How To Plant Hostas Around Tree [ Full Guide ]

Hostas are popular perennial plants known for their lush foliage and ability to thrive in shade. These plants are frequently grown around trees to fill in the space and add texture and color to otherwise plain and dark areas. When planting hostas around a tree, it’s essential to consider the right location, suitable hosta varieties, and proper planting techniques to ensure their successful growth. In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss everything you need to know about planting hostas around a tree, from selecting the right tree and location to preparing the area and choosing the best hosta varieties for shade.

Quick Answer: How To Plant Hostas Around A Tree

Planting hostas around a tree involves choosing the right tree and location, preparing the area, selecting suitable hosta varieties, and following proper planting techniques. The key steps include:

  • Choosing a tree and location that provides the right amount of shade and moisture for hostas
  • Preparing the planting area by clearing debris and creating well-drained soil
  • Selecting hosta varieties specifically suited for shade
  • Planting hostas at the right depth and spacing, and providing proper care and maintenance

Choosing The Right Tree And Location For Planting Hostas

When selecting a tree for planting hostas around, it’s important to consider the amount of shade and moisture that the tree provides. The ideal tree will create a dappled shade, with some filtered sunlight reaching the ground. Deciduous trees with a spreading canopy, such as maples or oaks, are often great choices for planting hostas. Additionally, consider the mature size of the tree to ensure that it will not overshadow the hostas as it grows.

The location of the planting site is crucial for the success of hostas. Keep in mind that hostas prefer well-drained soil with organic matter and consistent moisture. Planting hostas near a tree with dense, shallow roots or in excessively dry soil may lead to competition for water and nutrients, affecting the growth of the hostas. Look for areas with loamy soil and adequate moisture retention, and where the tree’s roots are not too dense close to the surface.

When choosing the location, observe the area throughout the day to determine the amount of sunlight it receives. Hostas thrive in partial to full shade, so select a spot where they will receive dappled sunlight or only a few hours of morning sun.

Preparing The Area For Planting Hostas

Proper preparation of the planting area is essential for the successful establishment of hostas. Follow these steps to prepare the area:

Clearing Debris And Weeds

Before planting, remove any debris, such as fallen leaves, sticks, and rocks, from the area around the tree. Clearing out weeds and unwanted vegetation is also necessary to prevent competition for nutrients and moisture.

Improving Soil Drainage And Structure

Hostas prefer well-drained, nutrient-rich soil. If the area around the tree has compacted soil or poor drainage, consider amending the soil with organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, to improve its structure and water retention capacity. Incorporate the organic matter into the soil to a depth of 8-10 inches to ensure it reaches the root zone of the hostas.

Creating Planting Beds

To define the planting area, create planting beds around the tree using a border material such as bricks, stones, or metal edging. This not only adds aesthetic appeal but also prevents the hostas from spreading into unwanted areas and makes maintenance easier.

Selecting Hosta Varieties That Thrive In Shade

Not all hosta varieties are suited for growing in shade. When planting hostas around a tree, it’s crucial to select varieties that can thrive in low-light conditions. Look for hostas with characteristics that make them well-suited for shade, such as darker green leaves, thicker leaf texture, and good slug resistance. Some hosta varieties that tend to perform well in shade include:

  • "Sum and Substance" – This large hosta has bold, chartreuse leaves that can brighten up shaded areas.
  • "Empress Wu" – Known for its massive size, this hosta variety features dark green, heavily corrugated leaves and is well-adapted to shade.
  • "Guacamole" – With its vibrant chartreuse foliage and fragrant flowers, this hosta is an excellent choice for shaded areas.

Planting hostas around a tree can add beauty and interest to the shaded areas in your garden. By carefully selecting the right tree and location, preparing the planting area, and choosing suitable hosta varieties, you can create a thriving hosta bed around a tree. Remember to maintain consistent moisture, provide adequate mulching, and regularly monitor the growth of your hostas to ensure their health and vigor. With proper care and attention, your hostas will flourish and enhance the landscape around your tree for years to come.

Tips For Planting Hostas Around Trees

Hostas are a popular choice for adding beauty and texture to gardens and landscapes. These versatile plants are known for their lovely foliage and ability to thrive in various conditions. One of the best ways to showcase their beauty is by planting them around trees. The vibrant colors and lushness of hostas create a striking contrast against the tree’s bark and create an enchanting scene in any garden.

