With 2022 recording the hottest day ever in the UK since records began, at 40.3 degrees Celsius, it is important to know how to manage your hostas during such heat to keep them looking at their best.
Here on the nursery, we have thousands of plants and keeping them all looking in peak condition during 40 degree heat is nearly impossible. In a garden with a smaller selection of plants, there are certain things you can do that will give you a chance of keeping them happy.
It may be an obvious one, but ensuring your hostas are well watered during extreme heat is vital. We would recommend that you check them twice a day especially if they are in pots or in poor soil in the ground. The time of day that you water is also important, watering very early in the morning or later in the evening is best to avoid scorching on the leaves. If you can, water directly into the base of the plants and avoid wetting the leaves.
If you have a lot of hostas and watering on a daily basis is something that may be a struggle, you may want to consider installing an irrigation system. For hostas in the ground soaker hose works well and for hostas in pots, drip irrigation is best. You may also want to add a layer of mulch over the base of the plants to help retain moisture.
After water, shade is the most important thing for hostas when there is extreme heat. Hostas are generally good at tolerating hot temperature, but will not like the full heat of the suns rays.
If your hostas are not in a very shady place when hot whether is forecast, you may want to consider either moving them or making that area more shady. Hostas in smaller pots are easily movable to a shady spot, even temporarily. Larger hostas or hostas in the ground may need some help if they are going to stay where they are. Erecting shade netting or an umbrella/parasol can really help avoid the leaves burning and becoming unsightly.
What to do after the heat
So, you've found this article a bit late and your plants have already burnt or dried out in the heat. Firstly, leaves that look unsightly will not magically rejuvenate so it is best to cut your loses and remove them. By removing damaged or unsightly leaves, you open space for new growth to come through. Some plants in pots will benefit from being lifted and repotting in fresh soil. If your plant has dried out because the pot is not holding enough moisture you may want to repot into a larger pot.
Be patient and keep them damp but not overly wet, it is natural for us to try and over compensate when they have dried out by watering them more than they need, but this can present problems of its own. It may well be that they do not come back nicely that same season, in which case you will have to wait until the following Spring before they do.