How To Care for Hostas in Pots [7 Easy Steps]

Hostas are very forgiving plants and can be planted in a garden, placed in a pot on your porch, or kept in your house! But despite their hardiness, what are some of the best ways to care for hostas in pots?

Here are 7 tips for keeping hostas in pots:

  1. Keep it in a small or medium-sized pot
  2. Water frequently
  3. Make sure the pot has good drainage
  4. Fertilize the soil every other week
  5. Give it access to the morning sun
  6. Allow for the dormant period in winter
  7. Divide the hosta when it becomes too big

In the rest of the article, I will divulge further insights into the art of keeping hostas in pots to ensure you have a healthy, happy plant. Let’s get started!

1. Keep It in a Small or Medium-Sized Pot

Hostas can become quite extensive depending on how much space you give them. This is why it is crucial to provide a potted hosta with just enough room to expand a little but not too much to grow out of control.

The perfect hosta pot will have about three inches of soil between the tips of the roots and the pot’s side. The depth of the pot does not matter as much since hostas grow horizontally and not vertically. Hosta roots want a secure place to stay while the leaves spread out.

Depending on the size of your hosta, this might not feel like a “small” pot to you – that is okay! If you pick the first pot correctly, it is unlikely that you will need to re-pot your hosta in the future.

2. Water Frequently

One of a potted hosta’s biggest enemies is dry soil. In the outdoors, hostas thrive best in a mildly rainy environment with damp but not drenched dirt. To achieve this environment in a pot, you must water the plant frequently!

As a general rule, the smaller the pot, the more water the plant will require. The good thing is that hosts warn you when they are running out of moisture. If the leaves start to droop or wilt, just give them some water, and they will perk right up!

If you do not want to water your hosta every day or two, you can provide your hosta with big drinks every four days rather than smaller waterings every day.

The amount of water you give your hosta will also depend on the severity of the sun and the heat. In summer, especially if you live in a dry state like Colorado, you will need to give your hosta a little extra water boost whenever you can.

3. Make Sure the Pot Has Good Drainage

Good drainage is another important part of keeping a plant that requires damp soil. If the water cannot run through the mud and escape, you run the risk of sitting water, which puts your plant in danger of root rot.

The best way to accomplish good drainage is by getting a pot with holes at the bottom. You will then place the pot in a shallow dish and empty the container whenever it becomes filled with water.

You can also put rocks at the bottom of the pot to give the water even more avenues and time to leave the dirt and exit the jar. Ensuring good drainage for your hosta will keep the plant’s roots healthy and happy for a long time!

4. Fertilize the Soil Every Other Week

The primary downside of a plant that needs to be watered frequently is that the soil will be washed off of many of its natural nutrients. This unavoidable rinsing of natural nutrients means you will have to fertilize and rotate the dirt more often to keep the hosta lively.

Hostas like organic matter. Compost and potting soil are considered best for your potted hosta, and you should plan to fertilize it with a 10-10-10 fertilizer.

The fertilizer will ensure that your hostas get the beneficial nutrients necessary for growth and vigor. If you cannot manage to fertilize every other week, just plan to do it as much as you can – at the very least, once a month.

Plan to stop fertilization one month before the onset of winter to prepare the plant for dormancy. (Note: your plant should still be fortified with compost before winter, as I’ll address later on, but fertilization during the winter months is not necessary.)

5. Give It Access to the Morning Sun

Hostas are referred to as shade-tolerant plants, meaning they need both sun and shade to function best. Do not confuse a hosta with a shade-preferring plant that needs no direct sun.

Hostas need direct sunlight but in moderation.

Place your hosta somewhere with access to the morning sun but is shaded from the afternoon and evening sun. Hostas need gentle sunlight since they can quickly overheat—this propensity to overheat means that you must closely monitor the sun/shade balance.

Keeping the hosta by an east-facing window is a good idea, but you may have to try a few different locations to determine what your hosta likes best.

Pay attention to the leaves of your hosta. If they turn brown at the edges, this is a red flag that they are burning from too much sun. If your hosta starts to boil, move it to a shadier region of your house and give it some extra water!

6. Allow for the Dormant Period in Winter

Hostas are a type of plant called a perennial. Perennial plants go dormant in winter and rebloom in the spring–a pretty lovely picture! Hostas require little attention during these months, and your main job is to make sure they are ready for both the winter and the spring.

Hostas require a minimum of six weeks of dormancy at temperatures below forty degrees Fahrenheit. This might not be hard for people in Minnesota to achieve, but the story will be different for more southern states.

Nevertheless, if you own a hosta, you must prepare it for winter by doing the following.

Step 1: Clip the Leaves

The dropping temperature will signal to your hosta that it is time to sleep. Once your hosta’s leaves have entirely changed color and are no longer green, you must clip off the old leaves.

Clipping the old leaves will allow the new leaves to grow in the spring. However, if you clip off the old leaves too soon, your hosta will not have enough stored food to make it through the winter.

Step 2: Winterize the Pot

It is essential to winterize your hosta in the correct pot. If you usually display your hosta in a terracotta pot, you will want to move the plant to a plastic container for the winter.

Terracotta can absorb water which then freezes and expands, breaking your lovely pot. Be sure that the pot you winter your hosta in will not break in sub-zero temperatures.

Step 3: Store Your Hosta

Your hosta will not need heat and light during wintertime. In fact, it is best for the plant if you leave it in the cold as much as possible. Experts recommend an unheated garage or a similar location.

Sun is not necessary for hostas in winter, but water is. You should therefore plan to water your hosta at least once a month, even while dormant!

Be sure that your hosta’s winter soil has compost at the beginning in case the plant needs a boost of energy. Besides that, you will not need to tend to it until spring!

7. Divide the Hosta When It Becomes Too Big

Hostas are a plant that can be safely divided in two when it becomes too big for your pot. The best time to divide a hosta is immediately after it reblooms in the spring or right before it goes dormant in the fall.

But before you divide the hosta, it is advisable to water the plant so the soil is moist and the roots are soft.

The best way to divide a hosta is to take a garden spade and cut through the roots without cutting the roots off entirely. Do not cut through the eyes of the plant if you can help it.

Once the plant is divided, give each portion its own pot, fertilizer, and soil. If correctly done, your two hostas will expand and thrive for many years to come!

However, if you do not want to keep two hostas, you can always offer one to a friend or neighbor. Depending on the variety and health of your hosta, you could even sell it!

Some hosta species sell for $60, so if you do not want it, do not toss it out – someone will surely be willing to take it off your hands!

Hosta Mixed - 6 Perennial Bare Roots

Last Thoughts

Your hosta is a hardy plant! Most of your job in keeping it alive is paying attention to its needs and responding accordingly.

A well-cared-for hosta will be leafy, green, and radiant! I hope you and your hosta thrive together through rain, sun, and storm!

You may also like: