When To Fertilize Hostas – A Detailed Guide

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Last Updated on January 22, 2022 by

Here is a complete guide for when to fertilize hostas, what type of fertilizers to use, and how to use them to help all the gardeners growing this beautiful plant.

Most gardeners with this subject was discussed in detail to help them understand all it entails in fertilizing hostas. We have hereby prepared a detailed guide about hostas, the right fertilizer, and when to fertilize them.

Hostas are popular shade-loving plants that are cultivated as perennials due to their easy care and sustainability.  They are easily recognized by their foliage and upright flower stems which bear lavender blooms during summer.

Is It Wise To Use Fertilizer On Hosta Plants?

These beautiful plants don’t need much fertilizer but feeding them is a good idea if your soil is poor or if your hosta is not thriving.  Knowing how and when to feed your hosta will improve their appearance in the garden helping them reach their mature height.

Is It Wise To Use Fertilizer On Hosta Plants

Choosing The Right Fertilizer For Hostas

Hostas prefer a garden that is rich in organic matter. It is, therefore, best to amend the soil with animal manure or compost manure.

Its roots spread horizontally not vertically therefore work the compost or the animal manure to a depth of 8 to 12 inches.  With the compost in the soil, test the soil to determine if additional fertilizer is needed. You can test it professionally or use a DIY home soil test kit.

Check for the nutrient level s well as the pH.  Hostas thrive in soils that are neutral with a pH range of 6.5 to 7.5.  Adding compost to the neutral soil on a yearly basis is one way of supplementing the required nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous levels to the soil.  Compost also supplies a variety of macronutrients beneficial to the plant.  The benefit of compost is the fact that you can reapply any time throughout the season. Organic matter also improves the overall soil quality and drainage more than other types of fertilizers.

Choosing The Right Fertilizer For Hostas

Should you prefer to use commercial fertilizers, it is advisable to first carry out a soil test to determine what kind of fertilizer you will need.  For established hosta plants, better consider retesting the soil every 3 to 5 years.  Choose a 10-10-10 fertilizer for your hostas because it’s a sure bet.

When To Fertilize Hostas

The best time to begin feeding the hosta is in the spring season when the leaves emerge from the ground.

For best growth, continue to fertilize a hosta plant every 4 to 6 weeks while the leaves are growing.  The foliage growth slows down during bloom as all the energy is directed to the flowers and seeds.  The nitrogen needs for the plant at this time also drops.

Do not feed your hosta plant after mid to late summer.  If you fertilize at this time, it triggers new growth that is likely to be nipped by fros.

Fertilizer Needs For New Hosta Transplants

The best time to split and transplant hostas are in the spring or fall before the seasonal rains. Newly planted hostas need to renew their root systems and are very vulnerable during this time.  During this time, the hosta plant is working hard to grow the leaf which needs more nutrients.

Southern Ag All Purpose Granular Fertilizer 10-10-10, 5 LB

71X LjR9cOL. AC SL1500

To encourage good root growth apply a starter fertilizer.  These formulas have higher levels of phosphorous which promotes root growth.  You can also use a slow-release fertilizer that will nourish the plant for several weeks consistently.  Excess fertilization causes delay or dormancy.

How To Fertilize Hostas

After transplanting and once your hosta is established, provide a dose of fertilizer to support the new growth in spring.  This ensures the plant continues to perform at its best.

You can give your plant a slow-release fertilizer that lasts 6 to 9 months depending on the climate and time of application.  A 6-month fertilizer works well when applied and sustains the plant throughout its growing period.

If you prefer not to use a slow-release, apply a regular well-balanced fertilizer like the 10-10-10 or 12-12-12 every six weeks.  You may also use a water-soluble fertilizer every couple of weeks.  Water-soluble fertilizers are the easiest way to feed hostas in containers.


How much should I fertilize hostas?

Hostas are very forgiving. If you over-fertilize, it will not be apparent until they start to bloom and the leaves turn yellow. The best way to judge how much fertilizer to apply is by looking at the foliage. You can also use a fertilizer test kit.

When I started gardening I was told to use 5-10 gallons of fertilizer per 100 square feet of hosta. I now use 8-12.I have found that if you are using liquid fertilizer it takes longer to work through the soil and into the plants.

I also use some mulch and cover crops, but this is only during the winter. I know that this is not the best way to fertilize.

Can you over fertilize hostas?

I'm growing hostas for the first time in about ten years. I've read that it is best to fertilize them just once a year and apply a general purpose fertilizer. I've read that this is good because it keeps the roots from spreading out too much and not getting enough sunlight. I have been doing this for a few months and I noticed that my hostas are getting bushy and look like they are ready to bloom.

I know that I need to water them and I've been doing that but I've also been fertilizing them every two weeks, just a little bit of general purpose fertilizer. The last time I fertilized them, I had to add some extra to make up for the lack of growth.

How do you encourage hostas to grow?

I have about 20 hostas in my garden, and they are doing very well. I water them every day, and they seem to like it. But how do you encourage more to grow? I move them around a bit. However, Hostas are slow growing, so you need to give them a chance to establish themselves before moving them. If you have large containers, consider using a peat potting mix instead of normal soil. They like to be root bound and if the roots don't get a chance to grow, they will rot. When you plant hostas, be sure to set them in areas that receive at least six hours of direct sunlight each day.

Do hostas like sun?

A lot of people are surprised that hostas do well in partial shade, and if you have any at all, you should definitely try it. The hosta “Sunshine” is a great performer in the shade, but it really shines when the sun comes out.

How do you keep hostas healthy?

The answer is easy: you water them. I’m not talking about sprinkling a little water on the leaves, either. I’m talking about soaking the entire plant in a bucket of water every day. If you don’t, the plant will shrivel up and die.

Hosta Fertilizer Conclusion

Now that you know when to fertilize hostas and how to do it, go ahead and feed your plants.  Be careful not to overdo fertilizing – too little is always better than too much.    Too much fertilizer will burn your plants and kill them.

Remember to always apply the fertilizer according to the label recommendations. The key to growing healthy plants lies in knowing when and what types of fertilizer to apply.

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