cuttings or from Hosta seeds, but most gardeners prefer growing Hostas from seeds in containers. You can also grow your Hostas by division during early spring or early fall. Cut off some roots from the mature plant and shake off the old soil. Then, re-plant the Hostas at the same depth. You will need to divide Hosta plants to keep them healthy and give them ample room to avoid slow growth.
Divide your Hosta in early spring to achieve a neater look. Spring is when the growing tips or “eyes” will start to sprout from the ground. It’s also an excellent time to transplant or move your Hostas to a new location. When moving the plant, leave as much of the root as possible attached to every plant or crown. Plant the pups in the same soil levels as you had previously done and water them well until established.
Repotting Hosta Plants
Repot Hostas kept in containers when the growing season starts. When spring arrives, return your outdoor Hosta to its previous location and care for it as usual. Whenever the plant outgrows the pot, be sure to move it to a bigger container. This growth will generally happen every two to three years. However, if your plant grows larger than you expect, it’s best to divide it.
Challenges With Hosta Plants
While Hosta plants can be easy to care for in some respects, they also have some challenges.
One challenge that many indoor Hosta plants face is maintaining just the right amount of moisture. While too much water will cause problems like crown rot, Hostas prefer moist conditions. Consider using a sub-irrigation system to achieve a good balance.
Another challenge for this plant is the weather. While most indoor plants prefer a constant temperature, the Hosta is different. Because of their required dormancy period, they need exposure to colder temperatures. You can simulate this condition by placing the plants in a dark, cold space. The temperature should be no more than 40 degrees F.
Hosta plants can keep growing inside a large container for three years. Check the pot every spring. Ensure that its roots aren’t pressed up in the side of the pot or escaping through the drainage holes. If this occurs, re-plant your Hosta in a pot that’s 2-4 inches bigger than its previous container.
Hosta Plant Varieties
One of the best things about growing Hostas is the plant’s sheer diversity. People value Hostas for their various leaf textures and colors. For example, the “Undulata” variant has variegated white centers have green leaves. The “June” variant boasts blue-green leaves. Many Hosta varieties with beautiful trumpet or bell-shaped flowers in yellow, green, gray, and blue colors. Furthermore, Hostas grown inside containers can provide beautiful floral arrangements.
Hostas offer a wide range in size — some grow to 28 inches tall, while others only reach 4 inches. Leaves also come in variegated varieties. Their foliage is typically textured beautifully with prominent veins. Leaf shape is another factor that gives this plant’s beauty; they can come in elongated ovals, broad, heart-shapes, and more. Hosta plants also offer hundreds of different cultivars available in almost all colors and shapes imaginable. Gardeners are constantly making new kinds of Hosta, so there’s always something to look forward to.
When you start planting Hostas, you’ll soon find that they’re addictive. With so many options to choose from, you’ll see that there’s a Hosta for every occasion. If you’re looking to grow Hostas at home, here are a few of the best Hostas around.
- H. fotunei “Aureo Marginata”
Also known as the “Gold-Edged Plantain Lily,” it is an attractive member of the Hosta family. It produces a mound of basal, broad, heart-shaped, mid-green leaves. This Hosta is relatively easy to grow and grows up to 12 to 18 inches tall. With origins going back to Germany, it is a forgiving and low-maintenance plant. It’s also the recipient of the Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society.
- H. x “Blue Cadet”
This plant forms substantial mounds of foliage topped with lily-like blooms. The blue cadet is a medium-sized plant with blue-green leaves shaped like a heart. During summer, these leaves turn green and produce pale lavender flowers. When fall arrives, this plant goes into dormancy. Remove its foliage before mid-spring.
The honeybells variant is a medium-sized Hosta with large, apple-green leaves. Its fragrant, off-white flowers appear in August. It will go completely dormant during fall, where you can remove the dying leaves before mid-spring. It’s also easily divided during spring or fall.
Other variants include “Sum and Substance” and “August Moon,” both of which love sunnier spots. They will also produce fragrant flowers during summer, making them perfect for any home.
Hosta Plant Trivia
- The young leaves of a Hosta plant are edible. In Japan, these are known as urui and are commonly fried in tempura, boiled, or consumed raw. People say they have a taste similar to that of asparagus and lettuce.
- Hummingbirds and bees love Hosta flowers.
- If you plan to remove your Hosta, cut off the leaves and dig out the crown just below the ground. Pour boiling water or vinegar over the plant. Remove the crown and cover this part with black plastic for the rest of the growing season.
FAQs for Hosta Plants
Before planting your Hostas, be sure to prepare a suitable pot and the right soil as outlined above. Once you’ve done this, here are a few steps to follow:
- Purchase your Hosta as a potted plant in springtime. You can also buy it as a bare-root division that’s dormant.
- Plant your Hosta in the growing season. They will need extra attention for their watering needs.
- Start by placing your Hosta inside a planting hole. Ensure that the crown of your plant sits evenly with the surrounding soil. Moreover, the growing tips need to be left visible at the soil’s surface.
- If you opt to purchase potted Hostas, plant them on the same level as the soil inside the pot.
- Make sure that the soil you use is damp around the plant. Give it water until the soil is moist.
- Put your plant in an area with bright, indirect sunlight but be sure not to place it in direct sunlight.
- If the soil feels dry, be sure to give your plant some water. Keep in mind that they prefer moist soil, not soggy soil. Keeping them happy with their water levels will ensure that they don’t die of hot summer temperatures.
Hostas are one of the most diverse growing plants, prized for their never-ending variants, colors, and textures. Hostas also have various size ranges, from the smaller variants to the giant kinds. Their leaves come in various shapes and colors; some are heart-shaped, and others have ovals. Furthermore, the foliage will usually have different textures. Its flowers also come in green, yellow, blue, and gray colors and can be used in beautiful floral arrangements. Some of the most beautiful varieties of the Hosta are:
- H. fotunei “Aureo Marginata”
- H. x “Blue Cadet”
- “Sum and Substance”
- “August Moon”
One of the biggest challenges when caring for Hostas is having to maintain the right amount of moisture. Give it too much water, and it could get root rot. Give it too little, and it won’t grow properly. You may need to consider using an irrigation system to control how much water your plant gets.
You’ll also need to mind the weather with this plant. The Hosta is different from other indoor plants — they require a period of dormancy as they grow. As such, they need to be outside when there are colder temperatures. If you prefer to keep them indoors, you can simulate these conditions by putting them in a cold, dark space. Keep them within temperatures under 40 degrees F.
Your Hosta plant can keep growing in a big container for three years, but check it during spring. Ensure that the roots aren’t escaping through the drainage holes and not being packed on the sides. If you see this problem, it’s time to re-plant your Hosta in a bigger pot than the last one.
When the growing season begins, feed your Hosta using a slow-release fertilizer. You can then fertilize your plant every other week with a water-soluble fertilizer. If you’re growing your Hosta inside a container, give it more fertilizer. Doing so will ensure they don’t lose nutrients from frequent watering.
Hosta plants need both light and shade to thrive. These shade-loving plants will always need some kind of shade, as do most variants. Be sure to look into your Hosta plant’s specific needs since every variant has its own preference. Some Hostas love full shade, while others need partial sun.