Hostas are a beautiful, shade-tolerant decorative plant that do well in most backyards. They’re perfect for forested yards that can’t support other plants and flowers, but make no mistake, they’re no second-choice plant!
With dozens of varieties that come in a myriad of colors, there’s sure to be a style of hosta that’s perfect for you and your garden.
But these shade-loving beauties enjoy lots of nutrients, and since they’re perennials, they can deplete the soil they’re in pretty quickly. How do you remedy that? A high-quality fertilizer, of course!
There are endless options out there, so I’ve compiled a list of my top 5 fertilizers for hostas. I’ve included a budget-friendly pick, my favorite organic option, and even the best choice for new transplants.
I’ve also thrown in some helpful hosta tips, like their ideal growing requirements and how to encourage them to bloom.
I hope you enjoy this all-inclusive stop for picking out the best fertilizer for your hostas!
In a hurry? No worries! Here is a quite snapshot of my top 5 fertilizers for hostas. Keep reading to learn more about my favorite fertilizers for hostas!
Best Overall: The Old Farmer’s Almanac Tree & Shrub Fertilizer Spikes
I love these fertilizer spikes for your hosta! Firstly, The Old Farmer’s Almanac is one of the most knowledgeable and trusted brands in gardening, and the reviews of these tree & shrub fertilizer spikes don’t like.
The NPK ratio of 13-3-3 is designed to make your hosta explode with new leaves, but it doesn’t neglect root health and overall wellness, either.
I love how these spikes are designed to feed your hosta right at the roots. Just hammer them down into the soil (according to the directions) and let them work their magic. They’re also designed not to break, nor cause runoff or damage to the soil around your hosta.
Overall, I can’t recommend this product enough for your hostas. But, if these product doesn’t suit you, I’ve listed four more so that you can find the perfect one!
Why Do You Need a High Quality Fertilizer For Hostas?
Hostas are known for their resilience–they’re shade-tolerant easy-keepers, so why bother fertilizing them? Well, there are a few key things you should know about hostas.
Hostas Can Bloom
Did you know that hostas can bloom? Me neither, until I started fertilizing them!
Fertilizers are filled with a lot of essential nutrients. The most important are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (together, they are referred to as NPK). These three nutrients can promote different kinds of growth.
Hostas can often benefit from extra phosphorus, which encourages blooming. The best way to add phosphorus is to invest in a high-quality fertilizer.
A high-quality fertilizer will be properly formulated for your hostas and encourage those beautiful blooms!
Hostas Are Perennials
Since hostas are perennials, meaning they stay in the ground for years and years, it’s easy for them to deplete the soil of nutrients. They suck up all the nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, and then the soil can’t supply them with enough to continue growing beautifully.
By adding some high-quality fertilizer to your hosta bed, you can replenish those lost nutrients.
Perennials are also typically more expensive, since they come back every year. It would be a shame to invest in a bunch of hostas only to have them die in a few years because they become nutrient-deficient!
In the winter, they go dormant, so they won’t need any watering or fertilizing. Here’s a great way to winter-prep your hostas:
High-quality fertilizer is one of the best ways to ensure that your hostas not only survive, but thrive, for years to come.
Most Hostas Are Transplants
Hostas are typically transplants, meaning they’re grown in a greenhouse or garden center. Then you, lovely gardener, purchase them and plant them in your own backyard.
Transplant shock can kill your hostas before they get the chance to adjust to your yard. This can look like yellowing leaves, wilting, and a general failure to thrive.
By providing your new hosta with some essential nutrients, you can help minimize the stress of transplant shock. Facilitating root growth with fertilizer, for example, can help establish your hosta and give it the chance to adjust to its new home.
What to Consider When Choosing The Best Fertilizer For Hostas?
Now that you know all about why you should fertilize your hostas, you’re probably wondering what exactly to fertilize them with. Well, here are some of the key things you should look for when choosing the right fertilizer for your hostas.
All fertilizers have a sequence of numbers that look like this: 10-10-10.
The first number stands for the nitrogen content. Nitrogen helps plants with green, leafy growth.
The second number represents phosphorus, which helps plants to bloom and grow a stronger root system. This is really good for hostas that you want to see flowering!
