How Much and How Often to Water Hostas

How Much and How Often to Water Hostas

Gardeners all around the world prize hostas for their lush foliage and their capacity to flourish in shadier areas of the landscape where other plants might struggle.

Hostas require constant moisture in the soil (but not saturation), and because of their big leaves, they can make significant water demands during the drier seasons of the year.

If grown in the shade, small and medium hostas require weekly watering with a deep soak. Watering should be done three times weekly during warmer weather. If they are grown in full sun, large hostas need to be watered once daily during the summer and twice weekly otherwise.

The amount of water that hostas need greatly depending on their particular growing conditions:

HostaConditionsGetting Water
hefty hostas (90cm or 36 inches across)When grown in shade in temperate areas, large hostas will need up to 1 gallon (3.7 litres) of water per plant once or twice a week. If in partly or full sun, huge hostas may need daily watering throughout the height of summer.
Small and Medium Hostas (20 inches or 50 cm or more)In the summer, smaller hostas need at least 0.5 gallons (1.8 litres) of water every three days. In milder locations with overcast days, water liberally once each week to keep the soil moist.
Whole SunFull-sun-tolerant hostas (like “Sum and Substance”) need a lot of watering. In glaring sun, mature, bigger plants need up to 3 gallons (10 litres) of water every day to maintain leaf structure. Smaller hostas also need daily watering, each time getting a good soak.
Containers and PotsHostas will need more frequent watering because pots drain more quickly than garden borders. In the summer, water every three days so that water trickles out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. However, routinely check the soil’s moisture level and water more frequently as needed.
Low-rainfall, arid climatesHostas prefer to be in the shade, or at least some shade, in arid areas. For modest hostas, use 1 gallon (3.7 litres) every three days; for larger plants, use up to 3 gallons (10 litres). If the soil seems dry, water more frequently.
Strong RainfallSmall to medium hostas can survive on an inch of rain each week, but additional watering will keep the plant healthy. Even with an inch of rain falling each week, large hostas still need to be watered.
Coastal SandsUse a mulch to help with water conservation while adding organic matter to the soil before planting. Hostas require moist soil, therefore to keep the soil moist, water 0.5 gallons (1.8 litres) every three days during the summer or more regularly.
Flowing Slowly SoilsTo increase drainage, amend slow-draining soils with organic matter and grit (hostas require moist soil as opposed to saturated). Water as often as necessary to maintain soil moisture, but watch out that the soil doesn’t get too wet because this might lead to root rot.
Autumn and WinterEven if there is less soil evaporation in the winter, hostas still need some soil moisture to preserve the shape of their leaves. If hostas are planted in moisture-retentive soil with plenty of organic matter, they will typically only need sporadic watering in the fall and none at all during their winter dormancy.

Watering Hostas

Keeping the soil continually moist is the aim of watering hostas.

Hostas are foliar plants without a woody framework for self support, so they require the soil to be continually moist to keep their leaves upright and plump with a healthy shine.

The daylong transpiration of water vapor by the big leaves results in a partial vacuum that encourages the roots to absorb more water from the surrounding soil. Turgor pressure is the name given to this process.

The leaves will droop and lose their shape, inhibiting the growth of the plant, if the soil dries up and the roots are unable to absorb more water.

Hostas need excellent soil that is high in organic matter, and it’s crucial to routinely apply a mulch to preserve water so that the plants keep their shape during the drier and hotter seasons of the year.

How Frequently to Water Hostas?

The frequency of watering needed by hostas depends on:

  • How prepared the soil is (high organic content is best)
  • speed of soil drainage
  • The particular weather or climate
  • How long is the daytime sun?
  • Whether the hosta needs to compete for moisture with other adjacent trees and plants.

Hostas need soil that keeps a constant moisture level without getting soggy or waterlogged.

Only if there is sufficient moisture in the soil surrounding the root system, which develops rather deep in comparison to other plants, will hosta produce healthy, plump leaves.

Because of this, they have substantially higher summertime watering needs than the majority of garden plants.

