CARLISLE, MASS. — Hostas prefer to be planted in areas of dappled sun. In deep shade you may have to remove lower branches from surrounding trees to let in more ambient light.
They also prefer moist, well-drained soil rich in humus. Add sand, compost and/or peat moss to the soil before planting.
While hostas are tolerant of dry spells they do best if watered regularly. Water early enough so that the leaves are dry before nightfall.
Hostas will thrive on an annual application of compost, spread over the soil surface just before the new leaves start to push through in spring. Otherwise use a slow-release general purpose fertilizer applied at half strength according to Paul Aden in "The Hosta Book" (Timber Press).
A weak (1/10th to 1/20th) solution of liquid fertilizer applied with every watering is another option. Mr. Aden also recommends a weak foliar feed every two weeks during periods of rapid growth.
Propagate new plants by divisions. When leaves first appear in the spring use a serrated knife to carefully cut between the leaves and remove a section, disturbing the mother plant as little as possible.