How to Make Hostas Grow Bigger: 21 Tips and Tricks

Do you want to learn how to make your hostas grow bigger? Check out our list of helpful tips that can help you to grow big, beautiful hostas. Let’s get started…

Do you want to know the secret on how to make hostas grow big? Everyone dreams of having huge, lush hostas sprawling over their yard, but this can be easier said than done. Luckily, I’m an experienced gardener who takes great pride in my massive hostas. I invite you to read as I share my most successful secrets, tips, and tricks below!

1. Practice Patience

Garden statue of sleeping boy with hostas in the background

Wouldn’t it be fantastic if you could plant your hostas one day and come back out the next to a full and lush garden brimming with huge plants? However, everything good comes to those who wait, and this includes big hostas. By nature, hostas grow rapidly, and they can take between two and four years to grow to their full potential. The goal when you plant them is to give them enough room to spread out when you first plant them. Remember, some species can spread up to three times as wide as they grow tall.

2. Strike a Balance Between Shade and Sun

To encourage hosta growth, you have to strike the correct balance between shade and sun. Almost all hosta species like to have bright shade. Even sun-tolerant hostas do not grow well in direct sunlight, especially if they’re growing in direct afternoon sun. You want to give your hostas partial to dapple shade. Green, blue, and variegated hostas will grow better in slightly deeper shade conditions while gold and yellow varieties need more light.

3. Don’t Remove the Dead Foliage

When you see dead foliage in your hostas at the end of the growing season, one of the first things you want to do is remove it straight away. However, it’s almost always a better strategy to wait until spring comes around to clean away all of last year’s growth remains. Also, many hosta leaves can go dormant and look dead so you’d be cutting away potentially healthy plant parts.

4. Protect Your Hosta Shoots

Spring hosta shoots just unfurling

Shoots are healthy new growth on your plants. When you see them on your hostas, make a point to take steps to protect them because they can help encourage hosta growth. Generally speaking, the more shoots that appear on a single plant and thrive, the fuller and bigger your plant will be by the end of the growing season

5. When Moving Hostas, Tie up the Leaves

Hostas have sprawling leaves, and they can get in the way when you’re trying to dig up around the base of your hosta to move it. You risk damaging the leaves if they’re in your way by accidentally cutting them with your shovel or trowel. One simple way around this is to tie up your hosta leaves before you start moving it.

6. Don’t Divide Hostas to Make Them Grow Bigger

Hosta with green and yellow striped leaves.

Dividing your hosta plants means that you’ll end up with smaller plants than you originally had. If you want them to grow bigger, leave them be and give them optimal growing conditions. They should have enough water and a mix of shade and sun to take off.

7. Divide the Plants to Make Them Fuller

Any hosta you leave on its own will grow bigger than a hosta you divide or remove the offshoots. Take a large hosta and divide it before spreading the smaller plants out. Planting more of the same hosta species will give you faster results because dividing a large plant and spreading it out is a slower process.

8. Routinely Clean Around Your Hostas

Over time, dead plant material and debris can build up around your hostas. You want to routinely clean around them to remove these things because they make excellent hiding spots for slugs and bugs that could harm your plant. I make a point to do a check and light clean every two weeks or so to keep everything looking nice and my plants healthy.

9. Use Mulch to Keep the Soil Moist

Gardener mulching hostas

Hostas love water and moisture, so much so that it’s difficult to keep the soil moist enough to grow hostas big. Mulch is a good way to help retain moisture, and it can add nutrients to the soil if it’s a type that breaks down and rots. You want to keep it away from directly resting on your hostas to prevent too much water from gathering around the stems and rot.

10. Create the Best Soil for Your Hostas

Spading the soil in preparation to planting

Do you already have a good garden soil in place? Did you know you can improve it to grow hostas fast and help them thrive? A good example of the best soil for hostas has 10 parts Douglas fir bark mixed with one part of peat moss or coir and one part double-screened pumice. You add in a little insecticide and fertilizer and you’re ready to go.

11. Choose Your Hosta Varieties Carefully

Which varieties of hostas do you want to grow? Generally speaking, giant hostas are great for sprawling gardens or corners where you need to fill in space. Popular varieties include the Gentle Giant Hosta, Empress Wu Hosta, Sum and Substance Hosta, Blue Angel Hosta, Hosta Victory, and the Dream Weaver Hosta. For miniature, small, medium, or large hostas to fill in the shaded areas around your yard, look for Frances Williams, Patriot, Halcyon, Blue Mouse Ears, Sunpower, and Shadowland Coast to Coast hostas because they’re very beginner-friendly species.

