There are over 70 different hosta species and many hundreds of varieties, and with one or two exceptions, they grow very well in British gardens as they are best suited to a temperate climate with a high rainfall. Whilst the foliage is much more luxuriant when grown in semi-shade and moist conditions, their water-retaining root system enables them to withstand drought and strong sunlight. Some of the gold leafed varieties will tend to scorch if grown in direct sunlight but others with gold leaves actually need sunlight in order to achieve the best colouring.
Hostas will grow in virtually any good soil but do best in neutral to acid loam, treated with humus and well mulched with leaf mould every autumn. To attain the most spectacular foliage effects a regular foliar feed throughout the growing season is recommended. Hostas should be planted with their roots teased gently apart and spread over a mound of earth and the hole filled in with compost and leaf mould Newly planted Hostas should be carefully watered with a fine spray every day for at least two weeks; the best time for planting being early spring just as the tips of the crowns are showing.
Hostas are easily increased by division of the clump in early spring but ideally new plants should be left undisturbed for about 5 years. Hostas can be grown from seed, but as the male parent is often unknown, the naming of the resulting seedlings is unreliable. For this reason, vegetative propagation is always advised for true offspring of the parent.
Hostas are not prone to many diseases, their worst enemies are slugs and snails which proliferate in dark corners, shady areas and moist soil conditions. There are many proprietary brands of slug and snail repellent on the market and a watchful eye should be kept on emerging plants as damaged 1eaves will ruin the appearance of the plant for the whole growing season.
Information supplied by the British Hosta And Hemerocalis Society