How Often To Water Hostas

Also known as ‘Plantain Lily,’ hostas are among the most sought-after flowering plants in the US. If you’re starting hosta gardening, you might be concerned about how best to take care of your plants. Therefore, you could be wondering how often to water your hostas.

It’s best to water your hostas at least once per week. However, some factors might require you to irrigate your plants more frequently, including their size, soil type, and weather conditions. Hence, it’s essential to consider all these before starting your watering routine.

This article will discuss a few topics related to hosta water requirements. You don’t want to go wrong on how to take care of your hostas. So, keep reading to learn more.

Do Hostas Need a Lot of Water?

Hostas are herbaceous, perennial plants that grow well in the USDA plant hardiness zones 3 to 9, including Iowa, Kansas, and Ohio. Their variegated foliage is beautiful, comprising glossy, waxy, or matte leaves. Therefore, they’re popular ornamental plants in America and globally.

Since hostas are hardy perennials, they don’t require much maintenance. You only have to ensure that your plants have adequate water in the ideal growing environment.

But do hostas require a lot of water?

Hostas don’t need a lot of water and only require about 1 to 2 inches (2.5-5 cm) weekly under normal conditions. But, they require a lot more water during scorching weather. Moreover, some varieties and larger hostas require watering more frequently than others.

Hostas are drought-resistant plants that can tolerate shade or partially shaded areas. However, due to their broad leaves, they lose significant amounts of water through transpiration. So, it’s essential to ensure that your hostas have sufficient water to remain healthy, lush, and appealing.

Your hostas will look healthy and maintain their sheen with adequate irrigation. They love growing in moist, rich, and well-drained soils. So, you have to make sure that you water them appropriately.

But, the water and irrigation frequency will depend on the following:

  • The weather or climatic conditions: Hostas need more water during hot summers or if they are growing in arid regions. Moreover, hostas in arid areas require watering more frequently than those growing in temperate regions that receive adequate rainfall.
  • Size of hosta plants: Larger hostas require more water than small ones as they lose more water through transpiration (they have broader leaves).
  • The growing environment: Hostas growing in shaded areas need less water than those exposed to the sun. Also, hostas planted in pots or containers require more frequent watering than those growing in gardens.
  • Soil type: Hostas in fast-draining soils need more frequent watering than those in slow-draining soils.

Hostas have minimal maintenance requirements. They only need adequate water, suitable soil, nutrients, and an ideal growing environment.

Usually, hostas will do well with weekly irrigation, especially for small to medium varieties

growing under shade. However, increasing giant and hosta types in the full sun require more water. And, it would help if you watered your hostas more frequently during hot weather.

Here are the water requirements for hostas in different conditions:

Hosta Plant TypeConditionsAmount of Water NeededWhen to Water
Small to medium-sized hostasSummer0.5 gallons (1.8 liters)Every 3 days
Small to medium-sized hostasSpring to fall0.5 gallons (1.8 liters)Once per week
Large-sized hostasTemperate climates1 gallon (3.6 liters)Once or twice per week
Large-sized hostasHot summer1 gallon (3.6 liters)Daily
Large-sized hostasSpring to fall1 gallon (3.6 liters)Weekly
Giant-sized hostasHot summer3 gallons (10.8 liters)Daily
Regular-sized hostasIn pots/containers0.5 – 1 gallon(1.8 – 3.6 liters)Every 3 days
Small to medium-sized hostasArid climates (minimal rainfall)1 – 3 gallons (3.6 – 10.8 liters)Every 3 days
Small to large-sized hostasSandy soil with organic matter and mulch0.5 gallons (1.8 liters)3 or more days
Small to large-sized hostasLate fall to winter0.5 – 0 gallons (1.8 – 0 liters)Weekly to no watering (in winter)

What Happens if You Overwater a Hosta?

If you overwater a hosta, add more water than the plant absorbs. This oversaturation may lead to diseases such as anthracnose, blight, and root rot. Overwatered and saturated soil also attracts pests such as foliar nematodes and slugs.

Although hostas are moisture-loving plants, it’s best not to overdo the watering. And even though they’re usually resistant to pests and diseases, keeping your hostas in soggy soil will only expose them to pests and diseases.

