Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

The Best Way to Plant Hostas

By Diane Dilov-Schultheis ; Updated September 21, 2017
Hostas come in numerous colors.
Funkie-Blätter image by bbroianigo from Fotolia.com

According to The Ohio State University Fact Sheet, hostas are available in over 2,500 different cultivars. Hosta plants are herbaceous perennials that grow best in USDA hardiness zones 3 to 8 and are known for being shade-tolerant. Hosta plants come in a large assortment of colors, textures, forms, and in sizes ranging from a few inches to over 4 feet or more in both height and width. Choose hosta varieties suited for your hardiness zone and the planting location (full shade or partial shade) for best results.

Select the location for planting hostas that allows enough room for the mature plant size, well-draining soil, and the necessary light requirements. Check the labels or inquire about this when obtaining your hosta plants, and pick the best varieties for each location.

Prepare the hosta planting site at the beginning of spring. Clear the area of all foliage. Add up to 6 inches of organic matter, and cultivate it into the soil to a depth of at least 12 inches. Each hosta planting area's width should equal more than twice the container’s size to allow the roots to spread out easier. Dig a hole in the center at the same depth of the container holding the hosta plant, so it is planted at the same level.

Carefully remove the hostas from the containers to inspect the roots. Loosen any tangled roots, cut off any damaged or week roots, and make vertical cuts (if needed) in the root ball, when you cannot loosen roots. Remove any soil from roots, and place hosta in the hole, spreading roots out.

Back fill the hole with removed soil and drench each hosta with water to settle soil. Supply at least 1 inch of water weekly to the hosta plants during the growing season, if rainfall is less than that.

Apply a standard fertilizer (like 10-10-10 or 5-10-5) as directed after planting (or as new growth develops), and again every six weeks through the growing season. Spread the fertilizer around the hosta plants, keeping it away from the stems. Saturate with water after fertilizing.

Cover the area around the hostas with at least 3 inches of mulch. This will prevent weeds from growing, and keep the soil cool and damp longer. Do not put any mulch within 6 inches of the stem of the growing hostas.


Things You Will Need

  • Rake
  • Shovel
  • Hoe
  • Mechanized tiller (optional)
  • Organic matter
  • Water
  • Fertilizer
  • Mulch

About the Author


Diane Dilov-Schultheis has been writing professionally since 2000. She is a food and travel writer who also specializes in gaming, satellites, RV repair, gardening, finances and electronics. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and has been published online at the Travel Channel and Intel.