Hostas – those plants with the pretty green leaves and colored flowers that appear in the fall – need to be properly cared for. This involves mulching them in the springtime. Mulch is designed to insulate the ground. It will keep the soil moist, as well as prevent it from getting too cold.
However, before you can spread mulch around your hostas, there are several things that you need to know and here are 5 of them.
What Type of Mulch Should You Use?
Let’s start with the types of mulch themselves. Did you know that there are several different options to choose from? Many people use bark, which is lightweight and easy to find in most garden stores. It looks like shredded pieces of bark, and, as it decomposes, it helps add nutrients to your soil.
There are other options to pick from here as well, including leaves, grass clippings (although they can be problematic, as the grass might take root in your garden), shredded newspaper, and even compost. The latter is a great option for hostas since the compost adds nutrients to the soil right away.
In fact, to care for your hostas, you can double layer the mulch by placing some compost around the roots and then topping it with bark. These are all considered to be organic mulch. You don’t want to use inorganic mulch on your hostas unless you can help it.
What Does Mulch Do?
We mentioned some of the benefits of mulch above. This substance is designed to protect the soil around your plants. It can add nutrients to that soil as the mulch dissolves (as long as you chose an organic form of mulch.)
In addition, the mulch will insulate the soil, keeping it warm, which is good if you live in an area where the weather tends to fluctuate quite a bit before summer officially sets in. Mulch also can keep the soil moist.
This is great when the weather is hot during the day, as the soil can dry out quickly otherwise. Plus, mulch can help prevent the spread of weeds. You’d be surprised at how bits of grass and other weeds can spring up without the help of mulch.
How to Mulch Your Hostas
Now it’s time to learn how to mulch your hostas. Here’s a quick five-step process:
1) Spread the Mulch around the Base of the Plants
Choose an organic mulch and purchase enough of it to spread a two-inch thick layer around the plants. The mulch needs to be this thick in order to properly insulate the soil and protect the plants.
If you don’t have enough mulch, then you’ll want to go back to your home and garden center for some more. It’s very important that the layer is thick enough.
2) Leave Some Space between the Mulch and the Base of the Plant
Not only do you want to leave some space between the mulch and the plant so that the plant’s base has some room to breathe, but this also discourages mold and other things from growing.
Since mulch is made from organic materials like tree bark, it can carry things like molds that can spread to the plants fairly easily. If this happens, the plant can die. You need to be careful when spreading the mulch around to ensure that there’s enough space left there.
3) Add More Mulch before autumn
Since mulch is designed to keep the soil warm, it makes sense to spread more of it during the late summer months, right before autumn brings the first frost. This will ensure that the soil is the right temperature to keep your hostas in the best possible shape before winter arrives.
4) Keep an Eye Out For Weeds
Even though mulch can prevent the spread of weeds, it’s not perfect. You can end up with some weeds popping through. When this happens, pull those weeds right away.
5) Don’t Overwater the Plants
After you spread the mulch on the ground, you need to take care to not overwater your hostas. The mulch will keep the soil moist, but too much moisture can lead to things like root rot.
What to Watch For
After you’ve mulched around your hostas, you need to keep an eye out for signs of disease. Some types of mulch contain tiny mold spores that can spread to the plants, especially if you keep the soil too moist in that area.
Also, apart from keeping your hostas safe from animals, insects, and rodents, if you see white mold growing on the bottom leaves of your plant, or those bottom leaves begin to turn brown and wilt, then you need to immediately move the mulch away from the base of the plant. Then, remove those leaves and throw them away.
By doing this, you might be able to stop the spread of the mold before it affects the entire plant.