With so many things in the garden to worry about when the frost comes, it is a relief to know that at least your hostas are fully hardy. Every year, garden enthusiasts gather their lavenders, acers and an array of other plants into the shelter of the greenhouse for the Winter and it can be a real chore. Others spend hours and hours fiddling around with expensive frost fleece to cover their non-hardy plants. This is not an issue with hostas, which makes them such a hassle free addition and one less thing to worry about.
Originating from Asia, hostas are no strangers to harsh conditions, first discovered growing wild in China, Korea and Japan where temperatures often fall well below 0°C in the Winter months.
Do I need to protect my hostas over Winter?
Yes and no. If your hostas are in the ground and are relatively developed then they will be absolutely fine left over Winter with little to no protection. Semi mature and mature hostas in pots will also be sturdy enough to go through a cold Winter unprotected.
If you have juvenile plants or you have taken small divisions from other hostas in the garden, it is sometimes wise to give them a little protection. In the ground your hostas have a better chance if the Winter is particular harsh, in pots however it is advisable to give your younger plants some protection.
How do I protect hostas in pots over Winter?
If you have young hostas in pots it is generally a good idea to protect them over Winter. Over a mild Winter it is very unlikely that any plants would die, although if it is particularly harsh you can be left with some casualties. There are several ways you can do this.
One of the easiest ways to protect young hostas over Winter is to put them in an unheated shed or garage in late Autumn. Simply moving plants up against the house will give them excellent protection from the worst of the rain and frost. Hostas need temperatures of below 5°C to enter their Winter dormancy. It is very important that your hostas get a full dormancy as this can effect their vigour the following season. In an unheated shed or garage they will be cold enough to go into their dormancy but are protected should there be a hard frost.
Alternatively you put your pots on their sides, this stops them filling with water and freezing. This will help prevent damage to both your hostas and your pots. You could also cover the tops of your pots with plastic or tarpaulin to stop snow and ice building up and melting into the plants.
Hostas are more likely to die from a wet Winter than a cold one. Ensuring good drainage is vital to avoid standing water that will cause hosta roots to rot.