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7 Places Where You Should Not Plant Hostas

Hostas are easy to care for and very graceful plants. However, the wrong planting location can lead to serious problems later on.

You should not plant hostas:

  • In full sun
  • Under the Silver Maple
  • Too close to a tree trunk
  • In poorly drained soil
  • Too close to other plants
  • In a very alkaline or acidic soil
  • In damp locations

Let’s go over all these cases in more detail. You will also learn how to correct the situation if the hosta grows in the wrong place.

In full sun

hosta care guide

This hosta grows in a sunny spot.

The first place you should never plant hostas is in full sun. This is because hostas are shade-loving plants and do not tolerate a lot of sunlight.

Some varieties can tolerate 4-5 hours of direct sun in the morning or evening. However, exposure to the afternoon sun will be devastating to the leaves of any hosta. Too much direct sun will cause the leaves to burn and turn brown.

In general, all hostas can grow in full shade. This means they prefer reflected sunlight but not direct sunlight. Blue hostas grow best in such conditions, while variegated varieties need 2-3 hours of direct sun in the morning to show their beauty.

Also, a good sunny exposure is a dappled shade. This means that the hosta can receive filtered sunlight. This can be achieved by planting it under a tree or under shade netting. For a better understanding of this issue, read the article Do hostas prefer sun or shade?

Under the Silver Maple

The next place you don’t want to plant hostas is under the Silver Maple. The fact is that these trees have a very aggressive and shallow root system that is very ramified.

All the soil under a mature Silver Maple is covered with fine roots. As a result, not only hostas but no other plants can grow there. The roots of the Silver Maple will simply wrap around the rhizome of the hosta and prevent it from accessing water and nutrients. After a year or two, the hosta will die.

It is also a similar situation with some other trees. For example, magnolias and some other maple species have invasive roots that make it very difficult to grow hostas under them.

On the other hand, trees such as spruces, pines, Japanese maples, etc. are quite suitable for growing hostas under them.

Too close to a tree trunk

You need to avoid planting hostas too close to the trunk of a tree. If you choose to plant a hosta in the shade of a tree, set it at least 1 foot away from the trunk.

Otherwise, you may damage the roots. This can result in some of the leaves on the tree turning yellow. If the tree is small, root damage can result in its death.

Also, if the hosta grows too close to the trunk of the tree, it may suffer from a lack of water. This is called dry shade. Even if the tree does not have aggressive roots it still consumes a lot of water. As a result, it is usually quite dry in the vicinity of the trunk.

The minimum distance from the hosta to the tree trunk should be 1 foot. For larger trees, you need a distance of 3 to 5 feet or more from the trunk. For more on this topic, see How to plant hostas around a tree?

In poorly drained soil

Poorly drained soil can lead to petiole and crown rot.

The next place you should not plant hostas is in poorly drained soil. If water stays in the soil for too long, the hosta root can begin to rot. As a result, you can lose the plant.

Poorly drained soils include heavy clay soils and some other types. In fact, this is not a good environment for growing a hosta.

If your hostas are growing in such soil, you need to transplant them. Dig out the bush carefully, damaging as few roots as possible.

Dig a hole in the new location twice the size of the hosta’s rhizome. Fill it with 1-2 buckets of compost or soil conditioner and mix it with the native soil. Then plant the hosta in this medium.

If your hosta has started to rot because of poorly drained soil you need to fix it first. Read how to treat root or petiole rot in this article.

Too close to other plants

Don’t place hostas too close to other hostas or too close to other plants in general. Each plant needs enough space to get water, nutrients, and sunlight.

If the hostas are planted too close together, they won’t have much room to grow. As a result, they will not reach their maximum size and the growth rate will be slow. In addition, various diseases can occur in this case.

Plant hostas 1 to 4 feet apart from each other or from other plants. The larger the hosta, the more space they need. Giant hostas should be planted 6 to 7 feet apart or even more.

There is one universal rule for how to place plants in the garden. The distance between two plants should be equal to the width of the larger plant at maturity.

If you plant the hostas too close, you need to transplant them.

In a very alkaline or acidic soil

Both too alkaline and too acidic soil is where you don’t want to keep your hostas. Both will have a negative impact so let’s break each down separately.

Too alkaline soil is when the soil pH is higher than 7.5. This will result in nitrogen and some other substances that are in the soil not being available to the hosta. This will cause the leaves to turn yellow sooner or later.

Too acidic soil is when the soil pH is lower than 5.5. Hostas like slightly acidic soil, but if it is too acidic they will not have access to phosphorus. This can also lead to the yellowing of the leaves and some other negative effects.

To plant a hosta in the right soil, you have to test your soil first. You can do this by using a soil pH test kit which is commercially available.

If the soil is too alkaline you can fix that by adding some acidifier or garden sulfur. To make the soil less acidic you can add garden lime.

Also, be sure to read about what kind of soil the hosta prefers.

In damp locations

Avoid placing hostas in wet locations. Although hostas like moisture, they may rot if the ground is boggy.

The ground can be too wet in areas where water drains from the roof. Also, rainwater can collect in low-lying areas of the yard. All of these places are not suitable for growing hostas.

It is also best not to plant hostas near a pond or stream. Exceptions may be artificial ponds or streams that have a pond liner.

Read more: Why Are My Hostas Not Growing?