Planting hostas around trees requires some careful consideration to ensure that they thrive in this unique environment.

When planting hostas around trees, there are several important factors to keep in mind to ensure their successful growth. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  1. Choose the right hosta varieties: Hostas come in a wide range of sizes, colors, and leaf shapes. When planting them around trees, it’s essential to select varieties that are well-suited to the amount of sunlight available in that particular area. Hostas with lighter colored foliage tend to perform better in areas with partial shade, while those with darker foliage can handle more sun exposure.

  2. Consider the tree’s root system: Before planting hostas, it’s important to understand the root system of the tree. Some trees have shallow root systems that can compete with hostas for water and nutrients. In such cases, it may be best to choose hostas that are more drought-tolerant or select planting locations farther away from the tree’s base.

  3. Prepare the planting site: Clear any debris, rocks, or weeds from the planting area around the tree. Hostas prefer well-drained soil and will benefit from the addition of organic matter, such as compost or aged manure. Incorporate the organic matter into the soil to improve its fertility and drainage capabilities.

  4. Create planting pockets: Since hostas will be growing around the roots of the tree, it’s important to create small planting pockets to separate the hostas from the tree’s root system. Dig holes that are at least 12-18 inches deep and wide, ensuring that the hosta’s root ball fits comfortably within the hole. This will provide the hostas with adequate growing space and minimize competition with the tree’s roots.

  5. Plant at the right depth: When placing the hostas in the planting pockets, make sure that the top of the root ball is level with or slightly above the soil surface. Planting too deep can lead to rotting of the crown, while planting too shallow may expose the roots to excessive drying.

  6. Give hostas enough space: Hostas need room to grow and spread, so be mindful of their mature size when planting them around trees. Providing adequate spacing between hostas will allow for proper airflow, reducing the risk of disease and ensuring optimal growth.

  7. Mulch the planting area: After planting, apply a layer of mulch around the hostas to conserve moisture, suppress weed growth, and maintain a more consistent soil temperature. However, be careful not to place the mulch directly against the trunks of trees as it can promote moisture retention and lead to rot.

  8. Increase watering frequency: Hostas planted around trees may experience more competition for water due to the tree’s extensive root system. To counteract this, it’s important to increase the frequency of watering for the hostas. During dry periods, provide regular deep waterings, ensuring that the soil remains consistently moist but not waterlogged.

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The Importance Of Proper Watering And Soil Maintenance

Watering and soil maintenance are crucial for the overall health and vitality of hostas planted around trees. Since trees have more extensive root systems that can absorb a significant amount of moisture, it’s important to monitor and adjust watering practices accordingly. Here are some key points to consider:

  1. Regular watering: Hostas require consistent moisture to thrive. Water deeply and at the base of the plant to ensure the water reaches the roots. Avoid overhead watering as it can contribute to the development of fungal diseases on the foliage.

  2. Monitor soil moisture: Regularly check the soil moisture level around the hostas by inserting your finger into the soil up to the knuckle. If it feels dry at that depth, it’s time to water. Adjust the frequency and amount of water as needed, considering factors such as rainfall and temperature.

  3. Avoid overwatering: While hostas appreciate consistent moisture, overwatering can be just as detrimental as underwatering. Excessive water can lead to root rot and other fungal diseases. Ensure that the soil has good drainage, allowing excess water to escape rather than sitting around the roots.

  4. Fertilize regularly: Hostas benefit from regular fertilization to supply essential nutrients for healthy growth. Use a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in early spring and mid-summer. Avoid applying fertilizer directly against the trunk of the tree as it can burn the bark.

  5. Monitor for pests and diseases: Regularly inspect hostas for signs of pests and diseases, as they can impact the overall health and appearance of the plants. Common pests include slugs, snails, and aphids. Treat any infestations promptly using organic or chemical control methods, depending on your preference.

  6. Apply organic matter: As the hostas mature, replenish the soil with additional organic matter, such as compost or aged manure. This will improve soil fertility, structure, and moisture-retaining capacity.