The last number stands for potassium (sometimes referred to as potash). This components helps plants remain overall healthy–think of it like a multivitamin for plants.
A good hosta fertilizer will be well-rounded, with a bit more emphasis on the nitrogen content. For example, my best pick for hostas has an NPK ratio of 13-3-3.
Organic Versus Inorganic Fertilizers
Whether you decide to use organic or inorganic products is entirely up to you–we often recommend a mixture of both.
Organic products are, simply put, made of all-natural materials. They are typically gentler on your plant and better for the environment. However, they can be more expensive, and tend to have components that are comprised of animal parts such as bone or blood meal. This makes them inaccessible for vegans.
For vegans or vegetarians, we recommend making your own organic fertilizer. This is also a more budget-friendly option than purchasing one in store.
Inorganic products can be harsher, but when used properly, they work wonders. They’re also typically cheaper and easier to find in your local home and garden store. The key to using an inorganic product is to read the directions thoroughly and never over-apply.
This list of the best fertilizers for hostas contains both organic and inorganic products so that you can use whichever one is best for you and your garden. No matter what, your hostas will thank you!
Your Soil Composition and pH
Hostas are perennials, which makes them perfect for gardeners who only want to get their hands dirty once, but still reap the benefits for years to come. However, since they stay planted in the same place year after year, they can sap the soil of the necessary nutrients.
If you notice that plants that enjoy acidic soil have a tendency to kick the bucket in your yard, consider a fertilizer that helps to acidify your soil. Micronutrients like sulfur can help to lower the pH of the soil around your hosta and keep it happy and healthy.
A high nitrogen content is also important in keeping the soil healthy for your hosta. As perennials, they can sap out the necessary nutrients, so replenishing them is a must. As leafy greens, hostas use up a lot of nitrogen, so ensuring that your fertilizer has a quality nitrogen content is key.
My Reviews of the Best Fertilizers for Hostas
1. Best Overall
The Old Farmer’s Almanac Tree & Shrub Fertilizer Spikes
It’s no surprise that these fertilizer spikes are my #1 choice for hostas. They’re super convenient–just hammer them down into the soil and you’ll notice an improvement pretty much overnight.
These fertilizer spikes feed at the roots, delivering quality nutrients to your hosta ASAP. They’re designed not to break, nor cause runoff or other environmental issues.
The NPK ratio of 13-3-3 promotes leafy growth, which is perfect if you want your hostas to grow and mound quickly.
My only qualm with this product is that it’s hard to tailor the dose to your hosta’s specific needs. However, you can easily remove it from the soil if your hosta seems unhappy.
13-3-3 NPK ratio promotes leaf growth
5-inch spike designed to deliver nutrients direction to the roots
Doesn’t leave residue or cause runoff issues
Can’t tailor the dose to your hosta’s needs
High nitrogen content could overwhelm small plants
2. Best Budget-Friendly Pick
Scott’s Evergreen, Flowering Tree, Shrub Continuous Release Plant Food
When it comes to perennials like hostas, I love slow-releasing fertilizers, which is why I love this continuous release plant food.
The 11-7-7 NPK ratio is a little stronger, which is perfect for hostas that have really depleted the soil of essential nutrients. It also improves soil acidity, which your hosta will likely thank you for.
As the most budget-friendly option on this list, it comes in at around $3.00 per pound. And, since it’s slow-releasing, you won’t need to apply it as often as other fertilizers.
However, since this is a granular fertilizer, it’s touch to remove from the soil once applied. Be sure to use it sparingly at first so as not to overwhelm and burn your hosta.
Improves soil acidity
Well-rounded NPK ratio of 11-7-7
Granular formula is hard to remove from soil
Can burn your hosta if overused
3. Best Organic Pick
Burpee Organic Blood Meal Fertilizer
If you’re looking for a 100% all-natural fertilizer, this organic blood meal is for you!
With only one ingredient (you guessed it: blood meal), this fertilizer has an NPK ratio of 12-0-0. That makes it perfect for even the most nitrogen-deficient hosta.
This is a simple, organic fertilizer that’s perfect for hostas that could benefit from some extra leafy growth.
