Home » Garden » Hosta Plant Care: Essential Tips for Keeping Your Hostas Happy and Healthy

Hosta Plant Care: Essential Tips for Keeping Your Hostas Happy and Healthy

Looking for an easy-care plant that flowers in the shade? Hostas are a beautiful addition to any garden. With their stunning foliage, adaptability to different garden conditions, low-maintenance nature, and long growing season, hostas can be a rewarding plant to grow. Learn everything you need to know about hosta plant care to keep them happy and healthy with these essential tips.

I love hostas for their continual color throughout the growing season, the texture and dimension the foliage adds to garden beds, and you can get lots of free plants from one plantain lily.

While my love for hostas is strong, I hadn’t grown many of them until moving to our new home because we had mostly full sun around the entire property.

But now?

We’ve got lots of gardens with shade and there are SO MANY hostas here with gorgeous foliage.

I was so impressed with the grace and beauty of each plant. From larger hostas to smaller varieties, they seem to thrive here and it was like Christmas morning for the gardener with each new plant I discovered during our first year living here.

We even have hostas growing in the pool garden around the roses. This struck me as odd because hostas prefer shadier spots, but they didn’t do as badly as I thought they would.

I’d like to move them at some point but haven’t gotten around to it just yet. Instead, I’ve been dividing them to grow more hostas around the property that lack plantings.

Are you growing hostas too? If not you should add a few to your garden this year.

Here’s what you need to know to grow these hassle-free perennial plants.

(Posts on stacyling.com may contain affiliate links. Click HERE for full disclosure.)

preorder my book the bricks 'n blooms guide to a beautiful and easy care flower garden
close up of creme caramel coreopsis

About the Hosta Plant

Hostas (plantain lily) are a popular perennial plant, known for their striking foliage and ability to thrive in shady areas.

Hardy in zones 3-9, they range in size from small to giant hostas. Plantain lilies bloom in summer and are an asset to any perennial garden.

Here is some information on how to grow and care for hostas, types of hostas, when to plant hostas, whether they are deer-resistant, when to cut back hostas, whether they attract pollinators, and how to protect them from deer damage.

close up of hosta plant

Where Do Hosta Plants Grow Best?

Hostas are shade-loving plants that are native to wooded areas in East Asia where their natural habitat consists of moist, fertile soils with filtered or dappled sunlight.

Plantain lilies are easy to grow and require very little from gardeners to thrive. Here’s what you need to know.

  • Plant in shade or partial shade as direct sunlight can scorch their leaves. Filtered or dappled sunlight, such as under trees or near tall shrubs, is ideal for most hosta varieties.
  • Plant in moist, well-draining soils that are rich in organic matter. The hosta plant prefers slightly acidic to neutral soil pH (around 6.5 to 7.5).
  • They make great underplantings for tree canopies and woodland gardens.
  • Give them room to grow as hosta plants grow into large clumps over time. Avoid overcrowding hostas and provide sufficient spacing according to the specific variety’s mature size so they get good air circulation between plants.
shade garden with several different hosta varieties, astilbes and large rock

5 Reasons You Should Grow Hosta Plants

There are several compelling reasons why you should consider growing hostas in your garden:

  • Beautiful Foliage: Hostas are renowned for their stunning foliage, which comes in a wide range of colors, textures, and patterns. From lush greens to variegated leaves with streaks of white, yellow, or blue, hostas can add visual interest and create a lush, luxurious look in your garden. They can serve as excellent focal points or provide a contrasting backdrop for other plants.
  • Flowers in Shade: The hosta plant produces beautiful tubular flowers in summer that attract pollinators. To me, they are the best full-shade flowers.
  • Low Maintenance: Hosta plants are easy-care, low-maintenance plants making them ideal for both experienced and novice gardeners. They are hardy perennials that can come back year after year with minimal effort.
  • Attracts Pollinators: While the beautiful foliage can provide valuable habitat for wildlife in your garden, hosta plants also attract beneficial insects such as bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies.
  • Long Growing Season: The hosta plant has a long growing season providing you with several months of beautiful foliage in your garden from spring through fall. In addition to the gorgeous foliage, hostas also flower in summer adding even more color and interest to beds and borders.
shade garden with hosta plant, rock and green fence in the backyard

Hosta Plant Care Tips

Keep in mind that most hostas prefer well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter in shadier locations. While hosta plants can tolerate some morning sun, too much direct sun can scorch their leaves.

