Why Is My Hosta Plant Not Growing? [What to Do]

Your hosta plant needs two to four years to reach its full size, which is between one to three feet (0.3 to 0.9 meters) depending on the hosta variety you own. If you’ve noticed that your hosta has become sluggish and refuses to grow, you might wonder why this is happening and what you need to do to boost its growth.

Your hosta plant is often not growing due to insufficient water or fertilizer.  However, other reasons can also cause it to experience stunted growth, such as pests, fungal infections, animal predation, or too much sunlight per day.

In this article, I will explore the seven most common reasons why a hosta plant stops growing and look at the most effective solutions for these problems. Let’s jump right in!

1. Your Hosta Plant Isn’t Getting Enough Nutrients

If you can’t see any new foliage on your hosta plant, this is a sign that it requires additional nutrients to grow. These nutrients are found in a quality, balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer that contains equal amounts of phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium, as SFGate reports. A hosta plant requires this fertilizer at the start of the growing season.

How To Fix

If you’ve missed giving your plant fertilizer at the start of spring, don’t worry. You can feed your hosta immediately and top up on its fertilizer food every four weeks.

However, ensure you don’t fertilize your hosta plant in the middle or late in the summer, as frost can damage the plant’s new growth.

Make sure you choose a slow-release fertilizer that won’t burn your hosta plant. This type of fertilizer slowly releases nutrients into the soil for the plant to take up, which prevents them from leaching out into the soil and going to waste.

2. Your Hosta Plant Gets Too Much Sunlight per Day

Your hosta plant suffers in direct-sunlight conditions, whether planted outside or kept indoors in a pot or container. When a hosta is in too much sunlight, its leaves will burn, and its color will fade.

Another consequence of putting your hosta in direct sunlight is that too much sun will dry out the soil, which will decrease how much moisture your hosta receives.

However, remember that some hosta varieties are more tolerant of the sun than others and won’t experience scorched leaves from the UV rays. An example is Hosta plantaginea, which can tolerate up to six hours of daily sun. The Spruce reports that variegated hosta varieties only need three to four hours of partial sun every day.

How To Fix

Consider the variety of the hosta plant you own to ensure it gets enough sunlight. If you’re growing hosta indoors but struggling to thrive, move it to an area of the home where it only receives a few hours of indirect sunlight daily.

For outdoor plants, bear in mind hosts can tolerate shady conditions. If you don’t want to transplant your hosta into a shaded area of the garden, you can give it some shade by planting a larger plant next to it to block out some of the sunlight. Some good examples of companion plants for hostas include ferns and astilbe.

3. Your Hosta Isn’t Getting the Right Amount of Water

One of the easiest ways to boost the growth of your hosta is to ensure you’re giving it enough water. Hostas require about one inch (2.54 centimeters) of water every week.

How To Fix

If the soil feels dry about an inch beneath the surface, that’s an excellent indication to water your hosta plant. If you conduct this test regularly, it will prevent you from over-or under-watering your plant.

You should stop watering your hosta when the weather cools down and you see the first frost has occurred. You need not water because this is the time when the hosta will become dormant for the winter.

However, if you live in an area that doesn’t experience snow, such as Miami, Florida, you should continue to water your hosta during the colder months.

If you’re watering your hosta plant regularly, but it still looks like it’s battling to grow, the problem could be that water is evaporating from its soil. Add a three-inch (7.62 cm) layer of mulch around the plant. This barrier will prevent the water from escaping.

4.Your Soil pH Is Out of Balance

Every plant requires a specific soil pH to grow healthy. Hostas require soil that’s got a pH of between 6.5 and 7.5.

Soil pH less than seven is considered acidic, seven is neutral, and anything higher than seven is alkaline, as Iowa State University reports. So, hosta plants can do well in slightly acidic, neutral, or alkaline soils.

How To Fix

You should first test your soil to ensure it’s at the correct pH for hostas. You can do this with a DIY pH kit.

I recommend purchasing the Luster Leaf Soil Test Kit from Amazon. It provides the soil pH reference list for over 450 plants and tests your soil for nutrients such as nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus, so it’s a versatile gardening tool.

Once you’ve tested your soil pH, you’ll know if it’s too acidic or alkaline, then you can adjust it.

  • If your soil is too alkaline, you can increase its acidity by adding organic matter such as peat moss. Add three inches of peat moss to the soil surface. Gently work it into the topsoil underneath.
  • If your soil is too acidic, add pulverized lime to the soil. This substance is ideal for use in areas of the U.S. where the soil is acidic, such as Northern California. The ground quickly absorbs this finely-ground limestone, so it’s better than granular lime.

5. Voles Are Attacking Your Hosta Plant

Some pests could be feeding on your hosta plant and causing its growth to slow down. A common pest is a vole, otherwise known as a meadow mouse. These animals consume both the roots and base of hosta plants.

You can tell if voles have attacked your plant by checking its foliage for chewed holes. You might even notice these grayish-brown mice scurrying around your plants during the day.

How To Fix

To prevent voles from eating your hosta, you must make some soil amendments. Apply a vole repellent to the soil around your hosta plant as this will protect the plant by producing an unpleasant odor that voles don’t like.

I recommend purchasing Molemax Mole & Vole Repellent from Amazon. These granules are biodegradable, so they’re safe for use around plants, pets, and children. They work effectively to repel voles by entering deeply into the soil.

Another way to keep voles away from outdoor hosta plants is to install fences around the plants. Make sure you bury the fence wire underground to around two feet (or 0.6 meters) so the voles won’t be able to dig underneath it to get to your plants.

6. A Fungus Is Attacking Your Hosta Plant

A fungus called anthracnose can make your hosta struggle to grow while also turning some of its leaves brown so that they die. As Chicago Tribune reports, this fungus produces white or tan spots on the leaves.

Anthracnose fungus thrives in areas with little air circulation, such as if you planted many hosta plants closely together.

How To Fix

Although you might consider purchasing a fungicide to treat the problem, this is only useful to use as a preventative measure. You can, however, do a few other things to eliminate fungus from your hosta plant.

  • Remove any infected leaves from the plant so that it can grow healthier foliage.
  • Don’t overwater your hosta as moisture attracts the fungus. When watering hostas, ensure that you do so early in the morning so that moisture will evaporate from the plant leaves.
  • Transplant any hosta plants that live too closely together. Leave about 12 inches (or 30 centimeters) of space between individual plants.

7. Your Hosta Container Is Too Small

One of the best things about growing hostas indoors is that they tend to fare well in containers. That said, if you’re growing your hosta inside the home, you must ensure it’s in a large enough container to accommodate its growth, bearing in mind that hostas grow horizontally.

If your hosta container is too small, the plant could experience stunted growth.

How To Fix

Select a pot as wide as the expected amount of foliage the hosta plant will produce. As The Spruce reports, this size is usually around 12 to 18 inches (or 30 to 45 centimeters) for most hosta varieties.

If you’re grouping hostas in the same container, make sure they are 12 inches (or 30 centimeters) away from each other, so they don’t become overcrowded.

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If your hosta plant looks like it’s struggling or won’t grow anymore, there are some common reasons, such as:

  • Lack of nutrients
  • Excessive sunlight
  • Incorrect water levels
  • Incorrect soil pH
  • Vole predation
  • Fungal attacks
  • Unsuitable container size.

Knowing how to remedy the issues your hosta plant is experiencing can bring it back to health and restart its growth process. Ultimately your beautiful hostas will reward your time and efforts with gorgeous and abundant foliage.

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