However, this is not a vegan/vegetarian-friendly product. It’s also been noted that the smell of blood meal can attract animals such as dogs, coyotes, and foxes. Keep that in mind if you’ve got furry friends around!
High nitrogen content is good for leaf growth
Perfect for nitrogen-deficient, mature hostas
Simple and organic
Not a vegan-friendly product
Odor can attract dogs
4. Best Pick for Promoting Root Health
TPS Nutrients Hydrangea Fertilizer
I know what you’re thinking: hydrangea fertilizer for hostas? Yes!
This product from TPS Nutrients is amazing for promoting root health and even blooming for your hostas. Since both hostas and hydrangeas enjoy acidic soil, this is an amazing product for both plants.
The 3-3.6-5.1 NPK ratio is designed to promote flowering and overall health, which is great for established hostas that have plenty of leaf growth already.
You can also use this fertilizer as a leaf spray to give your hostas some extra shine.
However, the low nitrogen content doesn’t promote leaf growth, making this likely unsuitable for new transplanted hostas.
Promotes root health
Can be used as a fertilizer or leaf spray
Can encourage rare hosta blooms
Lower nitrogen content
Expensive for large gardens of hostas
5. Best Pick for New Transplants
Down to Earth All-Natural Tree and Shrub Fertilizer
If you have newly-transplanted hostas, this all-natural tree and shrub fertilizer is perfect!
The 4-2-4 NPK ratio is gentle enough for your plants, and a lot of the nutrients promote leaf growth and overall health. This can help to fight off transplant shock and keep your new hostas happy.
Transplant shock is one of the leading killers of hostas, so I can’t recommend this product enough for new transplants!
It’s also OMRI Certified Organic, which is great for those out there who steer away from inorganic products.
However, it doesn’t encourage blooming (since the formula is designed for non-flowering plants), and it can be too gentle for mature hostas. This one’s for the kids!
OMRI Certified Organic
Can help fight off transplant shock
4-2-4 NPK ratio
Can be too gentle for mature hostas
Not designed to promote blooms
Best Overall: The Old Farmer’s Almanac Tree & Shrub Fertilizer Spikes
All of these are amazing products, but I can’t recommend The Old Farmer’s Almanac Tree & Shrub Fertilizer Spikes enough!
The 5-inch spike delivers nutrients directly to the root, and the 13-3-3 NPK ratio is perfect for hostas that need a little more oomph to them. You’ll notice new leaf growth practically overnight.
They’re also so easy to use, and perfect for lazy gardeners like myself who want to fertilize once and be done with it.
Your hosta will quickly notice a difference thanks to this high-quality nutrition, and you will, too! Get ready for big, beautiful hostas with robust leaves.
Final Thoughts On The Top 5 Fertilizers For Hostas
Hostas are a beautiful, leafy perennial that can thrive for years if you give it the right conditions. One of the best ways to ensure healthy growth for your hosta is to give it a good dose of high-quality fertilizer.
Any of the options on this list are suited for your hosta–it’s just about finding the right product for you. Whether your using fertilizer spikes, a water-soluble formula, or anything in between, your hostas will thank you!
I hope you enjoyed this list of the top 5 fertilizers for hostas. Stay planting!
Why Is My Hosta Turning Yellow?
Hostas often turn yellow as a sign of overwatering. Keep your hosta on a watering regimen of 1-2 thorough waterings weekly.
Why Isn’t My Hosta Growing?
Hostas can become nutrient-deficient as they mature. Giving them a healthy dose of high-quality fertilizer can jumpstart their growth again.
Can I Grow Hostas In A Pot?
Yes! While many hostas are too big to be put in a pot, there are varities of mini hostas that do very well in containers.
Can I Grow Hostas Indoors?
You can grow hostas indoors, but they have a dormant period to keep in mind. In the winter, keep them in a chilly environment (such as a garage) to allow them to go dormant.
What To Do With Hostas In Winter?
In the winter, hostas go dormant. After the first hard frost, cut off all the leaves. Then, mulch the roots thoroughly and leave them alone all winter–no watering! They’ll come back in the spring good as new.