The quintessential shade-loving ground cover, hosta is the perfect partner for those cool garden corners. Growing up to 4 feet tall with large, glossy leaves in every shade of green from blue-hued to variegated, hostas provide textural interest as they cover ground. As a perennial, the return of your hostas in a fuller, more lush clump is a treat to be savored each spring. Protect and prepare you hostas for winter in a few easy steps to ensure pleasing results.
Inspect the planting site for proper drainage in the fall. If water is pooling around your hostas, now is the time to prepare a new bed and transplant them into well-drained soil. Hostas that sit in water are susceptible to disease and may be damaged over winter.
Divide and transplant hostas early in the fall if necessary. Prepare the new planting bed by incorporating 3 to 4 inches of organic matter into the soil to a depth of 1 foot. Gently dig a wide ring around the hosta, taking care not to damage any root structures. Lift the plant and carefully divide into separate clumps with roots intact. Re-plant up to 3 feet apart in the prepared bed.
Check hosta plants for diseased or infected foliage. Any compromised plant parts should be promptly removed with gardening shears. Dip shears used to remove diseased material into a solution of 50 percent bleach, 50 percent water to clean them between uses.
Remove leaf litter from around the base of the hostas and trim back spent foliage in late fall before the frosts set in. Destroy all leaf litter away from your planting beds and compost heaps, especially if disease is suspected. Plant blights can live on dead plant material even over winter, returning to infect healthy plants in the spring.
Apply up to 4 inches of organic mulch, such as clean straw, around transplanted hostas after the first frost. Do not allow the mulch to touch the base stems of the plant, however, as this may encourage disease spread.