Hostas are plants for shade, but there are many varieties that can tolerate direct sunlight for several hours a day. However, in the southern states, even such varieties can burn in strong sun and drought.
To fix hosta leaf scorch, you should water them more often with enough water, give as much shade as possible, and transplant as soon as possible in a shady and moist place.
Next, I will explain in more detail what needs to be done to fix and avoid scorch. We will also look at other causes of such symptoms.
Give enough water
If you notice traces of scorch on the leaves of your plant, then the first thing to do is to water it well.
Give enough water to soak the soil to its full depth and at least 2 feet in diameter. However, try not to form a swamp. To achieve this, water two or three times with an interval of one hour in small portions of water.
The total amount of water should be 1-2 gallons depending on the size of the bush.
I recommend waiting for the evening and then watering. It is not worth to water plants in heat as the most part of the water dries up and without having got to roots.
In the future, you need to keep the soil around the plant from drying out. Keep it moist, but not too wet.
If necessary, water daily. In drought, the soil can dry out in one day.
However, very often, only watering can not solve the situation because even with enough water, the leaves can still scorch.
Provide more shade
The main cause of scorching leaves is an excess of direct sunlight.
As I mentioned above, there are varieties that can withstand several hours of direct sunlight, but not everywhere the sun shines the same.
In the south, in Hardiness zones 7-8, the sun is stronger than in 3 or 4 zones. Therefore, even with the same amount of sunlight, the hostas will be in different conditions if they are grown in different areas.
If the leaves of your plants scorch, then you need to provide them with more shade. The easiest way is to shade them.
With a lack of shady space, I create a frame over the hostas and cover it all with a shading net that can be found in almost every garden center. I recommend using a grid that reflects at least 50% of the sun’s rays.
You can use four sticks as a frame. Just insert them into the ground around the plant like pillars and throw a net on top.
Also, you can use an ordinary garden umbrella. Place it over the hosta on the south side, and you’re done.
You can remove the shade at the end of the season when the leaves die, and the plant falls into dormancy.
The two previous tips can only be a temporary solution. If your hostas continue to scorch, it is best to transplant them in full shade. So let’s talk a little bit about how to move them properly.
The first thing that matters when you are transplanting is time. I recommend transplanting in mid-spring or early fall because, at this time, the conditions are best suited to change the location.
Hosta leaves usually scorch in summer when there are intense heat and no precipitation. At this time, it is better not to transplant them.
Water your plants and shade them as I wrote above, and when autumn comes, then start transplanting.
For different climatic zones, the best period will be slightly different. In the northern United States, it will be late August to early September. For the South (zones 7-8), it is the second half of September.
It is important that you have time to transplant 35-40 days before the first frosts.
Choose a cloudy morning to move your hostas; try to avoid sunny days. Water the plants well before transplanting.
The new place should be in the full shade because, in your area, the hostas are not able to tolerate direct sunlight. The north side of the house or fence is best.
Dig the root ball carefully, try not to damage any part of the plant.
In a new place, dig a hole twice the size of the rhizome you are moving. Pour there a mix of garden soil and quality compost (half by half). Fill the hole at 50%.
Place the rhizome in a new place so that the stems are not covered with earth. That is, the hosta should grow at the same level as before.
Fill all the voids with earth and pour a little water. In a few minutes, the water will drain, and the earth will settle a little. Pour more soil and water again.
In the future, you need to keep the soil moist constantly until the plant takes root. However, do not water too much. Just check how deep the soil has dried; if more than half an inch, then it’s time to water your hostas.
I also wrote a detailed article on How and when it is best to transplant hostas. If you want to avoid common transplant mistakes, be sure to check it.
Should I cut back scorched hosta leaves?
In most cases, you should not cut the scorched leaves as it can still benefit the plant. However, sometimes it is still better to delete them.
Let’s talk about this in more detail.
Usually, the leaves scorch at the tips and edges. As a result, no more than 10-15% of the leaf is damaged. In this case, you do not need to cut the leaves.
Throughout the growing season, even partially damaged leaves will photosynthesize, and the plant will receive energy for growth.
If you cut all the scorched leaves, the amount of energy will decrease, and the hosta will develop more slowly. Therefore, I do not recommend trimming it if the damage is minimal.
However, if the leaves are burned too hard, then various diseases can form on the dead tissue in wet weather. In this case, it is better to cut the leaves completely to avoid problems.
I recommend cutting at the point where the leaf connects to the stem or slightly below (1-2 inches) because the stems can also replicate the sun’s rays into energy for the plant.
Also, by pruning the stems above the ground, you avoid damage to the rhizome and possible rot.
Use only sharp and sterile tools when pruning.
How to prevent hosta scorch?
Ignoring the rules of cultivation usually leads to negative consequences. As a result, you have to correct mistakes and do a lot of extra work.