In most cases, watering the hosta once or twice a week is sufficient if the soil has been improved before planting with water-retentive materials (such as leaf mould and compost) and it spends the majority of the day in shade.

However, in order to preserve the structure of the plant and the succulent, luxuriant nature of the leaves, hostas may need to be watered as frequently as every day with a generous soak each time. These conditions include quick-draining sandy soils, arid climates, or the height of summer and in intense sunlight.

Large hostas may only need watering once per week in temperate locations with significant rainfall if there has been 1 inch or more of precipitation, especially in early Spring or Fall. If the soil holds moisture well, it is possible to forego watering tiny and medium hostas during weeks with substantial rainfall.

Hostas will not grow as large as they should if they are subjected to drought or do not receive adequate water, and the variegated varieties usually have less distinct contrast on their leaves.

When compared to the summer, soil evaporation is significantly lower in the fall and winter, and in many regions, there is more rainfall at this time of year.

Hostas may only need watering once every week or so on cloudy days in the fall, and they may need little to no watering in the winter because they are dormant and will likely get all the moisture they need from their surroundings.

Always Water in the Morning

If at all feasible, water hostas in the morning rather than at night.

The telltale holes that slugs and snails leave in hosta leaves, which they consume, cause, are a common source of annoyance for gardeners. Evening watering will encourage the wet surroundings that nocturnal slugs like when they emerge in search of food.

Watering early in the day offers the hosta a water boost before a hot day and allows the soil nearby to partially dry out before the slugs emerge at night.

The strong, thicker leaves of some types, such “Sum and Substance” and “Aspen Gold,” which the slugs find difficult to consume, make them more resistant to slugs than other varieties.

Remember that protecting hostas in pots as opposed to those that are planted in the garden border is much easier if you have a slug problem. Read my article for further details on how to keep slugs and snails from eating hostas for more information.

How Much Water?

How Much Water?

During the hottest summer days, the largest mature plants, such the hosta ‘Patriot,’ will need a generous 1 gallon (4.5 liters) of water to keep their roots moist.

On the hottest days of the year, smaller and medium hosta will only need a half gallon (1.8 litres) of water each day if they receive more than 4 hours of direct sunlight.

As long as the soil is moist and the hosta is not starved of rainwater due to a tree canopy or the roots must compete with those of other plants for moisture, you can forgo watering for a few days if the weather has been overcast or there has been more than an inch of rainfall per week.

In order to encourage the hosta’s roots to develop deeply into the soil, which further strengthens the hosta’s resistance to drought and gives the roots access to nutrients, it is crucial to always water generously.

When hostas are watered “little and frequently,” the roots are simply encouraged to move closer to the soil’s surface in search of the moisture that will keep the leaves healthy.

A watering can can be used to water hostas without any issues in cooler climates with higher rainfall, but in drier climates or during the height of summer, a hose pipe is frequently the most effective method because hostas need a lot of water to keep healthy and reach their full potential.

How to Tell if your Hosta Requires Watering

The most evident symptom of stress is drooping leaves, which are thereafter followed by scorched-looking leaf tips and margins. Within 24 hours, a generous bath will typically cure drooping leaves; burnt leaves, however, may take longer to recover.

Hostas are one of the first plants to display indications of stress during a drought since they are so dependent on soil moisture.

Test the soil to a finger’s depth if you’re unsure. The hosta should be fine for a few days if you can detect moisture, but if the soil feels just moderately damp or is dry at the top, give it a nice, long soak to replenish moisture levels and preserve the health of the leaves.

Watering Hostas in Pots

Even though pots have a tendency to dry up more quickly, watering hostas in pots is very similar to watering hostas that are planted in garden borders.

Hostas in pots should be watered with the same amount of water as hostas in the ground (big hostas need more than a gallon of water on hot days, whilst smaller hostas need about half a gallon), but more frequently to compensate for the higher rate of soil evaporation.

As long as the potting mix holds moisture, watering hostas in the ground once every three days will usually be sufficient during hot weather; but, hostas in pots may need watering every one to two days.

