Last year, you may recall, I had hosta that could have had a starring role in 'Little Shop of Horrors'. Some grew to over 5' in diameter with leaves up to 18" long. Many of you emailed asking ... how do I grow those hosta? And those of you that talked to Marsha may recall her humor that the leaves from the floral displays in the store could also be used as umbrellas. Below is what I believe is the success to growing large, healthy hosta.
- Dappled Shade. Yes, the plant tags say hosta are shade lovers and they are. However, in deep shade they do not perform as well as they do in dappled shade (filtered sunlight from high top trees or 2-3 hours or morning sun). The sun helps the plant produce energy. However, too much sun and they will burn up!
- Spring fertilization. In early spring the hosta get a dose of organic fertilizer high in nitrogen. Nitrogen is used by the plants for leaf growth. This kicks off the early growing cycle for leaf production.
- Mulch, Mulch, Mulch! Every spring after the garden beds have been fertilized, they are mulched with compost. I use mushroom compost. Mulch conserves water and feeds the soil. In addition, mushroom compost feeds the worms, which in turn feed and aerate the soil. Hostas (and many other plants) thrive in healthy soil.
- Water. Hosta can be thirsty plants and perform best when they have adequate water. Don't let them dry out.
- Fall fertilization. In early fall the hosta get a dose of organic fertilizer high in Potassium. Potassium is used to improve plant stength and I believe it helps the plant survive winter weather better.