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How to Care for Hostas

Hosta is a leafy-green perennial plant that occupies a prominent position in the shady landscapes of many homes. Hostas require little maintenance after planting. In fact, hosta plants seem to prefer to grow and thrive unassisted over the course of many years. Gardeners of any skill level will enjoy the lush green foliage and the dainty hosta blossoms that appear toward the end of summer.

Prepare a shady growing area in the spring after the last spring frost. Work the soil down to a depth of between 12 and 18 inches with the garden spade. Add 2 inches of compost to the top of the soil and work the compost down to at least 12 inches so that the soil is loose and will drain adequately after the hosta is growing.

Dig holes for the hosta plants so that the hosta crowns will be even with the soil level. Space the hosta plants between 2 and 4 feet apart. Place the hosta plants into the prepared holes and fill in the holes with soil firmly around the roots of the hosta plants. Water the newly planted hosta plants generously.

Add 2 to 3 inches of mulch around the base of the hosta plants to help control weeds and conserve soil moisture. Do not add more mulch than this, however, because it may contribute to a vole population moving in among the hosta plants and disturbing the root systems of the hosta.

Ensure that the hosta plants receive at least 1 1/2 inches of water each week. Strive to provide a half-inch of water every three days for optimal growth. Fertilize the hosta plants once each spring by mixing the fertilizer with water according to package recommendations for the size of your hosta plants.

Lay down a barrier of crushed eggshells or wood ashes around the plants to help prevent slugs from invading the plants. Trap slugs that are already on the hosta plants by placing a shallow tray of beer on the soil near the hosta plants. The slugs will crawl into the beer and drown.

Cut off the flower stalks with the shears in late summer after the blooms fade. Leave the foliage undisturbed until after the first killing frost. When the foliage withers and yellows, cut it back to soil level and discard.

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