How often to water hostas

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Hostas are among the most popular perennial plants for their low-maintenance nature. They’re not fussy or demanding, making them a nice option for homeowners. If you’ve got hostas (or are thinking about getting some), you may have a few questions, like how often to water hostas.

Most gardeners water their hostas about once a week. Hostas grow best with 1-2 inches of water weekly, so be sure to water the base of the plant thoroughly. During hot, dry weather, you may have to water your hostas a couple times per week, or even every other day during a heat wave for them to truly thrive. This is especially true of newly-planted hostas in hot climates. Established hosta plants are surprisingly drought-tolerant and can often survive several weeks without water.

Let’s take a detailed look at how often to water hostas and the factors that affect watering.

Watering plants on flowerbed in summer garden

How often to water hostas

Just like most perennials, hostas prefer to grow in moist conditions. This means they need a constant supply of water. However, the amount of water will depend on a few factors.

These factors can include:

1. Size of the hosta

The average garden hosta will grow to about 1-3 inches. However, when you let hostas spread freely, the plant can grow to a huge size.

Depending on how far you let your hosta grow, its water needs will change slightly.

A mature hosta, about two inches tall, will need around one and a half inches of water a week. Then, you’ll have to make watering adjustments as your plant grows larger.

2. The amount of sunlight the hosta receives

Even though hostas need sunlight to grow, they don’t like being in the full sun. Since this plant likes moist environments, being in the sun for too long can dry it out.

Therefore, if you plant your hosta in an area that gets plenty of sun rays, you’ll need to make up for the lost water. This means your plant will need about 2-3 inches of water a week.

3. The current weather conditions

Another factor that plays a major role in hosta growth is the weather. Hostas are comfortable in warm, slightly humid weather. During this time, they only need about an inch of water a week.

However, as the season changes, so will your hosta’s water needs. As the temperature drops, your plant will need less water.

This means you have to gradually decrease your watering schedule during the winter. Then increase it as the weather gets warmer.

How to water hostas

When watering a hosta, you should be aware of how the plant absorbs water. Like most plants, hostas absorb water through their network of roots.

This means it’s best if you water the base of the plant and allow the water to seep into the soil. Watering the leaves of the plant can stop them from drying out, but the plant won’t be able to absorb the water. Wet leaves can also encourage disease. This is most common in moist climates, shaded areas, and when the leaves are watered in the evening and stay wet through the night.

There are a few different ways you can go about watering your hostas. These include:

How much free time you have on your hands will decide which method you use. A hose is the most common method, but it can be tedious to water your hostas by hand.

If you don’t want to water the plant by hand, you can use a sprinkler or irrigation system. An irrigation system is the most gentle on your plants, but it’s the most expensive method.

Automatic garden irrigation spray system watering flowerbed

How to know if your hosta plants need water

If you’re not sure your hosta is getting enough water, look out for a couple of signs.

  • Wilting or drooping of the leaves
  • The tips and/or edges of the leaves start to turn yellow or brown

If you’re not sure your plant is exhibiting these signs, you can always do the finger test.

To check that your hosta has enough water, you can gently push your finger an inch into the soil. Do this at the base of the plant.

If your finger comes out dry, then your hosta probably needs more water.

Edges of green and white leaves of hosta plants turning brown

When is the best time of day to water hostas?

The ideal time to water your hosta is in the early morning hours. Watering the plant before the sun rises to its peak will make sure it has plenty of time to absorb the water.

Moreover, it helps prevent over-watering. Since the sun shines on the plant right after watering, there’s less chance of the plant drowning.

This may be a little tricky if you have to rush into work every morning. So, the trick to making sure your hostas have enough water is developing a fixed schedule.

Watering your hostas at the same time every week like clockwork can ensure the soil is always moist.

Still, try not to water the plant at night to avoid potential root rot.

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Mary Jane Duford
Mary Jane Duford

Mary Jane Duford is a Master Gardener and founder of the gardening website Home for the Harvest. She has been featured by Better Homes & Gardens, Real Simple, Good Housekeeping, Mother Earth News, and the National Garden Bureau. Mary Jane lives with her family in the Okanagan Valley.