Does this make a good place for Hosta garden?

debhawks(4)May 11, 2012

Hi! We had to limb up these trees last year and it seems to me that this might be a perfect place for a hosta garden! I've been watching that area at different times of day, and it seems like there is enough shade.

I've read that if you want to make a planting area under any tree all you need is 4" of top soil. Right now there is about 4" of mulch there and just eyeing it up, it seems skimpy for a garden.

Will I need to consider going between the roots when planting? Would 6" or so be better? I'm concerned about smothering the roots, they have been under the canopy for years with little over them.


Has anyone done this? Any thoughts? Thanks!

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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

If you pile up soil under those trees, chances are you will kill them. Hostas can and do grow in shade, but they also like sun. They are shade tolerant, not shade loving.

Those look like Fir trees. In the battle for root competition they have a large head start. If you put baby Hosta in there they will have difficult time getting established. It can be done but it's not easy.

If this were my space I would make that bed a little larger especially on the side that gets morning sun. Then I would look for the largest Hostas I could buy. Look for a local Hosta specialty nursery. Most local Hosta societies will list these on their web sites.

If the soil needs improving, do it. But don't build it up especially near the trunks of the trees. Near the trunks of the trees I would plant Hostas above ground in pots. As for watering I would try to water an area larger than the bed itself so that the Fir roots don't have to strangle your Hosta to take up water. You're going to need a lot of water to do this well.

As I said, it can be done, but it's not easy. Bon chance.


    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 5:32PM
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The trees are spruce but same end result. It's not totally deep shade or anything like that, but filtered and so protected from the sun. I've never grown hosta in pots but I see others here do.

Toward the back of the pix, the long line in the triangle is facing east. Maybe I could try to build up the soil there on the outer edge of the canopy then?

    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 6:58PM
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Overall, the location and flow of the bed will make a very nice looking garden. I would definitely make the bed bigger. You will be surprised at how much space groupings of hosta will take up. Regarding sun, as I've been expanding my garden beds and hosta collection over the past few years, I've been very surprised about how much sun hosta want. In a new bed I created last year, the hostas that sit in full morning to early afternoon sun are well shaped with no leaning or reach toward the sun. Those that just get a few hours of morning sun actually lean a little toward the sunnier area definitely indicating to me that they would want more sun.
Go for a bigger garden even if it means the hosta will get more sun. You'll have a lovely garden.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 11:07PM
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