The spacing of hostas ultimately depends on the spread of the specific variety as hostas can vary significantly in size with miniature and giant cultivars widely available in garden stores.
Not only that, there are many factors that can determine the ultimate size of a hosta, that will influence how far apart to space each plant.
Soil fertility, the amount of shade, soil moisture, wind and whether or not they receive a yearly feed will all have an impact on the size of hostas.
Scroll down for a table which explains how far apart hostas of all sizes should be planted.
How Much Space Between Hostas
To give you an idea of how much space to give each hosta I have created a table with the most popular varieties to indicate roughly how far apart to plant each hosta.
Note, that this is a guide of how far apart to plant hostas in order to get the best results in terms of size, shape, variegation and luxuriant foliage. Hostas will grow closer together successfully, however there may be some compromise (in terms of the quality of the plant) if they are planted very close.
I have categorised popular hosta cultivars into, miniature, small, medium, large and giant.
As you can tell there is significant size discrepancies between different types of hosta, so always try to space and plant according to size for best results.
|Hosta Size and Popular Varieties||Spread of Hosta at Maturity||How far Apart to Plant Each Hosta|
|Miniature Hostas: ‘Masqurade’, ‘Hosta Venusta’||Height: 4-6 inches (10-15 cm)|
Width: 18 inches (45 cm)
|Plant each miniature hosta approximately 18 inches (45 cm) apart.|
|Small Hostas: ‘Moon river’, ‘Fire and Ice’, ‘Emerald Tiara’ ‘Gold Tiara’ ||Height: 6-10 inches (15-25 cm)|
Width: 24 inches (60 cm)
|Plant each small hosta approximately 28 inches (70 cm) apart.|
|Medium Hostas: ‘Olive branch’, ‘Hosta lancifolia’, ‘June’, ‘Invincible’,’Halcyon’||Height: 10-18 inches (25-45 cm)|
Width: 36 inches (90 cm)
|Plant each medium hosta approximately 40 inches (1 m) apart.|
|Large Hostas: ‘Royal Standard’, ‘Patriot’, Moonlight’, ‘Gold Standard’, ‘Aspen Gold’||Height: 18-28 inches (45-70 cm) |
Width: 60 inches (150 cm)
|Plant each large hosta approximately 60 inches (150 cm) apart.|
|Giant Hostas: ‘Jade Cascade’, ‘Sum and Substance’, ‘Frosted Jade’||Height: 28-32 inches (70-82 cm)|
Width: 83 inches (210 cm)
|Plant each Giant hosta approximately 80 inches (2 m) apart.|
Do bear in mind that if you have planted hostas too close together, to the point they are overcrowding one another, then it is okay to transplant hostas at anytime of year, although this is best done during the Fall.
Hostas are very hardy plants when it comes to division to so you can alternatively divide an oversized hosta in half and move it elsewhere in your garden to prevent overcrowding and you will have another plant for your garden.
When you have planted your hostas and spaced them accordingly the planting area may look a bit bear with a lot of soil on show between plants for the time being, but treat them well and with patience they will spread their foliage to fill the area nicely.
The main reason for spacing Hostas this way is so that they are proflicic spreaders (in terms of vegetative growth and so that each plant does not have to compete with each other for nutrients, water, space in the soil etc.
Hostas are thirsty and hungry plants with the giant hostas requiring 3 gallons of water per day at the hottest times of year.
Hostas need the soil to be kept permanently moist (but not saturated) as hostas rely on the internal pressure caused by consistent transpiration from the leaves which stimulates water to be drawn up by the roots to maintain their structure, hence why it is so important to plant hostas in moisture retaining soil.
If hostas are planted too close together their roots will be competeing for moisture in the surrounding soil. If hostas do not have access to enough moisture they not grow to their full potential and their leaves can look misshapen.
This will also lead to increased susceptibility to disease and predation for pesky slugs and snails. (see my article on how to prevent slugs eating hostas for some tips that actually work).
The problem of hostas competing for water can be exacerbated by soil with a deficit of organic matter (which holds onto moisture very well) and soil that is not regularly mulched.
Hostas are heavy feeders which means they will have to compete with each other or other plants for nutrients in the soil. The larger the hosta is the more demand they will make for nutrients hence the importance for generous spacing when planting.
Hostas require significant quantities of Nitrogen (N) Phorsrous (P) and potassium (K) to grow the most attractive and healthy foliage.
Smaller hostas can grow very well in rich soils however if you are growing medium, large or giant hostas then it is recommend that you feed them in the spring with a general plant fertilizer from a reputable brand such as miracle grow.
Always follow the manufacturers instructions when fertilizing and do not feed hostas after August as this will stimulate new growth when hostas are preparing for winter dormancy.
When planting your hostas consider whether you will have enough space to get between each plant to add fertilizer to the ground.
(See my guide to growing hostas under pine trees for more information on how to grow hostas successfully when they have to compete with other plants for fertility).
Overcrowded hostas can also create an environment that is more favourable for slugs, snails and fungal disease due to creating their own micro climate of higher levels of humidity from transpiring leaves.
Leave Space Between Hostas for Mulch
Another important consideration when spacing hostas is whether you have left sufficient space around each plant to distribute mulch in the spring.
Adding mulch in early spring is important to help retain soil moisture, add nutrients and improve the soil structure so that hostas crucially do not dry out in the upcoming spring and summer weather.
A 2 inch layer of mulch (ideally compost, leaf mould or manure) around hostas will help keep each plant as healthy as possible, just make sure that you leave about a 6 inch radius of soil between the mulch and the crown of the hosta as the crown does not like to be covered by mulch.
- Hostas should be spaced according how large the cultivar will be at full maturity.
- Miniature hostas need to be planted 18 inches apart, small hostas 28 inches, medium hostas 40 inches, large hostas 60 inches and giant hostas require 80 inches of space.
- Overcrowded hostas can be transplanted or divided at any time of year, although spring is the best time for moving hostas.
- Hostas need to be spaced generously as this will allow them to reach their full potential in terms of size, shape and luxuriant foliage.
- If hostas are too close together they will compete for moisture, nutrients and space which will compromise the potential size and health of each plant.
- Always leave enough room to get between the hostas so you can split or transplant each hosta, add fertilizer or spread mulch around each plant.