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How To Keep Hosta Leaves Healthy – All Season Long!

Looking for a few tips, tricks and secrets to keep the gorgeous leaves of your hosta plant healthy and looking great all summer long?

The big, bright foliage of a hosta plant can certainly be a showstopper in flowerbeds. The shade loving plant’s massive leaf canopy can bring huge color and interest, whether as the focal point of an entire flowerbed – or as the perfect compliment to flowering annuals and perennials growing along with them.

But if there is one drawback to hostas, it’s that although they start out in the spring and early summer with a strong and robust canopy of foliage, their gorgeous leaves can often become tattered, faded and weak by mid-summer.

keep hosta leaves looking healthy
The leaves of a hosta plant fill flowerbeds with intense color and beauty. From solid and variegated varieties in shades of green, white, cream and even blueish-green, there is a hosta plant to fit almost every need.

If that wasn’t bad enough, once weakened, the plants become an easy target for pests. From slugs to cutworms, aphids and more, hostas can become a virtual buffet. The end result is a plant whose leaves are anything but beautiful in your flowerbeds.

But here is the good news – with just a few simple care tips, you don’t have to lose your hostas to summer heat and pests. And even better, as you will see below, even if your hostas are already looking sad and less than desirable in your beds, there are a few easy tricks to bring them back to life!

With that in mind, here is a look at how to keep the foliage on your hostas big, bright and beautiful. From spring – right up until late fall!

How To Keep Hosta Leaves Healthy

Fertilize Your Hostas Regularly

Although not heavy feeders from the soil, hosta plants do need ample energy and nutrients to help keep their foliage healthy. And by simply supplying them regular low doses of power, you can do wonders for keeping their leaves bright and beautiful.

The key to success when fertilizing hostas is to not overpower them at any one point. A steady, low dose of energy is far better than large intermittent doses.

5-5-5 all purpose fertilizer
A low and slow release granular fertilizer is best for powering hostas.

To keep foliage strong, a monthly dose of a balanced fertilizer works best. Look for all-purpose fertilizers that have a Nitrogen-Phosphorous-Potassium (N-P-K) makeup of 5-5-5 or 10-10-10. These will gradually power the foliage as they release their energy slowly. Affiliate Product Link : Natural Alternative 5-5-5 All-Purpose Plant Food

As an alternative, you can also apply a few inches of compost around the base of the plant monthly. Compost will act in much the same way as an all-purpose fertilizer, leaching its power down through the soil every time it rains or you water.

Getting Weak Plants To Perk Up – How To Keep Hosta Leaves Healthy

If your plants are looking like they need a boost immediately, you can perk them up with a dose of liquid fertilizer. Again, look for a well balanced liquid fertilizer with near equal N-P-K ratios. Another great alternative for liquid feeding is compost tea. See: How To Make Great Compost Tea With Ease

Once the plant bounces back, the granular applications should be enough to keep the foliage strong for the remainder of the summer.

Stop all fertilizing about six weeks before your average first frost date. Fertilizing too late in the year can cause the roots to not properly shut down for the winter dormancy season. That, in turn, can put the plant at risk of freezing out over the winter.

Remove Bloom Stems – How To Keep Hosta Leaves Healthy

Believe it or not – one of the best ways you can help your hostas stay bright and vibrant is to not let them bloom!

Although hostas do shoot up long bloom stems in mid-summer, the flowers are not all that impressive. The small blooms do give a bit of brief color to the plant, but at the expense of burning a lot of energy from the plant. Energy that could instead be going to keeping the foliage strong and healthy.

By simply snipping off bloom shoots back to the base of the plant, you can conserve the energy the plant spends on trying to bloom. Not only does it help the foliage stay brighter, it also keeps the root system more energized as well.

If you do enjoy hosta blooms, deadheading as soon as they begin to fade will help as well. Although they will use resources to flower, cutting these back quickly will help the plant to still conserve some energy.

Rejuvenating Damaged Hostas – How To Keep Hosta Leaves Healthy

So what can you do for hosta plants that are already severely damaged by mid-summer? Whether your plants are suffering from insect damage, a dining visit from deer, rabbits and groundhogs, or they simply have become overgrown, weak and worn out – all hope is not lost!

Hosta plants are actually one of the most forgiving plants of all. And even better, one of the most durable and hardy perennials too.

For heavily damaged plants, a simple shearing back to their base is the perfect remedy to bring them back to life. Not only does it remove the unsightly leaves and clean up the look of your flowerbed space, it will force the plant to regrow all new leaves to once again bring beauty to your beds.

host leaves - keep hosta plants leaves healthy
The blooms of hosta plants are not exactly flashy. By removing the bloom stems before they flower, you can conserve more power for the foliage. It can be key in helping hosta plants to stay vibrant and healthy.

Hosta plants can regrow their leaves at almost any point during the growing season. By cutting back the entire plant back to ground level, the leaves will return as if it’s spring. Instead of wasting their energy trying to heal damaged and decaying foliage, the root system refocuses on simply growing.

Simply take a sharp pair of hedge shears and cut the leaves back to within an inch of the ground. Once cut back, apply a dose of granular fertilizer and water in around the base. In no time at all, your hosta will begin shooting new growth up from the ground!

Dividing Overgrown Hostas In The Summer

Hosta plants are so tough and durable you can even divide them in the middle of summer. To do so, cut back all of the foliage to the ground. Remove the roots as a single ball. Next, flip over, and slice into equal sections to create new plants.

All that is left to do is replant and water! Within a few weeks, each of the divisions will begin to grow new foliage. Dividing in the summer can actually be extremely beneficial. It allows you to see the plant at full size and determine if division is necessary or not. Often, it’s hard to know that in the early spring when plants are just coming out.

Here is to keeping your hosta leaves healthy and beautiful all season long!

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