12. Plant Your Hostas Correctly

Planting hostas can seem intimidating, it’s actually an easy process. Start by choosing your location carefully and deciding if you want any companion plants in your design. Roses and hostas grow well together.  Dig the hole for your hosta, making it the same depth it was in the pot. Add your hosta, backfill the hole, and lightly tamp down before applying a layer of mulch and giving it a good drink of water. If you’re worried about weeds, plant your hostas in a rock garden to give in a splash of color, and the rock will act as a natural weed barrier.

13. Water Your Hostas Properly

Hostas grow rapidly and have big leaves, and this makes them water lovers. Ideally, you’ll give them a generous amount of water all season long. Through the growing season, you want to give your hostas a deep, slow soaking at a rate of an inch per week. A single deep soaking session is better than trying to perform several lighter watering sessions.

14. Introduce Nutrients by Fertilizing Your Hosta Plants

Most gardeners will suggest having your hostas on a conservative feeding program. However, you can tweak this like I did to encourage fast growth as long as your hostas are getting enough water and in the correct lighting conditions. Feed your hostas a slow-release fertilizer at the highest recommended rate for the formulation and brand. Another option is to feed a liquid fertilizer at a 200 ppm rate and a formula or 20-10-20 or 20-20-20 during the active growing season.

15. Plant the Larger Hosta Varieties

Big bold hosta leaves

Giant hostas create gorgeous centerpieces in your yard, even if they can take between four and six years to fully mature. They’re well worth the wait, and three varieties I have in my own yard, including the deep green Empress Wu hosta that can grow 40 inches tall by 70 inches wide, the lime green Sum and Substance hosta that can grow 32 inches tall by 72 inches wide, and the leathery T-Rex hosta that can grow 30 inches tall with an impressive 6-foot span.

16. Introduce Worms to Your Soil

A cluster of red worms from the garden

If you don’t have a lot of worms in your soil, introduce them. Worms help to increase how much water and air makes its way into the soil. They also break down organic matter and leave behind casings that your hostas can use for natural fertilizer to boost their growth. They like loamy and loose soil that is rich in nitrogen and organic materials.

17. Use Epsom Salt for Bigger and Lusher Hosta Growth

A lot of the time when new gardeners realize that their hostas aren’t coming up as they should be, the soil is lacking nutrients like magnesium. An easy way to introduce this mineral back into your garden soil is to add epsom salts. While this won’t be a miracle cure, it can do wonders for improving your overall soil health so your hostas thrive.

18. Revive Your Dying Hostas

If you notice that your hosta isn’t looking the best, you can take steps to save it and bring it back. Carefully remove the damaged hosta from the ground and trim away any dead areas. Get a jar and add enough water to cover the bottom stems and watch for root growth. Once the spout, replant them outside.

19. Perform Routine Maintenance

A white hosta flower spike starting to open.

Performing routine maintenance on your hostas is vital to keeping them healthy. If you notice that the plant’s leaves have damage like brown or yellow spots, carefully trim it away. You can also cut away the flowers that have already bloomed and wilted if they look sick. This will help encourage healthy growth and keep your hostas full and lush.

20. Take Care of Pests

Black bean aphids (Aphis fabae) on hosta flower spike

Hostas are hardy plants, but slugs and snails can wreak havoc on your hostas if you’re not careful. To help remedy this, keep the mulch away from the plant’s stem. You can add a light ring of salt around your hostas (Epsom salt works too) because this can discourage slugs and snails from reaching the hosta itself.

21. Protect Your Plants from Disease

Make sure you maintain the correct mulch and water levels because this is key to keeping diseases at bay. If you see large spots on the leaves with a dark border, apply a fungicide spray. WIlten and brown leaves with white masses is a sign of Sclerotium Blight, and you want to pull the mulch away from the plant if this is the case. Don’t overwater your hosta. Water just enough to keep the soil nicely moist.

Closing Thoughts on How to Make Hostas Grow Bigger

Figuring out how to grow hostas big can be a process of trial and error. But, the real key to growing hostas or any other plant is don’t fuss with your plants all the time, don’t neglect your plants, learn to spot problems before they become overwhelming and enjoy your garden. It’s that simple, and the tips and tricks I outlined for you will help you jumpstart your hosta growth so you end up with full, lush, and large hosta plants that make your yard look fabulous.

If you made it this far you must have found the the article interesting and hopefully helpful. If so please bookmark it as I will be adding new tips at random intervals.

Hostas in a nursery