If you are looking for the best way to grow the largest hostas in the neighborhood you have come to the right place! The other day I was taking a walk through one of our gardens and noticed that the hostas were just beginning to come out of the ground. This is an exciting time because every year the hostas here get bigger and bigger! Some of our giant hostas have leaves that are 2 feet across and more!
As hostas mature, they get larger and larger as long as they have ideal growing conditions. A hosta matures in about 5 years and what a glorious sight! If you see a hosta that is huge, it's most likely over 4 years old. With each year, the root system has a chance to really grab and work its way into the soil and that foundation creates the huge leaves that hostas are known for. Here’s how to get your hostas gigantic year after year.
1. Plant The Largest Hosta Varieties
Hostas come in many sizes so if you are going for the plants that give you the massive leaves you are craving, you need to plant the species that are known for their large leaves and quicker growth rates. There are over 70 species of hostas and thousands of varieties to choose from so this can be a challenging task. Check with your local nursery to see what types they carry first because greenhouses and nurseries will carry the best varieties based on your growing location. You can also order giant varieties online from many growers. Some even sell their large hosta plants here on Amazon.
2. Plant The Hosta In The Right Place
Hostas grow best when they have morning sun and afternoon shade. Hostas like lots of light but not direct sunlight on their leaves. Speckled light is best. So the best place to grow a huge hosta is somewhere in your garden that has trees and shrub cover that will keep your hosta in and out of the sunlight throughout the whole day. It's also preferred to have minimal sunlight during the later part of the day if possible.
When choosing a site to grow giant hostas be sure to think into the future about how big they will get. Make sure you leave enough room so that they aren’t too crowded in by a tree or shrub. The root systems need space too so keep that in mind when you are planting. Your hostas need good air flow to grow large healthy leaves.
The lighter the shade of the hosta plant, the more sun it can tolerate. Dark leafy hostas will do better with speckled light. Not many varieties can handle direct sunlight all day long.
3. Hostas Need Ideal Water Conditions
Your hosta will need plenty of water. People that grow huge hostas have one thing in common. They have a good water supply to keep large leafy hostas growing all season long. Especially during the hottest months of the summer. Hostas thrive naturally in damp areas in Asia, so you have to try to mimic it’s natural habitat as best as you can. So planting on a slope where natural rainwater will drain into the hosta or planting them near a rain gutter by the house is a great place to start. Year after year you should start to see some significant leaf growth when planting your hostas in the right places in your yard or garden areas.
This doesn’t mean flooding your hostas! Just make sure they have a moist environment especially through the hot summer months of July and August. A good rule of thumb to grow giant hostas is that they need at least 1-2 inches of water every week. Be diligent because if they lack the right amount of moisture and water, they will show stress and start to shrink while the plant starts to put all of the energy into keeping it's root system healthy. If you are on water restrictions during the summer months, you might want to invest in a rainwater collector. There are many different sizes to choose from here on Amazon.
4. Know What The Best Soil Is For Hostas
You can't just haphazardly throw plants into a garden area and expect the best results. And that is especially true for hosta plants. To grow giant hostas you will need to start with good soil. Fluffy, deep, and rich soil full of nutrients will determine how large your hosta will be. The better the soil, the healthier the root system and plant will be. Hostas have lots of delicate little feeder roots that spread out so they do not like hard, compact soil. I would consider at least 12 inches deep of enriched soil for your hosta plants but even more is ideal. You can start by digging a hole about 1 foot deep by 1 foot wide and filling it with a layer of compost, then newspaper, then organic soil, then compost again. Plant your hosta and then mulch around it to keep the moisture in.
Hostas need organic compost to thrive. You can give them a boost of compost at the end of the season and then again just as they are coming back up in the spring. You can make your own compost very easily throughout the year with an under the sink composter. Mix the compost into the existing soil carefully so that you are not disturbing the roots.
I like this composter because when it's full I can take it right to the garden.
What type of soil is best for growing large hostas?
PH testing will tell how you how much acidity is in your soil. Hostas grow the best when the soil ph level is at 5.8-6.5. If you have high acidity, you can add more organic matter to your soil to get those levels down. On the other hand, if your acidity levels are too low, you can add lime. Follow the manufacturer's directions because there are different concentrations of lime. Try to get dolomite lime if possible because it has both calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate.
For you to know exactly what type of soil you have, you will need to test it. This is the PH soil tester that we use. It's the Sonkir Soil Meter. I like it because it can test for PH levels, moisture and sunlight all at once.
Also, check your EC levels on a regular basis. An EC level is the measure of total dissolved salts in a solution. This influences a plants ability to absorb water. So monitoring the salinity will help keep you more educated and knowledgeable about what your hosta plant needs. A hosta EC level should be at 1.5-2.5. If your EC levels are too high, you can add more water to get the levels down and if you need a higher EC level, add more fertilizer until you see the numbers at optimal levels. There are many EC testers to choose from here on Amazon.
5. Hostas Need Moist Soil
Mulching around the hosta and allowing the mulch to rot year after year will help keep your hostas soil in good condition and also keep it moist underneath the mulch. Hosta plants love this so much. I keep my hosta plants moist with mulch that I get delivered from the tree care companies in my area. Check with your local garden center or greenhouse. Grass clippings are a great mulch too.
6. Fertilize Your Hosta Plants
Hostas really get huge when given a liquid fertilizer at 50-100 ppm nitrogen. Check your local greenhouse for the best one to use for your location. If you can’t be there to feed your hostas throughout the growing season or need to give them a boost, then you can feed them a slow release fertilizer vitamin boost. These all-purpose EarthPods help stimulate root growth and enhance leaf color and all you have to do is push them into the soil near the center stem and then water as usual. I feed my hosta plants when they are just starting to emerge in the spring and then again in 4 weeks and then I give them one final boost right in mid-August. That seems to work best.
6. Bring In Worms For Your Soil
Worms are the best little garden helpers! You can encourage worms by digging some holes here and there and burying compostable material throughout your garden. Worms love newspaper and other garden waste. You know you have really great soil if you can see worms. Your hosta plants thrive in soil that has a healthy worm population.
7. Egg Shells Help With Garden Pests
Eggshells help create a natural barrier between the hostas and garden pests like slugs and snails. Whenever I'm in the garden I have a bucket of eggshells with me. I sprinkle them underneath the plants to create a barrier and that helps keep slugs and snails away from the hosta plants. They don't like to travel over the sharp eggshells! I love this trick and I've never had to use any sprays on the hosta plants here. Give that a try and let us know if that helps with your slug problems.
8. Don’t Divide Your Hosta Plants
If you want to grow seriously large hosta plants then don't divide them. Hostas do not normally need to be divided, especially if you are going for huge leaves. Dividing Your hostas will have the opposite effect so just leave them be and let them mature over the years.
It takes years for a hosta to grow truly huge! So keep it healthy and as the years go on, you will be rewarded with the biggest hostas on the block!
Here is a book you might be interested in reading about growing hostas if you have an Amazon Kindle.
Thanks for reading and we wish you the very best in growing giant hostas this year! If you found this article helpful please Pin it.