In terms of caring for hostas, they require regular watering, especially during dry periods. However, once they are well established can handle drier conditions.

They do not require fertilizing to thrive. Instead, focus on providing them with good-quality soil conditions. You can amend the soil yearly with good-quality compost, leaf mold, and mulch.

Slugs can be a problem for hostas but they are easy to remedy. I use an organic slug bait like this to keep them at bay.

Hosta plant garden with different varieties of hostas, joe pye weed and wood picket fence panel ingarden nj shade garden

Types of Hostas

There are thousands of varieties of hostas, each with unique leaf shapes, colors, and sizes. When selecting hosta varieties, consider factors such as the mature size, foliage color, texture, and flower characteristics to suit your gardening needs and aesthetic preferences.

Here are some of my favorite popular hosta varieties:

  • ‘Sum and Substance’
  • ‘Frances Williams’
  • ‘June’
  • ‘Patriot’
  • ‘Guacamole’
  • ‘Halcyon’
  • ‘Stained Glass’
  • ‘First Frost’
  • ‘Empress Wu’
  • ‘Hadspen Blue’
  • Proven Winners ‘Shadowland Diamond Lake’
  • Proven Winners ‘Shadowland Echo the Sun’
  • Proven Winners ‘Shadowland Voices in the Wind’
  • Proven Winners ‘Shadowland Wheee!’
front pond garden with hosta plants and impatiens flowers

When to Plant Hostas

The best time to plant hostas depends on your specific climate and growing conditions. In general, hostas are typically planted in the spring or fall when the weather is cooler and the soil is moist and workable.

Plant hostas in the spring, when the soil has thawed and the ground can be worked. It’s easiest to plant in early spring when the plant is still dormant because they are easier to establish.

You can plant hostas in fall up until the ground freezes. However, it’s best to get them in the ground weeks before so they have time to establish before the ground freezes.

Because I wait for nursery stock to go on sale in the fall, I have waited until late October and even early November to plant hostas and other perennials.

It’s important to note that hostas are not typically planted during the hottest part of the summer, as the stress of high temperatures and intense sunlight can be detrimental to their establishment. While planting hostas can be done during the summer, it’s easier to plant them in spring or fall.

close up of hostas in the garden

Deer Resistance of Hosta Plants

While some hosta varieties are more deer-resistant than others, they are generally a smorgasbord for deer. Deer damage is a drawback to growing hostas plants if you live in areas that have a heavy deer population.

But the good news is, you can still grow hostas. However, these full shade flowers and foliage will need protection from deer.

Protecting Hostas from Deer Damage

To protect hostas from deer damage, there are several methods you can try. One option is to install a physical barrier around the plant, such as a fence or netting.

Another option is to use deer-resistant plants to create a border around the hostas.

But you can also try using natural deer repellents. Lately, I have been using Plantskyyd deer repellent and LOVE IT because it is not only topical but also gets taken in by the plant.

For several years, I was using Deer Out and that works really well too. But you can also try using this granular called Deer Scram as a barrier to plants and full borders. I discussed how to use both of these simultaneously for extra protection from deer in this post.

The key to using repellents is to start spraying them as soon as they emerge from the ground. Deer need to know early on the plant is not palatable so they choose a different path.

I spray my hostas the moment they emerge from the ground, and then a few more times as they grow until they reach their mature size. After that, it’s more maintenance spraying depending on the product.

