Hostas originate from China and Japan and are arguably one of the best perennials for shade, along with ferns. They prefer a part shade/shady spot in a tub, container or the border and need a position in the garden with well-drained but moist soil.
They are predominantly grown for their highly decorative, compact, clump-forming leaf shapes and forms, with the flowers being of secondary importance, but that is not to demean them, the attractive tall stems hold either white, lilac or purple bell-shaped flowers in the summer.
*Hostas can be a magnet for slugs when the new young leaves appear in the spring so be vigilant. They appear to prefer the smoother leafed varieties and less so the more textured/ribbed leaf ones.
General Bare Root Advice
Bare root perennials will benefit from a soak in a bucket of cold water for an hour before planting, to ensure that the roots are fully hydrated.
Dig a large enough hole to plant the whole root, without damaging it, and incorporate fresh compost with the soil to aid drainage.
Plant not too deeply but making sure the roots are covered with compost/soil mixture. The crowns (the tops of the plants) should be just 2/3cms below soil level. If you can see a tiny amount of shoot or greenery make sure this is just above ground level. Firm gently in ensuring there are no air pockets under or around the roots and water the area well. This should be all the moisture they need until you can see the plants are actively growing. Once your plants are around 15-20cms in height you can give them a general-purpose feed.
Place a cane or label in the ground next to your bare root perennial just before you cover the roots over so that you know where and what you have planted.
*Do not plant bare perennials if the ground is waterlogged or frozen. If you need to plant when a very cold spell of weather is forecast, cover the area with cardboard or plastic sheeting to keep the worst of the cold out.
Alternatively, a very successful way to start off your bare root perennials is to plant up each bare root plant into a pot using fresh compost. Ensure that the pot is large enough for the roots to spread evenly in the pot. Sprinkle the roots with a mycorrhizal powder. Plant not too deeply but making sure the roots are covered with compost. The crowns (the tops of the plants) should be 2/3cms below soil level. Water in well and place a label into each pot. Leave until early/mid-spring or once the weather is more clement, when they can be planted in their final flowering positions in the garden border.
The plants can be cut back in late autumn once they have flowered or you can keep the seedheads on as they look very pretty.
Brookside Nursery Top Tip - Remember to water your bare root plants from spring throughout their first growing season to help establish healthy strong plants.