How do you make hostas bushier?

Answered by Jarrod Smith

To make hostas bushier, there are a few key steps and techniques you can follow. Hostas are known for their lush foliage, and with proper care, you can enhance their growth and create a fuller, more vibrant plant. Here is a detailed guide on how to make your hostas bushier:

1. Choose the right variety: There are many different varieties of hostas available, each with its own growth habit and leaf shape. Some varieties naturally have a more compact and bushy habit, so selecting these types can make the process easier. Look for varieties labeled as “compact” or “dense” when purchasing hostas.

2. Provide adequate sunlight: Hostas prefer partial shade or filtered sunlight, but they still need a few hours of direct sunlight each day to thrive. If your hostas are not getting enough sunlight, they may become leggy and have weaker growth. Ensure they are planted in a location that receives the appropriate amount of light.

3. Amend the soil: Hostas prefer moist, well-draining soil rich in organic matter. Before planting, amend the soil with compost or well-rotted manure to improve its fertility and drainage. This will provide the hostas with the nutrients they need for vigorous growth.

4. Water regularly: Hostas require consistent watering, especially during dry periods. Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Water deeply at the base of the plant to encourage deep root growth. Avoid overhead watering, as wet foliage can lead to diseases.

5. Fertilize appropriately: Regular fertilization can help promote bushier growth in hostas. Use a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in early spring when new growth emerges. Follow the package instructions for application rates. Additionally, you can supplement with a liquid fertilizer during the growing season to provide an extra boost of nutrients.

6. Divide and transplant: Over time, hostas can become overcrowded, leading to reduced growth and vigor. Dividing and transplanting hostas every 3-5 years can help rejuvenate the plants and encourage bushier growth. Dig up the clump, carefully separate the individual plants, and replant them in well-prepared soil with adequate spacing.

7. Prune and remove spent flowers: Removing spent flowers and pruning back any damaged or yellowing foliage can help redirect the plant’s energy into producing new growth and a bushier appearance. Use clean, sharp pruners to make clean cuts and avoid damaging the plant.

8. Use Epsom salt foliar spray: As mentioned in the question, Epsom salt can be used as a foliar spray to promote rapid growth and lush foliage in hostas. Mix 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt in 1 gallon of water and spray once a month during the rapid growth period. When growth slows down, reduce the quantity to 1 tablespoon. This foliar application will provide the hostas with magnesium, a nutrient essential for healthy growth.

By following these steps and providing the proper care, you can make your hostas bushier and enjoy a more vibrant and lush display in your garden. Remember to monitor the plants regularly, address any pest or disease issues promptly, and adjust your care routine as needed to ensure optimal growth and health.