These include:

  • Anthracnose: It’s a fungal disease arising from leaf wetness, especially when you over-water your hosta. The infestation by the anthracnose fungi causes large, irregular spots on the leaves, making them fall off eventually.
  • Phytophthora Foliage Blight: Another fungal infection, root rot, is due to growing hostas in wet, saturated soils. The Phytophthora species, a type of water mold, causes this disease and thrives in such moist conditions. Hostas with this foliage blight exhibit small, water-soaked spots on their leaves.
  • Root and crown rot: Also caused by the Phytophthora species, this fungal disease occurs when hostas grow in soggy or contaminated soil. It causes discoloration and necrosis in the roots, and therefore, the infection results in stunted growth and death since the root system is diseased and the roots can’t function normally.
  • Foliar nematodes: These microscopic worms affect hosta plants with excessive leaf wetness. The nematodes can swim easily from one plant to another, causing massive damage to leaf veins. They’re mainly prevalent during mid-spring and fall, and their infestation causes leaf tissue necrosis. Hence, the leaves appear tattered and then fall off.
  • Slugs: These pests are a severe headache to hosta gardeners, especially during the wet seasons. Slugs love feeding on the hostas at night but hide during the daytime. They also prefer damp environments and thrive when hostas grow in moist soils with a heavy debris cover.

What Are Signs of an Overwatered Hosta Plant?

Hostas growing in their native environment appear lush and have variegated foliage since they receive adequate rainfall (about 60 inches or 152 cm).

However, only a few American states, including Alabama, Louisiana, and Arkansas, match this amount of rain. Other regions only experience about 40 inches (101 cm) of rainfall per annum.

Hence, most farmers water their hostas frequently to provide sufficient moisture. Nevertheless, overdoing it can be detrimental to your plant’s health. And, you’ll notice that your hostas aren’t doing well if the soil is constantly wet or soggy.

The Signs of an overwatered hosta plant will be yellow and limp leaves since the roots can’t deliver enough nutrients. Moreover, the roots will start rotting from suffocation and can’t perform their roles effectively. And the leaves might have holes due to slug invasion.

Since overwatering your hostas is detrimental to their health and survival, it’s essential to water them when need be. So, also look out for signs that your hostas require watering.

How To Tell if Your Hostas Are Underwatered

Underwatering your plants can cause stunted growth, lack of blooms and shorten your hosta plants’ life expectancy. You should monitor your plant for the following signs of insufficient hydration.

  • Drooping or wilting leaves: Hostas experiencing slight water stress will start sagging and wilting. So, they lack enough water to keep them firm and turgid. And watering them more frequently will enable them to perk up to their usual selves.
  • Brown leaf edges: During hot, dry summer days, the hosta leaves might start turning brown from the edges. Furthermore, if your region, say Minneapolis, is facing drought, your hostas will turn brown and risk size shrinkage in the next growing season. Hence, you’ll have to water your hostas more often – like five to seven days per week. For instance, the 2012 drought season caused massive losses in the United States.
  • Dry soil: If you’ve planted your hostas in fast-drying soil, you’ll notice that the soil appears dry often. Hence, you’ll need to water your hostas frequently and find ways to improve the soil’s moisture retention ability to ensure that your hostas have sufficient moisture always.
  • Stunted growth: This shows that your hostas are experiencing water stress. Hence, it’s essential to irrigate them to promote optimum growth.
  • Deceased leaf size and number: Hostas will have fewer, smaller leaves if they lack enough water. This defense mechanism helps in reducing the rate of transpiration to conserve water.
  • Sunburns: On hot, sunny days, hostas can experience sunburns or scorched leaves due to the high temperatures. Therefore, it would help keep the plants hydrated by watering them more often.

Tips on Watering Your Hosta Plants

Your hostas are a pretty hardy species, and once you meet their requirements, they will reward you with abundant foliage and seasonal blooms. Here are some ways to ensure you water your hostas correctly for maximum hydration.

  • Use slow, deep irrigation (below the leaves) to enable optimum root growth and development, such as a soaker hose for drenching your hostas
  • Water your hostas in the morning to slow water absorption and keep water-loving pathogens at bay.
  • Irrigate your hostas more often if you’ve planted them in pots or containers.
  • Avoid saturating the soil as this promotes pest invasion and diseases.
  • Cover the soil with light mulch after watering to prevent moisture loss through evaporation.

Stained Glass Hosta


Hostas are water-loving plants. However, their water requirements depend on several factors. Hence, knowing when and how to water your hostas is essential to prevent under or overwatering them. Understanding their origins and ideal environment can help you mimic the conditions that allow them to thrive.

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