Hosta, also known as plantain lily, is an herbaceous perennial grown for its attractive flowers, ornamental foliage and ease of cultivation in the home garden. The plant's foliage appears in many different sizes, shapes and colors, depending on the variety. Hosta blooms during summer and early fall, producing multiple blossoms on flower stalks in shades of white, purple or lavender. Native to Asia, hosta plants thrive in USDA Hardiness Zones 3 through 8 and make excellent additions to perennial flower gardens in temperate regions of the country.
Plant hosta during spring or early fall in a location that receives about four hours of bright sunlight each day and consists of well-drained, fertile soil. Spread a 2-inch layer of organic compost over the planting site and use a garden tiller to amend the soil before you plant.
Use a shovel to dig a hole in the soil of equal depth and three times as wide as the root ball. Spread the roots with your hands and gently insert them into the hole. Cover with soil and water lightly to bring moisture into contact with the roots. Space additional hosta plants at least 1 to 3 feet apart.
Water hosta thoroughly once every seven days, except during weeks that receive more than 1 inch of rainfall. Increase the watering frequency to once every five days during periods of extreme heat or drought. Apply water directly to the soil to minimize the risk of disease caused by wet foliage.
Feed plants once per year during spring, just after active growth resumes, using a balanced slow-release fertilizer. For the best results, apply at the rate recommended by the manufacturer. Water lightly just after fertilizing to release the nutrients into the soil.
Cut the flower stalks from your hosta plants after they finish blooming to encourage vigorous new growth as opposed to seed production. Sever the stalks close to the base to reduce the plant's stress and disease vulnerability.