Hostas are popular plants for the shade garden, in large part because of their reputation for easy care. But even the laid-back hosta can occasionally run into trouble and require a little help to thrive and look its best.
Give your hosta the best chance for success by choosing and planting wisely. While most hostas are shade-tolerate, not all varieties can thrive in deep shade. Likewise, some varieties can tolerate more sun than others. Choose a variety that will work well in your intended location. Give your plant a head start by taking the time to turn the soil to a depth of about 12 inches and amend it with organic material.
Water your plant well, especially in the hot, dry months of summer. Experts recommend that hostas receive about 1 inch of water per week during the growing season. Adding mulch around the base of your plant will increase moisture retention and keep the soil temperature moderated.
Fertilize your hosta with a balanced fertilizer--one with similar levels of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous. Feed once in early spring, again about six weeks later and again in mid-summer.
Keep an eye out for slugs and other garden pests. Slugs are nocturnal, so you may never see them at work. If you notice holes or other damage to the leaves of your plant, try spreading commercially available slug pellets containing metaldehyde around your plant. These pellets are toxic, so follow label directions carefully. Another slug control containing iron phosphate is also effective, and may be better choice if you have pets, etc.
Divide your plant to control overgrowth and gain new plantings. Spring division is easiest, before your hosta puts on much in the way of new growth. Dig up the plant, rinse the soil from the roots, and slice the plant in half with a sharp knife. Its a good idea to first dip the knife in a fungicide, or a 10 percent bleach solution. Replant the newly divided parts. Water well after division to help the plants adjust.