How to Grow Hostas Under Trees {Easy}

As avid garden enthusiasts, we often find ourselves obsessing over maximizing every available inch of our garden space. Yet, one area that has posed a unique challenge over the years is the space beneath trees. Fortunately, we’ve uncovered a fantastic solution for this often-neglected space – the art of growing hostas around trees. The beauty of this gardening endeavor lies in its numerous advantages:

  1. Thriving in Shade: Hostas flourish in the shaded conditions typically found beneath most trees, providing an ideal environment for their growth.
  2. Diverse Variety: Hostas come in an array of colors, sizes, and textured leaves, making them perfect for creating a captivating and aesthetically pleasing garden design.
  3. Low Maintenance: When appropriately paired with the right tree companions, hostas are easy to care for, adding an element of simplicity to your garden maintenance.

In this comprehensive 2000-word article, we will explore the nuances of growing hostas around trees, including the types of trees that are conducive to such plantings, ideal hosta varieties for this purpose, and the best practices for planting and caring for hostas in this unique gardening context. Before delving into these topics, we’ll draw inspiration from creative hosta gardening ideas around trees.

Creative Ideas for Planting Hostas Around Trees

The sight of hostas thriving beneath the shade of a majestic tree can transport you to a different era when well-manicured gardens and garden parties were all the rage. Planting hostas around trees can infuse your garden with a sense of balance and completeness. Let’s explore some creative ideas and visual inspirations for incorporating hostas around trees:

1. Hosta Shade Circle: Imagine a simple yet effective ring of variegated hostas encircling the base of a tree, as seen in a delightful garden posted on Pinterest. This arrangement transforms a mere tree trunk protruding from a monotonous lawn into a captivating miniature garden feature. By selecting different varieties of variegated hostas, you can introduce layers of texture within the hosta garden itself.

2. Ground Cover for Garden Beds: Incorporating hostas around trees and garden beds can result in a lush ground cover that clearly defines the boundaries of the garden bed and the lawn, as exemplified in the garden pictured by Monrovia. The hostas in this design offer an enchanting contrast to the surrounding landscape.

3. Cottage Garden Whimsy: Experimenting with various hosta varieties can evoke a whimsical cottage garden ambiance around your trees. Hostas come in a plethora of colors, shapes, and sizes, as demonstrated in a charming shade garden featured by Japs1955 on Flickr. Different-colored hostas can introduce vibrant pops of color to what might otherwise be a mundane space around the tree.

4. Hidden Cottage Garden: For those seeking to create a concealed cottage garden under trees, Monrovia’s mystical garden provides an excellent example. Planting hostas en masse results in an enchanting and flourishing hosta garden that evokes the charm of hidden, whimsical cottage gardens.

These creative gardening ideas illustrate the versatility of hostas in enhancing the beauty and allure of spaces around trees. Hostas, with their myriad variations, allow for diverse garden designs that cater to your individual style and preferences.

Tips for Creating a Hosta Shade Garden

Now that your imagination is brimming with creative possibilities, let’s delve into some essential landscaping design tips for your hosta shade garden. Successful hosta gardening beneath trees hinges on specific considerations, from plant selection to soil preparation and planting. Here are key tips to ensure the success of your hosta shade garden:

1. Plant Selection is Key: The choice of hosta varieties significantly influences the overall success of your hosta shade garden. We recommend using images or mood boards as inspiration to guide your selection of hosta leaf colors and sizes. For a formal garden feel, stick to one or two hosta varieties, while a cottage garden appearance benefits from multiple hosta varieties with varying colors, shapes, and sizes.

2. Planting Preparation: Effective garden planning necessitates thorough research on the hosta varieties you intend to plant around your tree. Gather information on their mature size, spacing requirements, and growth rate. This knowledge is crucial for planning the layout and placement of your hostas.

3. Layout Design: While your hostas are still in pots, engage in preliminary landscape design by arranging the pots to simulate your intended garden layout. Test the soil under and around the pots to identify any tree roots that might pose obstacles. This preparatory step allows flexibility in plant placement and design adjustments if unexpected tree roots interfere.

4. Optimal Planting Time: Fortunately, hostas are shade-loving and hardy plants, making them suitable for year-round planting. However, it’s advisable to avoid planting hostas on scorching summer days or during heatwaves. Even though they will be positioned in the shade, the lack of water during hot weather can hinder their growth and establishment in the new environment.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be well-prepared to create a thriving hosta shade garden under your trees.

Instructions for Planting Hostas Around Trees

To ensure the success of your hosta shade garden, follow these step-by-step instructions for planting hostas around trees:

Step 1: Plant Selection: Begin by selecting the hosta varieties that align with your garden design and preferences. Prioritize hardy, low-maintenance hosta varieties to minimize future maintenance. Consider factors such as leaf color, mature plant size, and the presence of flowers when making your selections.

