When To Plant Hostas For A Lush, Green Garden

Thanks to their shade-tolerant, low-maintenance nature, hostas are some of the most popular plants where they thrive — in zones three through eight. Also known as plantain lilies, hostas are as easy on the eyes as they are to care for. Every gardener's hosta journey must start, however, with obtaining a plant and then deciding where and when to plant it. Fortunately for novice gardeners, the time of year you can plant hostas is a bit more flexible than other plants — as long as you don't cut it too close to the first frost, you should be fine. Additionally, finding a location is easy. Hostas prefer partial or even full shade, so they're perfectly happy with filling in the spots in your lawn or garden where other sun-loving plants can't survive. 

While the timing for planting hostas is flexible, there are certain times you might want to aim for in order to help your plants truly thrive. When adding hostas to your landscaping plans, consider spring or summer planting. Why? The answer lies in the plant's notorious preference for shady surroundings. 

Soil temperature and sun exposure

When a plant is transplanted, a higher soil temperature generally means faster-growing roots. Based on this fact, logic would suggest that most plants should be planted in the summer when soil temperatures are the highest. However, this conclusion doesn't take sun exposure into consideration. Most plants require some direct — or at least partial — sunlight to thrive. During summer, sun exposure can become so prolonged and intense that young or sun-sensitive plants can suffer burns and struggle to retain enough water to thrive.

Since hostas thrive in the shade, however, they can benefit from the warmest soil temperatures of summer without suffering the negative effects of the season's scorching direct sun exposure. Hostas can also be planted during the spring, if you'd like to get a head start. However, avoid planting too late in the growing season since the plants will require at least a month before they are potentially exposed to any early fall frosts. 

Companion plants for hostas

Luckily, hostas aren't the only plants that prefer shade and can therefore handle being planted during the warm, sunny months of spring and summer. If you're hoping to add an entire garden or section of landscaping, it shouldn't be too difficult to find other plants that will play well with your new hostas. If you're looking for other greenery options, try Solomon's seal, ostrich fern, or Japanese forest grass.

If contrast is what you're after, give the vibrant leaves of coral belle or red leaf mukdenia a try. For those who are looking for striking, unique perennial flowers to pair with their hosta plants, consider fluffy white foamflowers or astilbes. When bold, colorful flowers are your goal, go for pigsqueak, spiderwort, primrose, or violas. Don't let shade stop you from living out your gardening dreams this summer. Hostas and other sun-shy plants are waiting to jump in and save the day in all your low-light, warm-soil areas.