Since Plantskyyd is systemic, that spray schedule will be less than Deer Out. Try to find the best repellent situation that works for you and your schedule. But both of these options have worked very well for me.

hosta flowers in front of green fence

Preventing Slug Damage on a Hosta Plant

Slug damage can be a common problem for hostas, as these plants are known to be a favorite food for slugs.

Fortunately, there are several ways to protect your hostas from these critters putting holes in that gorgeous foliage.

  • Handpicking: This is a simple but effective method of removing slugs from your hostas. Go out at night with a flashlight and pick off any slugs you find. You can dispose of them in a bucket of soapy water.
  • Copper barriers: Copper is toxic to slugs, so you can create a barrier around your hostas using copper tape or wire. This will prevent the slugs from crawling over and reaching your plants.
  • Mulching around your hostas with materials like crushed eggshells, diatomaceous earth, or coffee grounds can help deter slugs. These materials are abrasive to slugs and can also absorb moisture, making the environment less hospitable for them.
  • Encouraging natural predators like birds, toads, and hedgehogs to frequent your garden can help control slug populations. You can provide a habitat for these creatures by creating a small pond or installing birdhouses and feeding stations.
  • Try using slug bait. There are lots of organic ones available.

Remember to regularly inspect your hostas and take action as soon as you spot any signs of slug damage to prevent it from becoming a bigger problem.

Flowering hostas, monarda and joe pye weed flowers -Shade Garden in the back border

Cutting Back Hostas

Hostas can be cut back in the fall after the first frost or in the spring before new growth appears.

To cut back hostas, remove any yellowing or dead foliage and cut the remaining leaves down to a few inches above the ground.

As an aside, it’s better to keep the gardens intact until spring. Pollinators may have laid eggs on the foliage, which offers protection for some wildlife, provides winter interest, and when left in garden the garden helps feed the good microbes in the soil.

What happens if you don’t cut hostas back?

If you don’t cut back hostas plants, they will continue to grow and mature naturally. They are really tough and resilient plants that won’t get offended if don’t cut them back.

I actually love the look of them as they die back in fall because they add pretty autumnal color to the gardens as they go into dormancy.


Hostas attract pollinators such as bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies when they bloom.

I know several home gardeners who don’t love the flowers and cut them back but leave them alone as pollinators love them

bright purple tubular flowers on hostas

Do Hostas Grow Back Every Year?

Yes, hostas are perennial plants, which means they come back year after year when provided with suitable growing conditions.

Hostas plants are known for their lush foliage and are commonly grown for their attractive leaves. While the leaves may die back during the winter months, hostas typically go dormant and then re-emerge in the spring, producing new leaves from their underground rhizomes.

These full shade flowers are hardy perennials that can survive winter temperatures in many regions, depending on the specific variety and climate.

Hostas are known for their long lifespan, and with proper care and maintenance, they can persist and thrive in the same location for many years. I planted hostas when we first moved to our family home over 23 years ago and they still thrive today!

Different hosta varieties, joe pye weed, butterfly bush and monarda in zone 6a garden - Hostas need the Best Deer Repellent to protect them

Can Hostas Take Full Sun?

In general, plantain lilies are shade-loving plants by nature and are typically best suited for partial to full shade conditions. However, some hosta varieties can tolerate a little more sun depending on the specific climate, location, and variety. So you’ll need to do some research before planting.

Some believe that hostas with lighter-colored or variegated leaves, as well as those with thicker foliage, tend to be more sun-tolerant compared to those with darker green leaves and thinner foliage. Additionally, hostas that are grown in cooler climates or regions with mild summers may be able tolerate more sun than those in hot and sunny regions.

I don’t recommend planting them in full sun, particularly where the afternoon sun in the summer can scorch the foliage. But it’s your garden, so feel free to experiment to learn your microclimate. If they don’t do well, you can always dig them up and relocate them.

