Hosta Myths

Hosta Myths

With hostas becoming increasingly more popular, there are more sources circulating information that isn't strictly true. Here are some myths that we wanted to clear up.

Hostas only grow in the shade

The truth is that hostas don't love full shade, yes they will grow and tolerate it but the perfect conditions for them is actually dappled shade. A good level of sunlight will help with growth and colouration. Some hostas will grow better than others in full shade such as blue varieties, the low light level allows them to hold their blue bloom for longer into the season. 

Some varieties actually benefit from some sun to look their best, many yellow varieties look pale green unless they are given a good amount of sunshine. Varieties like 'Sun Power' and 'Sum and Substance' actually look their best when they get a good amount of sun.

Hosta 'Sun Power'
(Hosta 'Sun Power')

You have to divide your hostas every year

Although it is true that occasionally dividing your hostas can really benefit their health, dividing yearly is not necessarily a good idea. This is really dependent on the variety, vigorous hostas like 'Blue Cadet' can be repeatedly split with little in the way of negative effects but many varieties actually benefit from a year or two or being left alone to grow. 

We have hostas planted in large pots on the nursery that haven't been split for over 20 years and although they are probably due to be divided they are looking happy and healthy.

The other thing to consider is, are you happy with your hosta? If you are then why mess with it? If it's looking unhappy or drained of colour and needs a bit of a lift, then by all means go ahead and cut away.

Hostas like wet or boggy conditions

We think this one goes hand in hand with the myth about hostas love shade. For some reason a lot of people think that very wet ground is ideal for hostas and this couldn't be further from the truth. In reality, hostas are like most herbaceous perennials and like moist but well drained soil. Hostas don't like the extremes, very wet or very dry conditions will not produce good hostas.

We would say that the easiest way to kill a hosta (especially a young one) is to plant it in wet boggy conditions. Heavy clay soil should be avoided or very well prepared in order to grow hostas successfully. If your garden is particularly wet then the easiest option is usually to stick with growing in pots.


1 Response

Sue Rudland
Sue Rudland

July 07, 2023

Well goodness me! I shall now view and look after my hostas differently and such a relief to know I don’t have to keep dividing! But I do have to dispose of a sick looking Sienna Dragon Warrior that has succumbed ( I now know) to a fungal infection ☹️. I’ve never had any die or get sick before so this information has been most useful. Thank you

Congratulations on your third Chelsea Gold

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