Supporting Hostas As They Grow Around Trees

As hostas grow around trees, they may require additional support to prevent them from flopping over or crowding other plants. Here are some methods to provide support:

  1. Use plant supports: Install plant supports, such as stakes or bamboo poles, near the outer perimeter of the hostas. Gently tie the leaves to the supports using twine or soft plant ties. This will help keep the leaves upright and prevent them from sprawling on the ground.

  2. Use decorative borders: Install decorative borders, such as metal or plastic edging, around the planting area. This will create a physical barrier that prevents the hostas from spreading too far or encroaching on other plants.

  3. Prune outer tree branches: If the hostas are not receiving adequate sunlight due to dense tree branches, consider pruning some of the outer branches to allow more light to reach the hostas. This will help promote their growth and maintain their vibrant colors.

  4. Divide and transplant: Over time, hostas can become crowded, especially when planted near trees. If the hostas become overcrowded or obstructed by the tree’s roots, divide and transplant them to other locations where they have more room to grow. This will ensure better airflow, reduce competition, and stimulate new growth.

Dealing With Challenges Of Planting Hostas Around Trees

Planting hostas around trees can present certain challenges that need to be addressed to ensure the success of both the hostas and the tree. Here are some common challenges and how to overcome them:

  1. Competition for water and nutrients: Trees have extensive root systems that can compete with hostas for water and nutrients. To minimize this competition, choose hosta varieties that are more drought-tolerant or place them in separate planting pockets away from the tree’s base. Increasing watering frequency and providing adequate spacing between hostas can also help alleviate this challenge.

  2. Dense shade: Hostas thrive in partial shade, but dense shade can hinder their growth and impact their vibrant foliage. If the tree casts heavy shade, consider thinning out some of the branches to allow more light to filter through. Alternatively, choose hosta varieties that are better adapted to shade conditions.

  3. Tree root interference: The roots of trees can pose a challenge when planting hostas around them. In some cases, the tree’s roots may interfere with the growth of hostas or restrict their access to water and nutrients. If this becomes an issue, create planting pockets that are well-separated from the tree’s roots, use raised beds, or select locations where tree roots are less invasive.

  4. Seasonal leaf litter: Trees naturally shed leaves, creating a layer of leaf litter around the base. This leaf litter can smother hostas if left unattended. Regularly remove the leaf litter and compost it or use it as mulch in other areas of the garden.

  5. Challenges with transplanting: Hostas are known for their tolerance of transplanting, but it’s important to take care when lifting and dividing them, especially when planted near tree roots. Use a sharp spade or garden fork to carefully lift the hostas, ensuring that a portion of the root system is preserved. Transplant them to their new location promptly and provide proper care during the adjustment period.

Planting hostas around trees can create a stunning visual display in any garden. By following the tips and techniques mentioned in this article, you can successfully plant and maintain hostas in this unique environment. Remember to choose the right hosta varieties, prepare the planting site properly, provide adequate water and soil maintenance, support the hostas as they grow, and address any challenges that may arise. With time and proper care, your hostas will flourish and add a touch of elegance to your garden landscape.

What Other Plants Pair Well With Hostas Around Trees

Hostas are shade-loving perennials known for their beautiful foliage and ability to thrive in woodland gardens. One popular way to enhance the beauty of hostas is by planting them around trees. This not only adds visual interest to your garden but also makes use of the shade provided by the tree canopy.

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When planting hostas around trees, it’s important to select companion plants that can tolerate the same growing conditions and complement the hostas. Here are a few plants that pair well with hostas around trees:

  1. Ferns: Ferns thrive in the shade and add a lush, feathery texture to the garden. Japanese painted ferns, ostrich ferns, and maidenhair ferns are excellent choices to grow alongside hostas.

  2. Bleeding Hearts: These spring-blooming perennials produce delicate, heart-shaped flowers that dangle from arching stems. Their pink or white blooms provide a stunning contrast to the hosta’s foliage.

  3. Astilbes: With their plume-like flowers in shades of pink, white, and red, astilbes are a natural companion for hostas. They also enjoy the same moist, shady conditions.

  4. Ligularia: Ligularias have large, bold leaves that match well with the hosta’s foliage. Their yellow or orange daisy-like flowers add a pop of color to the shade garden.

