Hostas are great for growing in pots, as their luxurious foliage can be very stylish and, as each sculpted leaf finds its space in the light, the plants develop elegant shapes that are shown off brilliantly. Even the spikes, or ‘scapes’, of trumpet-shaped flowers can look good, plus they’re often scented and attract bees in to the garden. There’s a wide choice of shapes, sizes and leaf patterns, which can all add drama to a shady corner of the garden or patio, so why not group a few pots together for some real impact?
Which? Gardening magazine rated 20 commonly available varieties of hosta to find the best for growing in pots. To discover our recommendations, subscribe online to Which? Gardening or call 029 2267 0000.
Caption: Hostas make colourful plants for the patio
Use a Best Buy compost for pots and add a Best Buy controlled-release fertiliser.
Large pots (40-45cm in diameter and depth) are easier to keep moist than smaller pots.
One 2L-pot plant should fill a 40-45cm diameter pot within two or three years, unless it’s a very compact variety. To fill a pot faster, or if starting with smaller plants, plant two or three then take them out and divide them when they outgrow the pot.
Caption: Use Best Buy compost when planting your hostas
CARING FOR YOUR PLANTS
Place the pot in shade or part shade. Hostas with blue leaves tend to need the most shade, while those with paler leaves can have better colour if they get morning sun.
Water regularly so the compost doesn’t dry out.
When the pot gets congested with roots and leaves, either move the plant to a larger pot or take it out and divide it into sections (in autumn or spring). Replant some of these plants into fresh compost mixed with controlled-release fertiliser.
PEST AND DISEASE
Waterlogged pots can lead to a fungal rot in the crown of the plant. Replant in fresh compost if that happens.
Leaves can scorch in too much sun or if the soil dries out.
Slugs and snails love hostas so pick off any slugs and snails you find or treat your pot with some organic slug pellets containing ferric phosphate, especially as new leaves start to grow in spring.
Caption: Snails love to eat hostas
Vine weevil can attack hostas grown in pots. Check the compost for white, c-shaped grubs between late summer and winter. Use a biological control in August or September, or a chemical control (Bug Clear Ultra Vine Weevil Killer) at any time.