If you choose to plant in full sun or partial sun, aim for the morning sun as it’s generally milder and provides them with adequate moisture. But mulch well around hostas to help retain moisture and regulate soil temperature.

After planting in sun, keep an eye on your hostas for signs of stress. If you notice wilting or leaf burn, it would be a good idea to relocate them to a shadier location if you want them to thrive.

hostas, ajuga, and container garden with pansies

How to Split a Hosta Plant

The best method to propagate is to split hostas. It’s very easy to do, helps improve overall plant health, and can grow your garden in under an hour.

Follow these steps to divide hostas:

  • Choose a cool, overcast day to divide hostas. This will help prevent the roots from drying out. The easiest way to do this is after lots of rain because the ground will be easier to dig and the plant will have been watered well making the process a little easier for you.
  • Dig up the entire root clump with a spade shovel, being careful not to damage the roots. It’s easier to go around the perimeter of the plant first, and then slice through to create sections so you can remove a hosta clump with ease. Oftentimes I like to use a garden fork after the spade to help gently lift the large clump out of the ground.
  • Gently shake off the excess soil from the roots, and then use a clean garden knife or sharp spade to divide the plant into smaller clumps. I don’t use a sharp knife for this, but I know some gardeners that do.
  • Each clump should have several healthy new shoots and a good root system.
  • Replant the smaller sections in their new home at the same depth they were originally growing, and water them thoroughly.
  • Mulch around the base of the plants to help retain moisture.
  • And give them lots of water after transplanting. They need it!

The best time of year to divide hostas is in the early spring, just as new growth begins to emerge. This will give the plants time to establish themselves before the heat of summer arrives.

But hostas can also be divided just as easily in the fall. As long as the ground can be worked, you can divide them. Just be sure to do it before the ground freezes so the plant has time to establish itself before winter.

As an aside, an ideal time to divide hostas is after and before a good rain is expected. The plants are easier to divide and lift out of the ground. Plus, the new divisions will take and establish easier with little to no work from you.

Divide hostas regularly, so you can keep the plants healthy and vigorous, and create new plants to share with friends and family.

view of hosta in front yard garden with buckeye tree ajuga vinca in spring garden

Can Hostas Be Grown in Containers?

Yes! I love the look of hostas in containers. They look really pretty and graceful as the foliage spills over the edges of the pot.

A word of advice though about growing them in containers. If you want to grow them for more than a year or two, you’ll need to either plant them in the ground or repot them with fresh potting soil.

And if you choose the latter, gently remove as much soil off the roots as you can and then repot in fresh potting soil. You can either repot in the same container or go one size up.

To successfully overwinter hostas in containers where winters are cold, choose varieties that are two times your hardiness zone.

close up of hostas and other perennials in June zone 6a garden in new jersey
cloes up of hostas in the shade garden

More About Hostas

Do you have a favorite hosta variety you love to grow? I would love to know more in the comments below.

And don’t miss joining my Gardening DIY and Decorating Community on Facebook for more chatter. And follow along there and on Instagram as well. There are behind-the-scenes daily things that I share on Instagram that don’t make it to the blog. Would love to see you there too!

If you prefer to binge-watch Bricks ’n Blooms on TV, we go more in-depth with tours and posts on my YouTube channel. Would love to hang out with you there!

And… If you’re catching up on blog posts you may have missed, be sure to sign-up to get my newest posts via email to stay up to date with everything that’s happening here on the blog and more.

hostas and impatiens in the front pond garden

Want to Learn How to Grow Flowers With Ease?

If you’ve always wanted to grow flowers with ease, I got you. I wrote a book that shares all the things you need to know to grow a beautiful and easy-care flower garden.

What’s In the Bricks ‘n Blooms Guide?

  • Gardening basics to set you up for success
  • Great garden design ideas with ready-made plans for you to follow
  • Easy-care instructions for a wide variety of flowering annuals, perennials, and shrubs
  • Helpful how-tos for container and cut flower gardening
  • Graphs, charts, and lists to help you stay organized

My book publishes on February 6, 2024, but you can preorder now and get a special pre-order bonus chapter you can’t get when the preorder period closes.

