While hosta plants may be a common sight in shady gardens and backyards, there are so many different hosta varieties that hosta plantings can be anything but ordinary if you choose an unusual or uncommon hosta variety. When you shop for hosta plants by catalog or Internet, you often have a larger selection of unusual varieties that may not be available at local nurseries. These hosta varieties will arrive in the mail and they will likely arrive as bare root plants (no soil around the roots). Plant bare root hostas with care to ensure they grow well.
Cultivate a shady growing area to prepare it for the bare root hostas. Work the soil at least 12 inches deep with the garden spade. Add 6 inches of compost or aged manure over the soil and work this in well with the garden spade.
Dig a hole for each hosta plant with the shovel. Make the holes 12 inches deep and 12 inches wide. Create a 6-inch hill in the bottom center of each prepared hole with additional soil. Space the holes 12 inches apart in the planting area.
Fill a bucket with slightly warm water and place the roots of each bare root hosta plant into the bucket. Allow the roots to soak for 30 minutes immediately before you plant the hostas.
Remove the soaking hosta plants from the bucket and place each plant into a prepared hole. Arrange the bare roots carefully around the hill in the bottom of each hole and ensure the crowns of the hosta plants are even with the soil level. Add additional garden soil around the roots to fill in the holes. Firm the soil down lightly around the base of the plants to finish planting the hostas.
Provide a thorough watering of each hosta plant immediately after planting. Water until the soil is evenly saturated, but do not overwater and create puddles.
Keep the soil evenly moist while the hosta plants are establishing. Provide water before the soil dries each time and water to moisten the soil thoroughly. After one month of growth, water the hosta plants only if less than 1 inch of rain falls during a one-week period.
Fertilize the hosta plants in late spring or early summer by sprinkling granular fertilizer carefully over the soil approximately 3 inches away from each plant. Check the fertilizer package for recommended amounts for the size of your growing area. Work the fertilizer into the soil with the hand rake and water the soil generously immediately after fertilizing to help the fertilizer absorb down to the hosta roots.