Observe for drought’s early warning signs (drooping leaves) To make sure the hosta stays hydrated and remains lovely and healthy, keep an eye on the soil moisture and try to be proactive with your watering frequency in hot weather.

The Importance of Soil and Mulch When Watering

The optimum watering strategies should be used in conjunction with properly prepared soil and the application of mulch in the spring to keep the hosta healthy.

soil improvements like…

  • Leaf fungus
  • compost from a well-rotted garden
  • thoroughly rotten manure

…are all top-notch materials for retaining moisture, supplying nutrients, and creating the ideal soil conditions for hostas.

When planting your hostas in the ground or in containers, remember to incorporate the compost and leaf mold. Additionally, this will help to strengthen the soil’s structure so that it continues to be permeable enough for water to drain out, keeping the soil moist but not soggy and saturated that root rot cannot develop.

The same organic components also function admirably as mulch to retain moisture, enhance the soil’s texture, and keep the roots cool.

In the summer, the ground can quickly bake into a hard surface, which increases the quantity of water that flows off the soil’s surface rather than permeating it to reach the roots.

In addition to absorbing moisture, mulch makes soil more porous and absorbent, allowing water to more easily reach the roots where it is needed.

At the beginning of spring, spread a layer of mulch an inch thick around each hosta.

The hosta’s above-ground stems don’t like to be in continual contact with moist material since it will lead to rot, so make sure there is a space between the mulch’s edge and the plant’s crown.

Too Much Water

Too Much Water

Hostas need moist soil, but they also need space for excess water to drain away, keeping the ground from being flooded for an extended period of time.

The best soil for hostas is permeable because it retains moisture while allowing water to flow out, allowing the roots to draw water as needed.

It is considerably simpler to plant hostas in pots rather than attempt to adjust the soil in gardens with clay soil.

Key Takeaways:

  • Hostas should receive as much irrigation as necessary to maintain continuously moist soil. Hostas’ leaves must always have access to moisture in order to stay healthy and attractive.
  • In hot weather, larger hostas may need daily watering if they are exposed to direct sunlight (with more then a gallon of water). Every three days, little and medium-sized hostas need to be watered with a lot of water (half a gallon).
  • Before planting hostas, amend the soil with organic material that retains moisture, and add mulch in the early spring to help with water conservation.
  • Hostas should be watered in the morning to prepare for the day ahead. Avoid watering in the late afternoon because this will encourage the ideal circumstances for slugs and snails.
  • Hostas in pots need to be watered more frequently because the pots dry out much more quickly. At the hottest times of the year, increase watering to potentially every day from twice weekly.
  • Hostas don’t need to be watered while they are dormant in the winter.
  • Before planting, amend clay soils that are slow to drain to allow extra water to drain away from the roots and maintain the proper level of moisture for the roots.


How do you tell if hostas are dying?

Yellowing Hosta Leaves Indicate Disease The lower leaf margins’ yellowing and browning are the first indications. Your plant most likely has this disease if you notice dark, mushy decay with white fungal threads or fungal fruiting structures the size of mustard seeds near the base of the petiole.

How often should you water a hosta plant?

Hostas that have just been planted require daily watering over the first two weeks. Small or medium plants will require a thorough soak once a week once they are established. Hostas can withstand droughts but prefer moist, well-drained soil. Increase irrigation to three times weekly in hotter weather.

Do hostas like water?

Hostas are big drinkers because of how quickly their huge leaves absorb water. The Hostas that are thought to be sun-tolerant frequently do well in full sun if you can keep up with their water requirements. Use a lot of mulch as well to keep roots cool and preserve soil moisture.

Should I cut off dying hosta leaves?

It’s time to reduce the amount of hostas if 25% or more of them are dying. After the first frost, all of the leaves should be removed. This will lessen the chance that slugs and bunnies decide to make your plant their winter residence.

What does an overwatered hosta look like?

The entire leaf turns yellow and begins to droop when it is overwatered. The tips of the leaves typically turn dry, brown, and yellow when they are underwatered. The majority of hostas prefer consistently moist soil, but they can’t bear still water.