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A Hands-On Guide to Growing Hosta in Containers

More than five years passed while my first container hosta flourished in a tiny plastic pot on my balcony. I saw a beautiful plant about 1.5 feet tall, bought it, and put it on my balcony.

I didn’t think to ask myself if I could grow a hosta in a pot at the time. I just did it.

It wasn’t a whole plant; it was only half of one. A bush of an adult garden hosta was cut in half and sold to the market.

Half of it looked like a nice round loaf of black peasant bread, so I bought it.

The soil was thick and heavy, and it was clear that the plant’s root system was not trying to grow down but rather spreading out. I knew that the plant is a hosta and grows in the shade.

The balcony outside my apartment faces southwest, where the sun shines relentlessly from noon until sunset.

So I had to create a shady corner like this one, where the hosta would only receive light reflected off the walls. It was perfect for my balcony container garden.

I purchased it in early spring. The leaves on the surface of the edge had just started to grow and had just begun to unfurl, revealing their white edges. There was no way to avoid it!

Can You Grow A Hosta Indoors?

If you have a balcony, terrace, or garden and want to grow a hosta, all you need is a pot. Any container that can accommodate its root system will suffice.

Nonetheless, it is not a houseplant. Having a period of dormancy is important for hostas to maintain their regular lifestyles.

In winter, its leaves turn brown and fall off, following the natural pattern of light and temperature.

However, the hosta will remain active if you bring the pot inside and leave it to overwinter in the comfort of your home.

Recently, I witnessed such an instance when a hosta residing in the apartment for two years began to produce beautiful, fragrant flowers.

But what comes next? Without a winter rest, the leaves will become shallower each year, and the little green pet will suffer.

The plant might stay pretty with fertilizers and stimulants, but is it worth the trouble?

Many tropical plants can thrive indoors all year round, just like a hosta, because they look and act similarly to the hosta.

Plants like the Calathea makoyana, the orange chlorophytum, the hemigraphis, the variegated maranta, and the white-looking Cordyline are works of art.

Which Hostas Grow Well In Containers?

Another school of thought holds that certain hosta varieties are better suited to being grown in containers.

You might also hear dwarf hostas are the only ones grown in pots. Considering the many different kinds of this crop, you should be smart when choosing a plant to grow in a pot.

For example, there are tall hostas with big leaves.

There are also very small ones, like the one in the picture below, which are no taller than a Germanium bush.

Any species can survive in a container, provided the conditions are met.

Choosing a Pot

The width of the pot should be slightly larger than the volume of soil, while the depth can be determined by personal preference or the specifics of the design.

If the container is lightweight overall, it is crucial to weigh the base. Large hosta – the plant is tall and spread out, and the wind easily topples it.

If the container is deep, fill it with expanded clay or pebbles in addition to the weights so that the soil level is low around the hosta’s roots.

After five years on my balcony, my first hosta, unfortunately, passed away.

This plant has the potential to thrive in a single location for up to 25 years while spreading and increasing in size.

In my case, the hosta took five years to fill out the remaining space in the pot.

My hosta was getting too big for its pot, so I took it out and trimmed it in half to have two plants instead of one.

It didn’t help that I planted the halves in broader and deeper containers than the original. As a result, my hostas rotted away.

I went to a garden center and picked out an identically colored bush that was robust and healthy enough to plant in a large container. Once again, the plant had rotted. 

Then I went to the garden center for help and did some more research to figure out what was wrong.

Then it hit me that the pot should be just a little bit bigger than the hosta’s root system, almost the same size, and if it is, it will be hard for even a beginner gardener to kill it.

Previously, we believed that hostas thrived only in damp environments and near running water.

Indeed, this holds for a plant in its natural habitat. In an enormous container, the roots rot because the water stands around in the unconsolidated soil.

In a small, tight pot, on the other hand, the soil is used to its fullest extent, so there is much less chance of water standing still. So I put the next one I bought into a small pot, and now I have a hosta again.

How Does A Potted Hosta Survive The Winter?

The hosta is a hardy plant that thrives in variable outdoor conditions and can withstand light frost. If you leave your hosta leaves on through the winter, they will dry out and fall off.

Leaves that have dried out should not be left in the pot, as they will rot, contaminate the soil, and prevent air and oxygen from reaching the plant roots.

For the winter, it’s best to cover the hosta’s pot with something permeable, like burlap. You should periodically add snow from above to the covered pot.

In the fall, many people debate whether or not to remove the dead leaves. That’s another crucial step in preparing a hosta for the cold season.

Cutting and taking them out of the container is the best option. Unpruned leaves on a pot’s surface during snow create a dry environment that encourages the growth of fungal diseases

How To Take Care Of The Hosta In A Pot

Container gardening is not as easy as it seems, but here it is: a hosta, which is easygoing, likes shade, likes water, can survive the winter, and can’t be killed.

However, the conditions for this plant are much more favorable out in the open.

  • The garden’s excess water soaked deep and flowed down in streams, leaving the hosta with moist soil. And what about the pot? Some water leaked through the bottom drain and into the pan.
  • A steady breeze dried the top layer of soil, but the depths remained wet. On the other hand, a small volume of soil in the pot dries up and clumps, leaving a gap between the pot and the earth.
  • The plant lives in the garden, where it looks beautiful and healthy. Worms work in the soil to loosen it up and ensure the roots get enough water and oxygen. And there are no worms in the pot.

It turns out that gardening in a container is not the same as traditional gardening.

My Guidelines For Growing Hostas In Pots

  • Put your hosta in a pot and place it outside on a balcony or terrace to grow.
  • Pick a pot an inch wider than the amount of soil you’ll be using.
  • You should not use regular garden soil in pots but rather soil formulated for use in containers, such as soil mixed with perlite.
  • Loosen the soil often, and don’t let a thick crust form on the top.
  • I am aware that some people advocate for mulching, but please don’t do it. 
  • Water it as the soil dries out (I check with my finger at a depth of 1-2 inches). Do not water if the ground is already wet. On the balcony, things are constantly changing. First, there was a light breeze, then the sun came out, then you went to work, and now it’s raining. And all for a single small pot. 
  • If water runs into the tray after you water it or it rains, drain it and loosen the soil.
  • Use fertilizer for variegated plants to feed adult hostas in the summer.