It is possible to grow hostas successfully in containers. When you grow hostas in pots or containers it provides you with an advantage – they become portable. However, while growing hostas in containers you need to ensure that the soil in the pots has proper drainage, as this will prevent the roots from rotting. In addition, you need to grow hostas in sufficiently large containers to provide adequate space for the growth of the roots as well as the plants. There should also be an adequate number of holes at the bottom of the pots to ensure excellent drainage. However, remember to cover these drainage holes with rocks, any porous substance or a wire screening so that they do not let the growing medium to drain out along with water. Even when you are growing hostas in containers, it would be prudent to re-plant them in the ground during the fall and excavate and re-pot them in spring.
When the hostas become larger, you need to transplant them into bigger containers with a view to avoid the plants from becoming root-bound. It is essential to water hostas grown in containers daily or once in two days when the weather conditions are hot or windy. In addition, you will be required to provide the potted hostas with fertilizers on a regular basis, as it will compensate the removal of nutrients by leaching when you water the plants. Similar to the hostas grown in the ground, even potted hostas will become latent during the winter months. It is never wise to keep the containers outdoors during the winter months, or the plants will decompose or wither away. It is advisable that you place the containers in a site where they will be protected from any overhead moisture. The ideal place to keep the containers during the winter months should be a porch or an unheated garage.
Place the plants outdoors when they start regrowing during the spring. However, never place the potted plants outdoors till the threat of last frost in your region is over. Initially, you may place the plants outdoors during the day or when the temperature rises above the freezing point and take them indoors if there is any forecast regarding frosts. Also never water the potted plants in excess during the winter months, as water expands when it freezes and this can result in the cracking or breaking of the pots and destroy the plants. As a result of this, the plants may heave out of the soil.
Potted hosta plants may generate plenty of interested when they are placed on patios, shaded decks, and other areas close to your house, especially where paving disallows planting. A container that is placed strategically may possibly create a feature, while using a group of similar containers growing hostas can also be used in the form of a screen and conceal things behind it that you do not wish to see or show others. Sometimes you will notice that there are unwanted gaps, especially in a mixed border which were not in your original plan, but appear later. When other vegetation’s do not help to cover the gap, you may hollow out the earth in that place and bury the container in which you are growing a hosta. Occasionally, you will also find that the roots of mature trees in your garden will thwart you from planting any other vegetation below them. In such cases, you may place the potted hostas under the mature trees.
Growing hostas in containers is not only easier compared to growing them in the ground, but also provides an instantaneous impact. It is also a wonderful way to grow hostas if you are living in a small apartment or any retirement home having very less space for any kind of gardening activities. Ideally, potted hostas may be placed in several locations, including any graveled, paved or concrete areas in and around your home.
Choosing Suitable Containers
You will be happy to know that an assortment of pots and containers is available in the market and their prices vary greatly. Several vividly colored and designed pots are available in the market and these will offer you plenty of fun while coordinating the colors of your collection.
On the other hand, wooden containers sold in the market have a more natural look and they also last for longer periods of time. As concrete and stone containers are too heavy, they may prove to be inappropriate. Nevertheless, you may still consider buying them provided you want to place them in a permanent position. Always keep in mind that using lesser number of pots, which are relatively large, usually create a better visual impact, especially when you are practicing container planting. Compared to smaller pots, less watering is required for the larger ones.
Planting Up Your Containers
It is essential for the pots to have holes for proper drainage. In order to avoid these holes from becoming blocked, you need to place some stones or small parts of broken pots in the base of these containers. On top of these stones or broken pot pieces, you need to place a gravel layer to make sure that the drainage is free from any obstruction to avoid the plants from being waterlogged and thereby resulting in their premature death. Subsequently, fill the pots with a potting mix and also add some amount of slow-release fertilizer. Prior to planting young hostas, it will be useful if you water the potting mix with a view to allow it to settle down. When this is achieved, add some more potting mix to top off the growing medium.
All these done, you are ready to plant the young hostas. In case the hosta has come in a pot or a bag, you need to tease the plant’s roots with a view to make them free and start growing in the potting mix. Once the planting is complete, ensure that you water them well. When the plants start growing robustly, add another layer of properly decomposed manure on top of the potting mix. In case manure is not available, you can also use compost – it is also excellent for the growth of the young hostas. In addition, if you want, you may also provide the plants with a foliar feed from time to time. You also need to ensure that you water the plants as and when necessary – usually once daily during the summer. Also remember that you should never fuss with or disturb the plants. Generally, hostas are not disturbed by weeds as the shade of the hostas’ leaves does not allow the weeds to thrive.
Container Gardening in Cold Climates
Similar to the attention required by hostas grown in the gardens, those grown in containers also need to be tended well. Provided your region is not affected by heavy frosting or snowing during the winter months, you may possibly just require tidying up the plants immediately when they die back. In addition, you also need to water them from time to time throughout the winter.
When the temperature starts dropping outside and the plants begin to die back, get rid of the withered leaves and flower scapes. Subsequently, place the pots under a shed, garage or even a protected porch, where the temperature will remain comparatively steady and not fall further than the freezing point. When the temperature remains stable, it will put off the plants’ efforts to grow outside the season. At the same time, ensure that the pots do not endure a freeze-thaw cycle either. If you are unable to prevent this, it may harm the plants, besides causing the pots to crack or break up. It is therefore advised that you should water the pots lightly all through the winter, because you would definitely not want the soil in the container to desiccate completely during the winter.
Hostas grown in containers are not as protected from temperature changes compared to those grown in the gardens. As a result, hostas in containers will generally develop shoots quite early. Here is a word of caution. Just because these plants have shooted early don’t think that they have started growing and you can place the containers outdoors. It will be prudent if you wait till the last date of frost in your region has passed. If you put the plants outside before this, it is very likely that you will lose all the plants that you have protected carefully thus far. In case you have grown the plants in pots that are very heavy to be transported indoors during the winter, it is advisable that you bury the plants in your garden and pot them again during the next spring.
Positioning Your Pots
Generally, pots seem to be best when arranged in various ways. You may place the pots of similar type in the same group or create a work of art by placing containers of dissimilar sizes and diverse hostas varieties. Alternatively, you may just use one container or pot as the center of attraction. When you are at such an exhilarating planning phase, it is necessary to keep in mind that you are actually planting hostas and not daises. Therefore, it will be crucial to select locations that do not receive sunlight during the afternoon. However, morning sunlight is good enough for the hostas. In reality, if the hostas do not receive some sunlight, the plants will seem to be sickly and they will definitely not produce flowers.