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Planting and growing hostas in pots or containers
Last Updated on January 21, 2020 by John
Hostas are well known for their foliage. They live a long time if you care for them properly and are very easy to maintain. You can choose from a range of plants in terms of leaf shape, size, and colour. However, you should realistically search for those varieties which do best in pots, and which thrive in the level of sunlight you can provide but most prefer a more shady spot in the garden and not full sun. If you need miniature varieties to grow in smaller containers, you can choose from our favourite varieties such as Pandora’s box or blue Mouse ears which are two varieties worth consider but most will grow happily in pots.
When you are growing hostas in containers, most of them are sold in pots ready to be transplanted into a slightly bigger pot.
Choosing a pot for Hostas
When planting your hostas in containers, you want to find a container that is bigger than than the pot its currently in but nor too large as this can lead to root rot. Look at the labels for the plant that you’ve purchased to figure out what the ultimate height and spread will be. In general, you can put hostas in larger containers that are between 30cm and 45cm in diameter so long as the containers have good drainage. Drainage holes are key so don’t get caught out by forgetting about the drainage holes. If you look at the bottom of the container you use and there are insufficient holes you can always drill more. A few tips, on ceramic pots, cover the bottom with some masking take and then drill through this first, this will stop the drill bit from slipping. If the container is made of plastic do not apply a great deal of pressure when drilling extra holes as this can cause the plastic to crack.
The best compost for Hostas
When growing in containers you want to use peat-free or loam-based potting compost only such as John Inn potting compost and then mix this will some multipurpose compost to help stop it becoming to wet and improve the consistency.
Planting a hosta in a pot
You can plant hostas in containers at any time of year. However, it is best to avoid the middle of summer when the outside temperatures are highest if possible because it will quickly dry out the soil.
When you put your plants inside the containers you want the top of the root ball to sit at the same level does the container in which it was purchased. This is true each time you repot which you will likely have to do every few years and divides the plants which we have talked about in this article. Make sure that you water it well so that the soil has an opportunity to settle.
Watering and feeding
Water regularly and feed with a multipurpose feed once a month
Hostas in containers need regular watering especially during the summer otherwise they will dry out. You can tell when your plant is in need of extra water because the leaf margins will start to turn brown but you want to keep a close eye on them and water before this actually happens so just check the surface of the soil regularly.
You should add a liquid feed once per month when the hostas are in growth to help them along, especially if you had them in pots for over 12 months as they can quickly start to become well-rooted. Container grown hostas need general purpose liquid fertilisers but can also be feed with ericaceous feeds as they prefer a neutral to acidic soil anyone.
Caring for potted hostas over winter
Hostas grown in containers are highly susceptible to water-logging. This means that during the wintertime you need to protect the containers from excess rainwater by placing them at the base of a fence or a wall to reduce the amount of rainfall they get. They naturally die back in winter so don’t require much watering at all. To protect the roots from frost you can try wrapping pots in lagging or fleece or keeping in a greenhouse if your lucky enough to have one.
Dealing with slug and snails
Slugs and snails are the biggest pest problem hostas will face. However, in pots, they will not be as problematic if you take a few simple steps. You can set up beer traps near the pots so that the slugs and snails get caught in those instead. It’s also worth adding a layer of grit to the top of the pots as slug and snails tend to avoid slivering over grit. You can also get copper tape you can stick around the pot which the slugs will not cross, this has proved very effective in the past.