By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer
Have you ever thought about growing hosta indoors? Typically, hostas are grown outdoors in shady or semi-shady areas, either in the ground or in containers. However, just because growing hosta as an indoor plant isn’t the norm, that doesn’t mean it can’t be done – and beautifully at that! Read on to learn how to grow hosta indoors.
Definitely! However, growing hosta indoors requires a bit more care and attention to ensure the plant’s needs are met.
Begin with the right container for your hosta. Some varieties require a very large pot, while small cultivars do fine in a relatively small container. To prevent rot, be sure the container has a drainage hole in the bottom.
Place the hosta where it receives bright, indirect sunlight. Avoid direct sunlight, which is too intense. As with many other houseplants, they appreciate time outdoors during spring and summer, preferably in a somewhat shady location.
With hosta houseplant care, you’ll want to water indoor hosta plants whenever the soil feels slightly dry, as hosta prefers soil that is consistently moist, but never soggy. Water deeply until excess trickles through the drainage hole, then let the pot drain thoroughly. Avoid wetting the leaves.
Fertilize hosta every other week during the growing season, using a water-soluble fertilizer for houseplants.
Unlike most indoor plants, indoor hostas require a period of dormancy during the winter, which replicates the plant’s normal outdoor growing conditions. Move the plant to a dark room where temperatures remain cool – about 40 F. (4 C.), but never freezing. The leaves may drop off during dormancy. Don’t worry; this is par for the course.
Protect the roots with a layer of shredded bark or another organic mulch. Water the hosta lightly once a month throughout the winter months. While the plant requires little moisture during this time, the soil shouldn’t be allowed to become bone dry.
Return the hosta to its normal location in spring and care for as normal. Move the hosta to a larger container whenever the plant outgrows its pot – generally once every two or three years. If the plant has become larger than you like, this is a good time to divide it.
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Hostas can be grown indoors, but as perennials, hostas need to go into dormancy and be chilled. They need at least 6 weeks of temperatures below 42°F in the winter to go into and stay in dormancy. Depending upon your soil, hostas may need fertilizer.
Furthermore, how do you winterize hosta plants? Allow the hosta foliage to die off naturally as winter approaches. The leaves nourish the rhizomes (roots) beneath the soil. Apply a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch over the crown of the plant before the first hard freeze occurs in the fall. Extend the layer outward to the dripline (edges of leaves) of the plant.
Similarly, how do you care for a potted hosta?
When growing hostas in pots, use a standard potting soil (never garden soil) and water the plant in. Some growers recommend a soil that is fast draining. Set the container outside in a part-sun or shady spot. While some hostas can take deep shade, most prefer dappled shade or a bit of morning sun.
How late in the year can you plant hostas?
Spring and late summer are the ideal times to plant hostas, because they are in active growth phases and will take root easily. If you're going to plant hostas in late summer, do it at least six weeks before the first frost.
Hostas are normally planted as potted transplants or bare root divisions. They are most often used in shade gardens, where their ornamental foliage brightens dim areas. They work very well in groups or in masses and are also good as background plants or specimens in shady borders or woodland gardens. Yellow-leaved varieties are somewhat more tolerant of sun, but no hostas will thrive in perpetually hot, sunny areas.
Hostas need a minimum of six weeks of weather below 42 degrees Fahrenheit to go dormant during the winter. Outdoors, this occurs naturally in most areas, but it's a notable challenge of growing hostas indoors. Indoor pots can be stored in a garage, basement, or crawlspace (even in refrigerator) to ensure dormancy. Temperatures must be between 33 and 41 degrees Fahrenheit so the plants do not freeze.
Hostas are true shade garden plants that can survive in full shade. However, many varieties grow best when they receive dappled sun for a few hours each day. When plants have green and yellow variegated leaves, exposure to morning sun helps enhance the yellow coloring. Check the specific light requirements of your hosta variety. If the leaves develop brown tips, they have faded areas, or their color is dull, the plant may be getting too much sun.
Hostas are tolerant of most types of soil, provided it is well-drained. They do not do well in clay soil, which holds too much moisture. They also like their soil rich and fertile, full of organic matter. For container plants, use a standard commercial potting soil that is well-drained.
Water hostas as needed to keep the soil moist but not wet. Once established, hostas will tolerate occasional dry soil, but they will not survive long periods of drought unless they are regularly watered. Watering is best done near the base of the plant, beneath the leaves, rather than overhead watering, which tends to attract slugs and snails. When growing hostas indoors, maintain a regular watering schedule to keep the soil moist.
Hostas are not fussy about temperature or humidity and can grow in a wide range of climates. It's best to plant them in a location that is protected from strong winds. Comfortable indoor temperatures are good for hosta houseplants.
Often the best and easiest way to feed hostas is by adding a healthy layer of compost to the soil in the spring. This feeds nutrients to the soil and helps promote the soil food web. You can also feed hostas with a well-balanced organic fertilizer, applied after planting or when plants begin to come up in spring. Be careful not to get fertilizer granules trapped in the leaves, which can burn them.
Fertilizing hostas in containers is a bit more involved, since the higher frequency of watering strips the soil of nutrients relatively quickly. Feed potted plants at the start of the growing season with a slow-release fertilizer. Feed biweekly (once every two weeks) with water-soluble fertilizer throughout the growing season. Stop feeding four months prior to the winter dormancy period to gradually harden off the plant.
Water hostas once in the day and again at night during the warmer months to prevent them from drying out. Hostas are heavy feeders by nature.
Fertilize your hostas well with slow-release fertilizer granules to counteract the nutrients lost from watering. Apply fertilizer containing 10-10-10 (nitrogen - potassium - phosphorus) ratios three to four times per year.
Repot your hostas every two or three years to provide more room for the roots to spread. Choose a pot twice the size of the plant to give them room to grow.
Divide your hostas when potting to decrease the size of the plant. Doing so will give you more plants to enjoy.
Provide fresh soil when you repot, and disentangle the roots. Make sure the roots are free to extend straight out from the crown without bending or folding.
Place the pot near a window to get enough natural light, and avoid directly placing them in direct sunlight or against a window that generates too much heat.
Hostas can tolerate light, but the heat they cannot tolerate.
Do not use incandescent light bulbs as these can cause drying or wilting.