You have no doubt heard of growing hostas in the ground and in pots, even hostas in hanging baskets. But did you know that you can actually Bonsai hostas?
Bonsai is a method of growing which simply translates from Japanese to 'planted in a container'. This method is often used with trees such as Japanese Maples, Conifers or Chinese Elm. Many normal plants grown in a bonsai style can be stunted and kept dwarfed. If planted in the ground, these trees would grow to their natural size.
So where do hostas come in? Well hostas have, for many years, been used as accent plants. Accent plants are plants added to displays of Bonsai trees to complement them but not to take anything away from the tree which is always the main focal point. Other accent plants that are commonly used include ferns, grasses and mosses. Hostas make particularly good accent plants for many reasons. Their sheer range of colours, shapes and textures give bonsai growers plenty of options when it comes to selecting the perfect varieties to complement their trees. Hostas are also native plants to many parts of China and Japan where the method of Bonsai originated.
Reducing leaf size on hosta’s is fairly easy. Start with a small division or young plug plant which can be potted straight into a small Bonsai pot. The plant does not need to be cut back or trimmed as it will dwarf naturally over time. In its first year the plant will root and start to fill the pot, at this stage when there is no room for roots to go the leaves will start to look visibly smaller and will not grow to a regular height.
It is important that Bonsai hostas are watered correctly as their roots will be compact and fill the small pot they're in. This doesn't allow for a lot of water retention and most will flow straight out. Keep an eye on the soil and only water when the roots start to look dry so you don't overwater.
Ben is a customer of ours who is an Amateur Bonsai Hobbyist and Miniature Hosta Collector. Here's what he has to say about Bonsai hostas
'I have been keeping Hostas for almost as long as Developing Bonsai and its grow from a few small miniauture varietys to well over 70. Each one in an individualy designed hand made pot. I love the way the different colours on the pots accentuate the colours in the hosta’s. The main draw to hosta’s for me are the seasonal changes and the relative ease in which the leaf size can be reduced and used as accents for my Bonai displays, But more than anything they look great displayed on a bench especially when in summer flower!'
You can follow Ben and see more of his amazing hostas and bonsai trees here.