When it comes to keeping hosta plants looking great from spring to fall, a few simple tips and tricks can go a long way towards success.
Hostas are one of the most popular shade-loving plants of all. Their lush, thick foliage fills flowerbeds with a color and texture like no other shade plant can do. As do their blooms!
From leaf colors ranging from sea-foam green to deep blue and all shades in between, the varieties are nearly endless. Especially when you add in the many variegated options as well.
But the issue for many home gardeners is how to keep their hosta plants looking great beyond spring. What unfurls from the ground as a beautiful mass of foliage often becomes an ugly decaying clump of yellow leaves by July.
But it truly doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, with just a bit of extra care, it really is possible to keep your hosta plants gorgeous right up until the first frost.
3 Big Keys To Keeping Hosta Plants Looking Great All Summer
#1 Locate Your Hostas For Success
When it comes to successfully growing hostas – it all starts with location!
Before anything else, make sure your hosta plants are located in the best space for success. Hostas are shade lovers, and although they can tolerate some sun, it is what type of sunlight they are receiving that matters most.
Hosta plants will perform best when they receive their sunlight in the morning or evening. Another words, avoid planting them in locations where they receive afternoon sun.
Mid-day sun is the hottest of all, and it places intense stress on plants. Especially plants that prefer the shade.
Many hosta plants that perform great in the spring fade quickly as the more intense heat and rays of the summer sun begins to hit in July and August – all because they were planted where afternoon sun hits.
#2 Remove Spent Blooms – Or All Of The Blooms!
The tall, wispy blooms of a hosta plant use up a lot of energy from the plant, and it can certainly keep plants from looking great by mid-summer. Especially when blooms are left on the plant too long.
Blooms and the stems of blooms need to be removed as soon as their flowers begin to fade. If left to wither on the plant, they steal valuable energy from the plant. Energy that is important for keeping the foliage strong and green.
By cutting the stem and spent flower back to the base as quickly as possible, the plant concentrates it energy back to simply growing and maintaining great foliage.
Many gardeners who value a hosta plant’s leaf structure more than the blooms never allow their plants to bloom at all.
Instead, they remove the bloom stems as soon as they appear. This allows the plant to concentrate all of its resources to growing out its leaf canopy.
#3 Fertilize Plants Spring And Summer
When it comes to fertilizing hosta plants for success, both spring, early summer and mid-summer applications are necessary to keep plants looking great.
Fertilizing hostas in the spring helps to develop strong foliage and power up resources for blooming. But early summer and mid-summer fertilizing is equally important, as it provides the needed energy for plants to keep their foliage strong and healthy.
For best results, use a balanced, all-purpose, slow release fertilizer with equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. (Product Link : Jobes Organics Perennial Fertilizer
Fertilize plants once in early spring, once in late-spring/early summer, and again in mid summer. Once late summer arrives, no fertilizer is needed to allow the plants to begin to prepare for winter.
A Few Final Tips
To keep plants in the best shape possible, divide every 3 to 4 years. (See : How & When To Divide Perennials) This keeps the root structure small enough to find adequate resources from the soil.
In addition, if your plants do happen to start looking super-shabby by mid-summer, it is more than okay to cut them back completely to the ground. This allows plenty of time for the plant to regenerate new leaves before fall.
And even better – it is far more attractive than a bed full of yellowing foliage!
Here is to keeping your hosta plants healthy, strong, and looking great all summer long! Happy Gardening – Jim and Mary.
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