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How to Plant Bare Root Hosta

With their countless variations in color, texture, and size, hostas have become a favorite of landscapers and home gardeners. Hostas will brighten up a semi-shady area, and will require very little attention once they're established. Although hostas are often purchased in containers, bare root hostas are just as easy to plant, and are usually less expensive. Plant hostas in early spring as soon as the ground can be worked, or in autumn after the hot weather has passed, at least six weeks before the first frost of the season.

Choose a site to plant the hosta. Hosta will do well in well-drained soil, with at least four hours of dappled or filtered sunlight every day. Work the soil to a depth of at least 10 to 112 inches, and add 6 inches of organic matter such as peat moss, compost or well-rotted manure into the top of the soil, working it in with a rake or garden fork.

Fill a large bucket or basin with lukewarm water. and soak the hosta's roots for 3 to 4 hours. A well-hydrated root system will prevent shock to the plant during planting.

Dig a hole at least a foot deep. Look at the hosta's label or planting instructions to determine the plant's expected size at maturity, and make the hole at least double the width.

Make a small hill in the bottom of the hole, and plant the hosta with its roots spread out evenly over the hill. If the roots are bent or folded, widen the hole.

Add the reserved soil, and water the hosta deeply. It may be necessary to add additional soil if the ground settles after watering.

Mulch around the hosta with thin layer of organic material such as bark chips or pine needles, but leave a margin so the mulch doesn't pile up against the hosta. The mulch will collect heat and moisture, and can cause the hosta to mildew.

Make sure the hosta gets at least an inch of moisture every week, from rain or watering. Water the hosta early in the day. Stop watering the hosta in late autumn, because the hosta will winter better if it's somewhat dry.

Fertilize hostas every six weeks during the summer, using a well-balanced all-purpose garden fertilizer. Use a granular fertilizer and scatter it around the plant, but don't allow it to come in contact with the hosta's leaves. Stop fertilizing for the winter in early August so it wont' go into the winter months with new, tender growth.

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