The Q&A Archives: Hosta Problems

Question: I had some beautiful hostas growing in my front yard until this past spring. What developed this year were very small and weak looking plants. I have seen quite a few white grubs living in the surrounding mulch areas so I purchased and applied a granular soil pest killer. To my disappointment, some hostas did not improve in size or strength; others failed to thrive at all. Was it just too late to try and erradicate the pests? Also, any suggestions for combating this problem for next year?

Answer: Hostas prefer to grow in moist, shady sites, in slightly acidic soil. They do best in garden beds that have been amended with lots of organic matter, and mulched with compost or peatmoss after the leaves appear, to help keep soil moist and to supress weeds. I'd dig the hostas out, inspect the roots for hitchhiking critters, amend the soil, replant the hostas and mulch with peat moss. If you find grubs or other critters around the roots, pick them off and toss them into a bucket of soapy water to kill them. In the spring apply granular fertilizer to the soil around the plants, just as the leaves emerge. Keep your hostas well-watered and they should be able to outgrow any root damage they may have suffered.

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