There's a reason why everyone loves hostas: The leafy perennials thrive in both sun and shade, are easy to care for, and come in an infinite array of shapes, sizes, colors and textures—several of which can be seen in the front garden beds at Miescisko contributor and stylist Eddie Ross's house, Edgewood Hall. We paid a visit to his suburban Pennsylvania home to meet his go-to person for all things garden, Nathan Tuno of Roots Landscape, and find out what you need to know about hostas, from selecting the right variety to planting them and how to properly care for them.
Where Do Hostas Grow Best?
They're perfect for shady yards, Nathan said. While they need some sunlight (hey, a plant's gotta eat!), partial shade is perfect for most varieties. You know they're getting too much sunlight if the leaves start looking burned on the edges.
Beware: If you live in a wooded area where deer are known to roam, expect to find them munching on the leaves. "This is like an all-you-can-eat salad buffet for deer," Eddie said, as he held up a First Frost variety. You can buy granules or deer spray that keeps deer away, Nathan added, though you have to stay on it continually to ensure Bambi doesn't destroy your babies.
How Do I Plant Hostas?
Read the label first. That may seem basic, but it's often overlooked. "Look for spacing—how big it will grow," Nathan said. If you know it'll be 24 inches tall, you may want to position it farther back in your garden, so it doesn't block smaller plants. (And you don't want it to crowd out others nearby.)
Step 1: Remove hosta from its planter. Easy enough, right?
Step 2: Break up the roots.
Step 3: Place hosta where you plan to plant it. Use a trowel to measure a circle in the earth that's roughly 1 1/2 times the size of the plant.
Step 4: Move hosta and start digging that hole.
Step 5: Gently pack in the soil around it. If you pack in the soil too forcefully, you can kill the plant.
How Much Water Do Hostas Need?
Really drench them with water for the first 2-3 weeks after they've been planted. (Nathan recommends using a drip irrigation system to ensure they get enough H2O.) The soil should stay moist, but not wet, according to The Old Farmer's Almanac.
How Do You Divide Hostas?
While it's not necessary to split or divide the plant, it is a great way to expand your garden without having to buy more hostas. "As they get bigger and fuller, you can divide them," Nathan said. "Toward the end of the season, you can take a shovel and literally go right through the plant, give it to your friends, or put it somewhere else in your garden."
What Do I Need to Take Care of Them?
Consider this your starter kit:
Check out the video above to see some of the most gorgeous varieties, learn when and how to prune them, and how to keep slugs, deer.
Follow Miescisko on Instagram.