Hostas are shade-tolerant perennial plants that can liven up a drab landscape very quickly. They are available in a range of vivid colors, interesting textures and sizes ranging from diminutive 6 inches to spans of 8 feet and more. Raising hostas isn't difficult, and once planted, hostas will thrive for years with very little upkeep. Although hostas can be planted from late spring to early autumn, a late spring planting will get the hosta off to a good start before winter.
Purchase a healthy hosta plant at a greenhouse or nursery. Avoid hostas with yellowing, distorted, twisted or stunted leaves. Hostas varieties differ in color and size, so read the tag carefully to be sure the hosta is right for you, and make sure the hosta is suitable for your climate.
Choose a planting site for your hosta. Hostas do best if they are exposed to a few hours of morning sun, but protected from the hot afternoon sunlight, which can burn the leaves.
Use a shovel or a tiller to cultivate the soil to a depth of 14 to 16 inches. Work 6 inches of an organic materia,l such compost, peat moss or well-rotted manure, into the soil.
Dig a hole at least a foot deep and two to three times as wide as the hosta's root ball. Add a time-release granular fertilizer to the hole, and mix it in with the soil at the bottom of the hole. Read the fertilizer package label carefully for specific instructions.
Remove the hosta from its container, and using your fingers, loosen and untangle the roots. Place the hosta in the hole with the crown of the plant approximately an inch above the top of the soil. The crown, which is where the plant joins the root system, can rot if it's planted under the soil. If necessary, add soil to the bottom of the hole to raise the hosta to the correct level.
Fill the hole halfway with reserved soil, and tamp the soil around the roots. Continue filling the hole with reserved soil.
Place an inch of organic mulch around the hosta plant, but leave a span of 3 to 4 inches so the mulch doesn't pile up against the leaves. Organic mulch such as pine needles or shredded bark will conserve moisture and help to control weeds.
Make sure the hosta gets at least an inch of water every week. A deep watering once or twice a week is better than frequent, shallow waterings, and will promote healthy root development. Water hosta plants early in the day so excess water can evaporate before evening. Don't water hosta during the winter months.