The same plant can have a different size and appearance depending on the growing environment and many different conditions. Even the health of a plant depends on how it is cared for.
To make hostas grow bigger, plant them in rich and loose soil, fertilize once a year with a slow-release fertilizer, and water when the soil is 2 inches dry. Also, give them 1-2 hours of morning sun and mulch the root zone with a 2-inch layer of organic matter.
In this article, you will learn everything you need to do to make your hostas grow bigger and prettier. Also please read the main article Complete Guide to Hostas.
1. Plant big hostas
The first thing to do to get a large size hosta is to plant varieties that are capable of being large at maturity. There are many varieties of hosta and among them, there are dwarf and miniature varieties. Such hostas will never get big.
Before planting, look at what is available on the market and choose the ones that can grow more than three feet across. With some effort, you will get outstanding results.
The second point is that you have to buy already large plants. If you can buy a hosta in a pot at least 10 inches wide, that plant will reach its maximum size much faster than a small plant.
It is also important that you choose vigorous varieties. Some varieties can grow quite large but the rate of increase is slow and this is especially true of variegated hostas.
The most vigorous hostas are the ones that have the most chlorophyll in their leaves, which means that their leaves are completely green. Accordingly, the variegate hostas are slower and take a long time to reach a large size.
2. Place the hosta in the partial shade
All hostas feel best in the shade or semi-shade. There are some varieties that can grow in full sun.
But the hosta must get enough indirect or diffused light to reach its outstanding size. Never plant the hosta in direct sun, even if it can tolerate it because the strong sun can stunt the growth of the hosta.
The best place to plant the hosta is in semi-shade or diffused sun. This can be achieved by planting it under a coniferous tree or under a tree with a loose crown.
You can also place the hosta on the north side of the house. In this case, it will get a few hours of direct sun in the morning and then some indirect sunlight.
3. Water the hosta when the soil is 2 inches dry
For a hosta to grow significantly in size, it needs water. There is no problem with this during the rainy season, but during the summer months it can be quite hot and the ground will dry out quickly.
In summer, the hosta has the most favorable conditions for growth, namely warmth and plenty of light. If you water regularly, you will get great results.
So you should always keep an eye on the soil, especially in the heat of summer. Water your hosta as soon as 2 inches of soil is dry. Use 2-3 gallons of water for each bush.
Avoid watering too often or with too much water. Otherwise, you will over-water and the hosta will get root rot.
It is also important to give the hosta water in the fall so that it has a reserve for the winter.
During the winter months, stop watering at all, because this is when the hosta is sleeping and it does not need extra water near the roots.
4. Use a nutritious and well-drained soil
The next important factor in achieving a large size hosta is the soil. The hosta likes a loose and nutritious substrate in which water does not stagnate. At the same time, the substrate should not dry out too quickly.
You will need to add compost to the native soil to get such soil mix. Use only good quality and nutritious compost.
Before planting, dig a hole at least 2 feet deep and the same width. Mix the resulting soil with the same amount of compost.
Next, fill the hole partially with this soil mix. Plant the hosta so that the stems are not in the ground and fill all the free space in the hole with the soil mix.
The result will be perfect soil around the roots of the hosta for several years. During this time it will grow to a very large size that would be impossible to achieve in ordinary clay soil.
5. Mulch your hostas
Be sure to mulch the hosta to keep the soil moist. This is especially important in dry weather. Mulch also has a number of other benefits that also help to increase the size of the hosta.
The best mulch is organic matter. You can use compost which, among other things, will also provide the plants with organic nutrition.
Pine bark, pine straw, or wood chips also work well. The main thing is that all these materials are of good quality.
The layer of mulch should be about 2-3 inches thick. Avoid mulching hosta stems to avoid rotting. Set back 1 inch from the stems and then mulch.
The mulch should be renewed from time to time. Pine bark lasts the longest, while pine straw has the shortest lifespan.
6. Fertilize the hosta two times per year
Feeding is a prerequisite for large hostas. Fertilize for the first time in spring as soon as the first leaves appear.
Use a slow-release granular fertilizer. It is better if the product contains a little more nitrogen than potassium and phosphorus. Also, make sure it contains at least some magnesium and iron.
The period of action of the fertilizer should be as long as possible. If the life span is less than three months, apply another batch in the second half of summer.
The second type of fertilizer you should use is liquid fertilizer. Water the hosta once in midsummer. This will give a little boost for more vigorous growth.
Do not fertilize later than September because the hosta should be dormant for the winter. Also, avoid over-fertilizing because the roots may be damaged.
7. Protect the hosta from late frosts
Late frosts in most cases are not fatal for the hosta. The frost may damage the young leaves, but in general, the hosta will not die and will recover after some time.
However, the damage caused by frost will slow down the development of the hosta considerably. As a result, it will reach its maximum size much later than desired.
To prevent this from happening, you should make sure that you cover the hosta in the spring if there is a risk of a late frost.
If the first leaves have already begun to emerge from the rhizome, but the weather forecasters are promising frosts, cover the hosta with a blanket. There are many good covering materials on sale.
Stick a few sticks around the bush and then cover it with the blanket. As soon as the frost is gone, the material should be removed.
8. Avoid dividing hostas
You definitely shouldn’t bother the hosta no matter what the reason. Moreover, it should not be divided into parts.
If you divide it, it will take a long time to root. It will take about a year for the piece to become a complete plant.
The same applies to transplanting. If you move a hosta, you will lose at least a year on the way to getting a large bush. This is because you are sure to damage the roots and it will take a long time to regenerate.
The conclusion you can draw from all of this is that if you want to get as big a hosta as possible, don’t split it up and don’t transplant it at all.
9. Remove the peduncles
It is a well-known fact that flowering and seed creation takes a lot of energy from the plant. After the seeds are formed, the plant does not look as beautiful and it takes a while to recover.
This is also true for the hosta. In the spring it is vigorous and beautiful, but when it flowers in the summer, it slows down a bit.
To direct the energy of the blossoms to increase the size of the hosta, you have to cut back the stems regularly.
As soon as you see a long stalk appearing from the center of the bush, cut it off right away. Make the cut as low as possible without damaging the crown.
Some time after removing the first flower stalk, another one may appear and it must also be removed. During the growing season, keep a close eye on your hosta and remove any flower stems.
10. Protect your hostas from slugs
Slugs can cause significant damage to hostas. As a result, their growth rate can slow down. In addition, it can take a long time to recover.
A few slugs are not capable of causing serious damage. But during rainy weather, their numbers can increase dramatically and then the hostas will suffer.
To get rid of slugs and snails, use iron phosphate pellets. It is absolutely harmless to pets and birds but its effectiveness is very high.
Beer traps also work well. You can find different models of these traps on sale. You will achieve excellent results by using them in conjunction with iron phosphate.
11. Provide the hosta with 5 feet of free space
To avoid replanting and to make sure your hosta has enough room to grow. Allocate it at least 5 feet of space or more, depending on the variety.
Before planting, check with the retailer about the size of the variety at maturity. Add at least 2 feet to this value and this is the area you need to allocate to the hosta.
The extra 2 feet is needed so that the hosta’s roots have room to develop and draw water and minerals from it. In addition, the free space around the bush will help avoid various diseases.
Also, avoid planting the hosta under trees that have invasive roots. This is especially true of silver maple and magnolia. These trees will take up all the water and the hosta will suffer from dehydration.