Variegated Hostas under Dogwoods

My Garden in Springtime by zenamoonbeam (on flickr)
My Garden in Springtime by zenamoonbeam (on flickr)

TheGardenLady received this question.

I’d like to plant variegated hostas beneath a pink dogwood this spring. Is it a good idea?

TheGardenLady thinks that planting variegated hostas under a pink dogwood sounds gorgeous. But because dogwoods are being stressed these days, plant the hostas with caution (see here).

Be careful not to plant the hostas too close to the dogwood trunk. Notice that dogwoods in nature don’t like plants close to the trunk. Plant the hostas just outside the tree’s drip line (see here).  Dogwoods have shallow, far-reaching root systems, so when planting the hostas be careful that you don’t damage big roots which are fairly shallow.  Those are roots that are 1″ in diameter and larger.  You don’t want to hurt the tree by damaging the roots (see here).  The younger the tree, the closer you can plant the hostas because the roots will find the ideal places to grow their roots. Don’t pile lots of soil over the dogwood roots when planting anything near the tree.

Remember that dogwood trees like a lot of water. Dogwood roots don’t like to compete for water. Keep your dogwood well watered – Water weekly in the morning during dry periods. Caution: Do not wet foliage. If you are having a drought in your area, as many areas are having, be sure that the dogwood and the hostas get well watered. Since they are shallow-rooted trees, dogwoods are among the first plants to show drought stress. They need supplemental water in the absence of regular rainfall, especially during the summer and fall. Water in the morning, preferably with a soaker hose, to a depth of 6″. Use of a sprinkler is not recommended because it wets the foliage, setting up ideal conditions for certain diseases. But dogwoods don’t like to be overwatered. They don’t want the soil saturated. Dogwoods are feeling lots of stress these days; so you don’t want to add any more stress to the tree you have (see here).