Hosta - what kind of plant is it?
Hosta, or plantain lily is a popular outdoor plant which belongs to the Asparagaceae group of plants. In the natural conditions, this plant grows in Asia. It’s the most common in China and Japan. In these parts of the world, it looks a bit different from plants known elsewhere. But all hosta types and varieties are similar in terms of their general appearance.
Hosta has decorative leaves. Typically, they are intense green with white edges. But, depending on the variety, they differ between each other. Some gardeners cultivate very interesting types of plantain lilies which have the following colors:
The most popular types of hostas
Hosta is a plant of many varieties growing all over the world. As estimated, there are about 1000 types of plantain lilies. Of course, the majority of them grow in Asia, but many other hostas appear on other continents as well.
Specialists classify hostas mostly according to the color of their leaves. Each of such subgroups contains several most interesting varieties.
Hostas with a light border on the leaves include:
- Hosta ‘Golden Tiara’
- Hosta fortunei ‘Marginata alba’
- Hosta undulate ‘Albomarginata’
Popular yellow-leaved plantain lilies:
- Hosta ‘Piedmont Gold’
- Hosta ‘Sun Power’
- Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’
Hostas with unusual blue leaves are the following:
- Hosta seboldiana ‘Elegans’
- Hosta nigrescens ‘Pacific Blue Edger’
- Hosta seboldiana ‘Tall boy’
Note that in addition to the mentioned classifications, plantain lilies can be also divided according to their size. Varieties grown in gardens include small, medium, large and huge hostas. The smallest are no bigger than 40 cm. The largest can reach even over a meter.
What is the best place for a hosta to grow?
Although plantain lily has many varieties, most of them prefer similar, or even the same growing conditions. The best place for these plants is in half-shade. A hosta cannot be exposed to direct sunlight. Sun rays can reach it, but only if dispersed.
What is the best soil for a plantain lily?
Soil for hosta should be fertile - it performs best in such conditions. The soil should also be permeable and acidic - the pH level between 5.5 and 6.5. The moisture level is a crucial aspect. If the soil is too dry, the plant’s growth stops. The leaves might get dry. If it happens, the plant needs nourishing and regeneration.
How to plant hostas?
You can combine planting hostas with other gardening activities. The plant will grow equally well whether planted in spring or fall. Just make sure to prepare the soil. Do it by:
You can plant plantain lilies in such prepared soil - remember about keeping distance from other plants. In this case, a lot depends on the variety you picked. If it’s a small hosta, a 30-35 cm spacing is enough. If it’s a huge plantain lily, the distance of even 60-70 cm might be needed - so the plant has enough space to develop.
Mulching is an important step after planting a hosta. Thanks to it, the plant can retain the right soil moisture level, which leads to prompt development.
Hosta - basic plant care
Plantain lilies aren’t complicated when it comes to taking care of them. A drought is the biggest threat to it, so make sure to remember about frequent watering. A drip irrigation system is a good solution - it regularly distributes small doses of water directly into the root system of the plant. It’s important, as wetting leaves of a hosta might lead to many fungal diseases of this plant.
Do hostas need fertilizing?
Plantain lilies aren’t demanding as for fertilizing. It means that you can feed them from time to time - universal products are the best for this purpose, but don’t overdo it. An excess of nutrients is a much bigger threat to a hosta than a lack of some. Fertilizing once every few months is just enough.
Plantain lilies - winter care
Most types of hostas are frost-resistant, which means they can endure low temperatures or freezing ground. It also means they don’t need any special treatment and can spend winter in the ground. Young hostas are the only exception - we recommend securing them before winter using e.g. agrotextile.
The matter is a bit different if you have potted plantain lilies on the patio or in the garden. They are more delicate. Because of this, you can keep them indoors in winter, e.g. in a utility room. If you have no such possibility - dig the plant in the ground along with the pot and secure it.
Hosta - diseases and pests
Hostas are prone to fungal diseases such as gray mold. It can appear on the leaves and stems if they are wetted during watering, with high temperatures outside. What to do if it happens? Act quickly - chemical products are the most effective.
Other dangers that might threaten hostas are:
Experts recommend to spray plantain lilies as a preventive measure. Thanks to it, you can protect the plant from various dangers.
📍 When to plant hostas?
Hostas can be planted both in spring and fall. You can sow them, but buying seedlings and planting them in the garden is a good option as well. It's ideal for beginner gardeners.
📍 What is the best soil for plantain lilies?
Hostas need very fertile and acidic soil. It should be moist all the time. You don't have to worry about fertilizing the plant. Just prepare the soil before planting.
📍 When do hostas sprout?
Hostas typically sprout in late spring. A lot depends on the soil and the weather conditions. Certain varieties might sprout in different months.
📍 When to transplant plantain lilies?
Fall is the best time for transplanting hostas. If you missed the date - wait until spring. When the hosta develops new leaves, you can replant it.