Step 2: Prepare the Holes in the Ground: Once you’ve selected your hosta varieties, prepare holes in the ground where you plan to position your hostas. Ensure you’ve previously assessed these areas for any tree roots, as mentioned in the preparatory tips. Dig holes of a depth equivalent to the hosta’s root ball when removed from its container. The width of each hole should be approximately 1-2 times the size of the root ball.

Step 3: Prepare the Soil: Elevate your soil preparation by enriching the soil with organic matter and nutrients. This step breathes new life into the soil, creating an optimal environment for your hostas to establish a robust root structure. Loosen the soil around the holes and incorporate organic matter, such as compost or worm castings, to enhance soil fertility. Additionally, mix a slow-releasing, all-purpose fertilizer into the soil to provide the hostas with essential nutrients.

Step 4: Plant Your Hostas: With nutrient-rich soil prepared, it’s time to plant your hostas. Position the hostas in the holes and backfill the loose soil around the root ball. Ensure that the surface of the hosta’s topsoil is level with the ground. After planting, provide your new hostas with a generous watering and tidy up the area by adding additional topsoil as needed.

Step 5: Finishing Touches: Conclude your hosta planting by mulching around the base of each plant. Mulching helps retain moisture during dry spells and deters weed growth. This additional step contributes to the overall health and vitality of your hosta shade garden.

By following these instructions, you’ll establish a flourishing hosta shade garden under your trees, enhancing the aesthetics of your outdoor space.

Choosing the Right Trees for Planting Hostas Around

One crucial aspect to consider when planning a hosta shade garden is the selection of the tree under which you intend to plant hostas. Not all trees are compatible with hostas in this context, and choosing the wrong tree can result in an unfavorable gardening experience. Let’s explore the types of trees that work well with hostas and those that may present challenges:

1. Hostas and Pine Trees: Hostas can successfully coexist with pine trees, but it’s essential to be mindful of maintenance. Pine trees often create acidic soil, which is suitable for hostas, as they prefer slightly acidic conditions. However, the root system of pine trees may compete with hostas for nutrients. Regular feeding may be necessary to ensure the hostas’ health and vitality in such environments.

2. Hostas and Maple Trees: Planting hostas under maple trees is not recommended. Maple trees possess a fibrous root system that can dominate and eventually deplete the hostas of essential nutrients. The hostas may suffer and decline due to inadequate nourishment. However, hostas can be paired with Japanese maple trees, as they are less dominant and won’t suffocate hostas. Japanese maple trees, though, are typically smaller and may not provide the same level of shade protection as larger trees.

3. Hostas and Oak Trees: Planting hostas under oak trees is a highly recommended pairing. Oak trees feature deep root systems that do not compete for water and nutrients with hostas, unlike pine and maple trees. Oak trees also allow dappled sunlight to filter through to the ground beneath them, creating ideal conditions for hostas to thrive. The only consideration when planting hostas under oak trees is the leaf fall during autumn, which requires clearing to prevent disease and rot.

4. Hostas and Cedar Trees: Hostas can thrive under cedar trees, but you may encounter similar challenges as with pine trees. Cedar trees have thick canopies that limit the amount of water reaching the ground. Consequently, supplemental watering or irrigation may be necessary to support the hostas’ growth. Despite the extra care, this pairing can be mutually beneficial, with hostas acting as a green mulch for the cedar tree.

5. Hostas and Spruce Trees: Hostas can successfully grow under spruce trees, making them a viable option for areas where other plants struggle. The key to successful hosta growth under spruce trees is careful placement to avoid interfering with the tree’s roots. Regular watering and nutrient supplementation can help ensure hostas receive adequate nourishment in such conditions.

Selecting the right tree is a critical component of creating a thriving hosta shade garden. Careful consideration of the tree’s characteristics and the specific needs of your hostas will contribute to the success of this unique gardening endeavor.


Planting hostas around trees presents an exciting opportunity to transform underutilized garden space into a captivating and thriving hosta shade garden. Hostas, with their adaptability to shade and diverse range of varieties, offer a canvas for creative garden designs. By selecting the right hosta varieties, preparing the soil, and following proper planting procedures, you can establish a vibrant hosta shade garden that enhances the beauty of your outdoor space.

Moreover, choosing the appropriate tree companions is crucial for a harmonious gardening experience. While some trees may present challenges, others, such as oak trees, create the ideal conditions for hostas to thrive. Careful consideration of the tree’s characteristics and the specific requirements of your hostas ensures a successful gardening venture.

Incorporate these insights and ideas into your gardening endeavors, and you’ll soon enjoy the enchantment of hostas flourishing around your trees, creating a delightful and vibrant garden within your garden. Whether you aim for a formal garden feel, a cottage garden whimsy, or a lush ground cover, hostas around trees offer endless possibilities for garden enthusiasts to explore and savor.

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