Preorder your copy here and get a free, downloadable guide that shares bonus information with tips and unique garden designs to get year-round color in your landscape. Offer ends 2/5/24.

preorder my book the bricks 'n blooms guide to a beautiful and easy care flower garden

Garden Supplies I Use

I’m often asked about the garden supplies and tools that I use most. From pruners to deer repellents, here are some of my favorites in no particular order.

close up of creme caramel coreopsis
Click here to shop my vintage farmhouse with close up of the front porch with flowers

Sign Me Up!

Sign up for my free newsletter to get blog posts, seasonal tips, recipes, and more delivered straight to your inbox!

Plus, get free VIP access to my Resource Library where you’ll find insider freebies not readily available to the public.

close up of hostas
close up of pretzel chip with hot artichoke dip with spinach

Warning: This Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip is So Addictive That You May Never Want to Share

Craving a dip that’s creamy, cheesy, and oh-so-addictive? This hot spinach artichoke dip is the perfect party appetizer or game-day snack. One of my favorite appetizers to make is hot spinach artichoke dip. Have you had it before? For years, I played around with a bunch of different recipes until I settled on my own…
Read More Warning: This Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip is So Addictive That You May Never Want to Share
front porch Christmas Decor with red roses

Bricks ‘n Blooms Weekly 159

Hi there! I hope you had a great week and a wonderful Thanksgiving! Random Things Happening Behind the Scenes at Bricks ‘n Blooms What a week it was! My girls came home for Thanksgiving weekend and our entire family celebrated Thanksgiving here in our home. It was so nice having everyone under one roof and…
Read More Bricks ‘n Blooms Weekly 159
close up of charcuterie board with raspberries, oranges, manchego, brie and backberries with crackers on bistro table.

Unforgettable Christmas Party Food: Recipes for a Festive Feast

Create an unforgettable Christmas feast with these mouthwatering recipes! From classic favorites to new twists on tradition, this collection has something for everyone. With easy-to-follow instructions and stunning visuals, you’ll be whipping up culinary masterpieces in no time. Get ready to impress your guests with unforgettable Christmas party food that will be the talk of…
Read More Unforgettable Christmas Party Food: Recipes for a Festive Feast
Rustic farmhouse Christmas Decorating in the Living Room with roaring fire, tv over fireplace, mantel decorated for the holidays with faux greens and white christmas stockings, and poinsettias with mini trees and fairy lights

5 Rustic Farmhouse Christmas Decorating to Make Your Home Extra Cozy

Create a warm and inviting atmosphere with these rustic farmhouse Christmas decorating ideas. Embrace natural materials, neutral colors, and winter greenery for a cozy and inviting home. The rustic farmhouse aesthetic is all about creating a relaxed, warm and inviting atmosphere, and that’s exactly what you want for your home during the Christmas holidays. Am…
Read More 5 Rustic Farmhouse Christmas Decorating to Make Your Home Extra Cozy

Thank you so much for following along.

Enjoy a beautiful day! xo

Stacy Ling

About Me

Want to learn more about me?

I’m a master gardener who’s been gardening and growing things for over 25 years. With a deep passion for gardening, I enjoy helping others find their inner green thumb with all things plants and flowers, as well as find ways to bring the outdoors inside their homes too.

Get the inside scoop about my background as a master gardener, education, and experience, as well as why I started blogging.

stacy ling cutting dahlias in her garden

Let’s Connect!

If you like this post, please follow me @bricksnblooms on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. Subscribe to my YouTube Channel. Or join my Facebook Group.

Home and Garden Blogger Stacy Ling cutting zinnia flowers in her cottage garden with wood picket fence in front of garden shed
close up of hostas in the garden

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. These are such great tips, Stacy! We’re sharing them with our subscribers on Simply Stated this week. Happy Spring!