  5. Heucheras: Known for their colorful foliage, heucheras come in a variety of vibrant shades, such as burgundy, purple, and lime green. They create a beautiful contrast when planted alongside hostas.

  6. Hellebores: These early-blooming perennials provide a splash of color to the spring garden. They come in various shades of white, pink, purple, and green and can tolerate shade and dry soil.

  7. Solomon’s Seal: Solomon’s Seal is a graceful, arching plant with white, bell-shaped flowers. Its variegated foliage provides an elegant backdrop for hostas.

  8. Brunnera: Brunnera, also known as Siberian bugloss, has heart-shaped leaves that resemble those of hostas. Its small clusters of bright blue flowers add a touch of beauty to the shade garden.

These are just a few examples of plants that pair well with hostas around trees, but there are many more options available. Consider the mature size of the plants and the available sunlight when choosing companion plants.

Creative Ideas For Designing Hosta Gardens Around Trees

Designing a hosta garden around trees offers endless possibilities for creating a stunning landscape. Here are some creative ideas to inspire you:

  1. Layered Planting: Plant hostas of different heights and sizes around the base of the tree to create a layered effect. Start with tall hosta varieties at the back, then gradually transition to medium and short varieties as you move toward the front. This will add depth and visual interest to your garden.

  2. Color Coordination: Choose hosta varieties with different leaf tones and patterns to create a vibrant color palette. Combine blue hostas with yellow or variegated varieties for a striking contrast. You can also experiment with different shades of green, purple, and white to create a harmonious blend of colors.

  3. Texture Play: Add plants with different foliage textures to create a dynamic and visually appealing garden. Mix hostas with ferns, grasses, and plants with finely cut leaves to add variety and texture to the landscape.

  4. Stone Borders: Define the edges of your hosta garden with natural stone borders. This will not only enhance the aesthetics but also provide a barrier to prevent the hostas from encroaching on surrounding areas.

  5. Pathways and Pavers: Create pathways or use pavers to navigate through the hosta garden. This will allow easy access for maintenance and provide a focal point in the garden.

  6. Accents and Ornaments: Incorporate garden ornaments, such as statues, birdbaths, or decorative planters, to add a touch of personality and interest to the hosta garden. Just make sure they don’t overshadow the beauty of the hostas themselves.

  7. Water Features: If space allows, consider adding a small water feature, such as a fountain or a mini pond, to create a tranquil atmosphere. The sound of running water combined with the lush foliage of hostas can create a soothing and relaxing environment.

Remember to consider the size of the tree and the available space when planning your hosta garden design. Also, take into account the growth habit of the hosta varieties you choose, as some can spread quite extensively.

Maintaining And Caring For Hostas Around Trees

Once you have planted your hostas around the tree, it’s important to maintain and care for them properly to ensure their health and beauty. Here are some tips:

  1. Watering: Hostas prefer moist soil, so make sure to water them regularly, especially during dry periods. Water deeply and avoid overhead watering, as wet leaves can lead to fungal diseases. Adding a layer of organic mulch around the base of the hostas can help retain soil moisture.

  2. Fertilizing: Hostas benefit from regular feeding. Apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in early spring and again in mid-summer. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific fertilizer you are using.

  3. Weeding: Regularly remove weeds from the hosta beds to prevent competition for nutrients and space. Be careful when pulling weeds to avoid damaging the shallow roots of the hostas.

  4. Dividing: Over time, hostas will become crowded, leading to decreased vigor and smaller leaves. Dividing the plants every few years will help maintain their health. The best time to divide hostas is in early spring before new growth emerges or in late summer/early fall when the weather cools down.

  5. Mulching: Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as shredded bark or compost, around the base of the hostas to suppress weeds, retain moisture, and regulate soil temperature. Avoid piling mulch directly against the stems of the hostas to prevent rot.

  6. Dealing with Slugs: Slugs are a common pest that can damage hostas by eating holes in the leaves. To control slugs, try placing copper tape or diatomaceous earth around the base of the hostas. You can also use organic slug baits or handpick and dispose of the slugs.

  7. Protecting from Deer: Hostas are a favorite snack of deer, and if you have deer in your area, it’s important to take measures to protect your plants. Fencing the area or using deer repellents can help deter them.

