Hostas are plants of fabulous beauty and grace. It’s hard to find anything that can make them look negative. However, hostas, like everything else in the world, have their advantages and disadvantages.
|Amazing leaves||Poor tolerance of full sun|
|Easy care||Often damaged by slugs|
|Excellent frost tolerance||Messiness|
|A huge number of varieties|
|Good tolerance of poor soils|
Pro: Amazing leaves
The leaves are the main advantage of the hosta. The leaves are what set the hosta apart from other plants. For centuries it has been cultivated in many gardens and has not lost its popularity.
You can find a wide variety of leaf shapes and sizes. By planting different types of hostas in your garden, you can get an amazing picture of the garden landscape.
In addition, the leaves of the hosta combine perfectly with other perennials. Coral bells, heucherellas, and tiarellas are great companions for the hosta.
Also, hosta leaves are a great addition to medium to tall trees. You can plant the composition of hostas under the canopy of an ornamental tree and get a two-tiered decorative look.
Pro: Easy care
Hostas are those plants that do not require special care. If you have done everything right, you will hardly have to do anything to maintain them.
Plant the hosta in a nutritious and well-drained substrate. As for location, the hosta feels best in the shade all day long. It will only tolerate direct sun in the morning or evening, but no more than 4-5 hours.
After rooting, the hosta will only need to be watered in the extreme heat of summer. It also needs to be protected from slugs using iron sulfate.
This is where the care of the hosta ends. You will not need to give it more than 1-2 hours of your time a week. But if you want more information on this topic, read the article How do I grow hostas in my garden?
Pro: Excellent frost tolerance
Hostas can overwinter in 3 to 9 USDA hardiness zones. This means that they can be grown almost anywhere in the United States.
Of course, the petioles and leaves die off, but the rhizome survives the winter under the snow. In this condition, the hosta can handle very low temperatures. The following spring, young shoots will emerge from the ground.
Not all perennials can boast of such frost resistance. Very often the above-ground part of many plants suffers a lot in winter.
In addition, the hosta can tolerate quite low temperatures when it is active. Late frosts have relatively less of a negative effect on hostas than on other plants.
Pro: A huge number of varieties
One of the advantages of hostas is a large number of varieties. The selection of these plants has been going on for a very long time and has produced a lot of varieties.
You can find hostas in many different leaf sizes. There are varieties that have a leaf the size of a coin and varieties that are much larger than an adult’s palm.
The coloring of the leaves is also enormous. There are hostas with blue, yellow, green, and variegated leaves. Two or three-color hostas are the most interesting.
If that doesn’t show you enough, there are leaves with puckered, smooth, and wavy textures. There are even varieties with red petioles!
As for size, there is also a huge variety. You can get dwarf-size hostas that are perfect for potty growing. At the same time, there are hostas that reach a gigantic size.
Pro: Good tolerance of poor soils
In general, hostas can grow in almost any type of soil. They are able to get all the necessary minerals on their own and store water in their rhizome for times of drought.
Even in clay soil, hostas are able to grow quite well. The main thing is that no water should accumulate around the roots.
However, if you want to get better results, you should give the hosta a more nutritious and friable substrate. This is important to do at the time you plant the hosta.
To give your substrate a better quality, mix 1-2 buckets of compost in the planting hole with the native soil. This will be enough for the first few years while the hosta takes root.
Con: Poor tolerance to full sun
The main disadvantage of hostas is a poor tolerance to direct sun. Hostas are shade-loving plants and the sun is contraindicated for them.
Some varieties can tolerate several hours of direct sun a day. Hostas tolerate the morning or evening sun best. These include yellow, variegated, and some green varieties.
Blue hostas, on the other hand, do not tolerate direct sun at all. Even a few hours of sun in the morning can leave a burn on the leaves.
Hostas cannot grow in full sun. To date, there is no variety that can withstand 10-12 hours of direct sun a day without damage. This is especially true of the afternoon scorching sun in the summer.
Con: Often damaged by slugs
The next problem is that slugs are very fond of eating hosta leaves. When it rains, there are so many of these pests that they can severely damage the hosta.
Hostas with hard and thick leaves are less or not at all susceptible to slug attack. However, there are still a large number of varieties that can be damaged by slugs.
The second problem is that the organic methods of controlling this pest are ineffective. You may use traps or other tricks to get rid of slugs, but they do not provide the expected results.
The most effective way to keep your hosta free of slugs is to use iron phosphate. It is a bird- and animal-friendly, even though it is a chemical.
And the last disadvantage of the hosta is trashiness. At the end of the season after the first frost, the leaves and petioles lie on the ground. As a result, around each hosta, there is a rather large pile of rotting mass.
If we are talking about one or two bushes, this is not a problem at all. However, if you have a lot of hostas, there will be a lot of trash.
The problem is that you can’t leave this debris to rot around the rhizome. There can be pathogens that will infect the young leaves next year. Also, in winter, the rot may spread to the rhizome and it will die.
You need to clean everything around the hosta every year and throw it in the trash. If you have a large yard you can make a place for this trash to decompose. However, do not use it to grow your plants.