Sunday, June 3rd, 2007...9:26 am

Hosta Flowers


TheGardenLady received this question from Anne.

My row of hostas is at the edge of a wooded area and don’t seem to have many flowers.  We live in the Midwest and I am wondering when flowering should occur and how to promote flowers.

Though Hostas like to be in shade, just like most flowering plants, with more light and even some sun, hostas will bloom more. If you know the type of hosta you have, you might check on its flowering ability. It is a possibility that your hostas don’t flower very much. There are many hostas out there yet much work is being done on hybridizing newer and better hostas. One of the improvements being worked on is better flowering.  See here.

Hostas enjoy fertilizing.  See here.  For better flowering you can even try some of the “bloom buster” type fertilizers. When you look at a container of fertilizer you will see three numbers and/or 3 letters on it with numbers that tell what percent of each important nutrient is in the fertilizer. (Plus some trace minerals – these are not relevant to this discussion.)  The numbers/letters stand for Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium- always in that order. The plant needs all three to thrive. But each chemical does something different for the plant. For a simplistic explanation: the Nitrogen promotes leaf growth; the Phosphorus promotes flowering and the potassium helps the roots. So some fertilizers have equal amounts of each chemical – like 10-10-10. “Bloom buster” fertilizers increase the flowering of the plant so they  have a high number in the center – this means higher potassium. For example one of the bloom creating fertilizers I use is Schultz’s Bloom Plus  that has 10 54 10 on the label. That means 10% Nitrogen, 54% phosphorus and 10% potassium. Now that you understand what this means you can see why this product encourages flowering.

Always follow label directions carefully. To use more fertilizer than recommended might  be harmful for your plants. Using less might even help especially with Hostas which are bred for their interesting leaves more so than their flowers. I would try a bloom encouraging fertilizer on just a few of your hostas to see what happens. Also, check out the newer varieties of hostas to see if any have more and better flowering. (TheGardenLady answered your question assuming that your flowers are not being eaten by deer or rabbits.)

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