Next, we will talk about how to properly grow hostas so that they do not scorch.
Plant sun tolerant hostas
There are many varieties of hostas on the market that sellers claim can grow in the sun. However, this is not always true; you need to spend more time on it.
In general, many varieties can withstand sunlight, but their appearance will not be the best. Even if they do not get burnt, their leaves will be pale green-yellow, i.e., not beautiful.
Varieties with yellow or white stripes on the leaves usually grow better in the sun. And even more, such varieties will be less contrasting in full shade.
The most sun-resistant varieties include:
- Sum and Substance
- Gold Standard
- Sun Power
- and others.
The fact that some hostas can tolerate full sun does not mean that they can be planted in an open place where they will receive 10 hours or more of direct sunlight.
Try to plant them so that they are protected from the midday sun and receive no more than 4-5 hours of direct sunlight. For the north of the United States, it can be even a little more (up to 6 hours).
However, for hardness zone 8 or even 7, I do not recommend planting hostas in direct sunlight at all. If you do this, then for a while, everything will be fine, but in the dry and hot summer, they can scorch.
And lastly, never plant blue hostas in the sun. Such varieties require deep shade for a deep blue color. With a small amount of sun, they will be pale gray.
The soil must hold water
The next thing you can do to reduce the likelihood of damaging your hosta is to make the ground hold water better.
Suppose that in your yard, sandy soil or soil that dries quickly in the summer heat. Add direct sunlight to this, and you get baked hostas.
To improve your soil, you need to add components that can store water longer. Here you can go two ways to add organic matter (compost, for example).
If you decide to add compost, you will get another advantage – the soil will be more nutritious for your plants. As a result, you don’t have to fertilize them too much.
The amount of compost in the mixture may be greater (30-40%).
I recommend using good compost that is prepared by the right technology, so pay maximum attention to it.
Water hostas properly
I have already written about watering above, but I want to say a few more words about it.
Watering alone will not solve the problem of scorching leaves. However, if you give the hosta enough moisture, the likelihood of sun damage is reduced.
The soil around the plant should not dry out more than half an inch. However, it should not be constantly wet.
In the southern states, the top layer of soil can dry out during the day in the summer. From this, we can conclude that sometimes you have to water daily.
The amount of water will depend on the size of the bush. Miniature and medium-sized varieties will need one gallon of water at a time. For large and giant will need two or more gallons.
Daily watering is quite troublesome, so it would be better to install drip irrigation. Just bring water to each bush, and that’s it.
You can also install an automatic watering controller with a rain sensor. In this case, you do not have to think about watering at all.
The main thing here is to configure the controller correctly to avoid overwatering.
You can mulch the surface to prevent it from drying out quickly. In the case of hostas, this works very well.
Another advantage of mulch is that the ground under it does not heat up too much. As a result, the plants will be even more comfortable in the summer heat.
The best mulch for the hosta is two materials: compost and pine bark.
In addition to the main task, compost will make the soil around the hosta more nutritious. However, this material has drawbacks.
First, it creates almost no obstacles to the growth of weeds, so you have to weed the flower beds from time to time.
The second service life of compost as mulch is shorter compared to other types.
The second good mulching material is bark. It lasts the longest of all. However, it almost does not bring nutrients into the soil.
Of course, there are many other mulching materials. If you want to know more about these materials and how to properly mulch hostas, check out my article 4 Best Mulch For Hostas.
Hosta leaf scorch in fall
Very often, people wonder why the leaves of hostas scorch in the fall.
The answer to this question is very simple, and it happens because the end of the season comes, and the leaves gradually begin to die.
In different species and varieties, the leaves die off in different ways.
Some varieties lose their leaves immediately; it just turns yellow and dries completely.
Some varieties begin to burn at the edges. Sometimes large yellow spots are visible in the middle of the leaves. The foliage loses color but does not die completely and continues to feed the plant until the first frosts.
You don’t need to do anything about it. The leaves may not look pretty, but if it stays partially green, then all is well.
You only need to remove completely dry leaves. When the frosts come, and all the foliage fades, then it’s time to remove it.
Wait one or two weeks for the dry stems to come off the rhizome more easily and then remove them.
Do not leave any plant debris near the hosta to avoid rot.
Can diseases cause scorch?
Some fungal diseases can affect the hosta quite severely. As a result, not only are spots formed on the leaf, but part of the leaf darkens and dries.
Infection most often occurs in humid, cloudy weather. The dense planting of bushes also contributes to this.
If the hosta grows in the shade and you notice that the leaves are scorch, take a closer look to see if there are any small spores of the fungus. At the slightest suspicion, you better protect your plants from this.
The first thing to do is to remove the damaged leaves. Use sterile instruments for this.
Then spray the plants with an aqueous solution of the fungicide. I recommend spraying several times with different fungicides that have a wide range of actions.