  8. Cleaning and Pruning: Remove any dead or damaged leaves to keep your hostas looking neat and tidy. Prune back any spent flower stalks to redirect energy back into the foliage. Be careful not to remove too many leaves at once, as this can stress the plant.

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By following these maintenance tips, you can keep your hostas healthy and vibrant for years to come.

Pests And Diseases That Affect Hostas Around Trees

While hostas are generally low-maintenance plants, they can be susceptible to certain pests and diseases. Here are some common issues to be aware of:

  1. Slugs and Snails: As mentioned earlier, slugs and snails can cause significant damage to hostas. In addition to the control methods mentioned above, you can also try creating barriers, such as copper wire or eggshells, around the base of the plants to deter these pests.

  2. Foliar Nematodes: Foliar nematodes can cause leaf spotting and brown streaks in hostas. Avoid overhead watering and remove any infected leaves promptly to prevent the spread of the nematodes. There are no chemical controls available, so maintaining good cultural practices is crucial.

  3. Hosta Virus X: Hosta Virus X is a devastating viral disease that affects hostas. Symptoms include streaking, mottling, and distortion of the leaves. There is no cure for this virus, so infected plants should be promptly removed and destroyed to prevent spreading to healthy hostas.

  4. Crown Rot: Crown rot is a fungal disease that affects the base of the hosta plant, causing it to decay and ultimately die. To prevent crown rot, ensure proper drainage and avoid overwatering. Removing infected plants and improving the soil drainage will help control the spread of the disease.

  5. Leaf Spot: Leaf spot is a common fungal disease that causes brown spots on the leaves of hostas. To prevent leaf spot, avoid overhead watering, provide adequate air circulation, and remove infected leaves. Fungicides can be used as a preventive measure if necessary.

Regularly inspect your hostas for any signs of pests or diseases. Early detection and prompt action can help minimize the damage and preserve the health of your plants.


Planting hostas around trees can be a beautiful and rewarding addition to your garden. With the right companion plants, creative design ideas, and proper care, your hostas will thrive in the shade and provide a stunning display of foliage. Remember to maintain moisture levels, fertilize regularly, control pests, divide when necessary, and keep an eye out for any signs of diseases. By following these guidelines, you can create a vibrant hosta garden that will bring joy and beauty for years to come.


What Are Some Important Factors To Consider When Planting Hostas Around A Tree?

When planting hostas around a tree, it is crucial to consider factors such as the location of the tree, the amount of sunlight it receives, the type of soil it has, and the size of the hostas. Hostas thrive in shady areas, but they require well-draining soil with plenty of organic matter. Additionally, it is essential to ensure that the tree is not too close to the hostas, as it may compete for nutrients and water.

How Do I Prepare The Soil For Planting Hostas Around A Tree?

Before planting hostas around a tree, it is important to prepare the soil properly. Start by removing any grass or weeds from the area, and mix in plenty of compost or other organic matter to improve drainage and fertility. It is also a good idea to test the soil pH to ensure that it is within the 6.0 to 7.0 range that is optimal for hostas.

Can I Plant Hostas Around Any Type Of Tree?

Hostas can be planted around most types of trees, but it is important to ensure that the tree is not too large or aggressive. Avoid planting hostas around trees that have shallow root systems, as this may result in competition for nutrients and water. Additionally, it is crucial to choose hosta varieties that can tolerate the amount of light and moisture available in your particular location.

How Close Should I Plant The Hostas To The Tree Trunk?

When planting hostas around a tree, it is important to leave enough distance between the plants and the trunk to allow for proper air circulation and growth. A good general rule is to plant hostas at least 12 inches away from the tree trunk. This distance will ensure that the hostas do not compete for nutrients or water with the tree’s roots.

What Are Some Tips For Maintaining Hostas Planted Around A Tree?

To maintain healthy hostas planted around a tree, it is crucial to provide regular water and fertilizer. Hostas require consistent moisture, especially during hot, dry weather, and benefit from regular applications of a balanced fertilizer. Additionally, it is important to remove any dead or damaged leaves from the plants, as these can attract pests and disease. Finally, it is crucial to keep the area around the hostas clean and free of debris, as this can also attract pests and contribute to disease.