The hosta plant is an herbaceous perennial popular for its attractive foliage, hardiness and adaptability. Hardy in zones 3 through 8, hosta thrives in most areas of the United States except in desert or tropical locations. Hosta tolerates a wide variety of growing conditions, although leaf color will not be as vivid in deeply shaded areas. A hosta plant makes a dramatic statement in the home garden and some types even produce flowers, although they aren't typically considered ornamental. Numerous hosta cultivars exist and each varies in size and appearance, but all have similar care requirements.
Plant hosta during mid-spring after all danger of frost has passed. Choose a planting site that receives partial or full shade throughout the day. Spread a 1-inch layer of manure over the planting site and use a garden tiller to incorporate into the soil.
Apply a 2-inch layer of mulch to the ground surrounding the hosta plant to insulate the soil, suppress weeds and provide additional nutrients. Allow about 3 inches between the crown of the plant and the mulch to prevent root rot.
Water once every five days during the first two years of growth to help establish the root system. Decrease the frequency of watering thereafter to once every 10 days, or when the top 3 inches of soil are dry to the touch.
Fertilize the hosta plant by spreading a 1/2-inch layer of organic compost around the plant twice per year, once in early spring and again in mid-fall. Use a garden hoe to work the material into the soil and water thoroughly to collapse any air pockets.
Spread an additional 2 inches of mulch over the soil after the ground has frozen to a depth of 3 inches to provide winter protection for the root system. Remove the mulch in early spring, just before active growth begins for the best results.