Will Hostas Grow Under Pine Trees? How To Succeed

The pine tree is one of the plants that many people love to grow in the garden. They provide excellent shade for the plants living below. However, not all plants can live beneath pine trees and thrive.

Recently, many gardeners are very interested in planting Hostas plants under pine trees to create an eye-catching landscape for the garden. Will Hostas grow under pine trees? What do you need to do to successfully grow Hostas under pine trees? How to maintain the sustainable growth of both of these plants? All detailed answers are already in the article below.

Will Hostas Grow Under Pine Trees? Top 5 Ways To Be Successful

You can successfully grow Hostas plants under pine trees if you know how to add some nutrients and improve the soil. Here are 5 simple tips you can do to build a co-living space for both Hostas and pine trees that can still grow and thrive.

Add Organic Fertilizer To Improve Soil Moisture

Usually, the soil underneath the pine tree is dry and doesn’t have enough moisture for other plants to grow. Besides, many layers of fallen pine leaves below have begun to decompose and change the soil. However, if the layers of pine needles are completely decomposed, they can create a soil pH of 6. This pH is quite suitable for Hostas plants to grow and develop healthily.

If you don’t improve the soil underneath the pine tree, the condition of the soil will have some serious problems. The soil under the pine tree will be too dry and not moist enough for the Hostas plants. Besides, rainfall is also blocked by the dense pine foliage, so the amount of water is not enough to moisten the soil. In addition, Hostas plants cannot grow well if the soil lacks nutrients for many years. This is because pine trees can live intensely without care for long periods. However, for the plants below like Hostas plants, they need additional nutrients and fertilizers every month to grow healthy.

Therefore, you need to add organic matter, leaves, and decaying manure to improve the nutrient quality and moisture in the soil. In particular, organic matter such as coir, leaf mold or manure can maintain ideal nutrients and moisture for Hostas plants for a long time. The reason is that organic materials will stimulate beneficial bacteria and earthworms to improve soil porosity. Important notes you need to remember when growing Hostas plants under pine trees.

  • You need to improve a large area of land around the pine tree so that the Hostas plants can grow and develop long after they grow new trees.
  • The larger the surrounding soil space, the better the plants will absorb nutrients and grow better.
  • Dig holes that match the size of the Hostas plants and create enough gaps to prevent them from colliding with each other.
  • You should not plant plants too shallow at the surface of the soil because they are very susceptible to lack of water and nutrients after watering.
  • Backfill the dug holes with a mixture of compost and some manure such as chicken or duck.
  • Ensure constant watering to maintain moisture in the soil and stimulate the plant’s ability to take root.
will hostas grow under pine trees

Cover with A Layer Of Straw Or Mulch To Prevent The Soil From Becoming Too Dry

Adding a layer of straw or mulch from leaves, and coir is very important to improve soil texture, and water holding capacity, avoid excessive moisture evaporation, and maintain essential nutrients for plants.

If you only improve the soil by adding organic matter without a top layer of mulch, the soil will also quickly dry out and be unable to maintain moisture. This is because the dense foliage of pine trees will prevent large amounts of rainwater from falling to the ground. Therefore, this amount of water is too small to ensure proper humidity for Hostas plants. This coating also has the effect of absorbing water and breaking it down into organic fertilizers. In addition, mulch can also help you prevent rapid weed growth.

  • Cover a layer of mulch such as straw, leaves, or coir about 1-2 inches thick around the Hostas plants.
  • The minimum distance between the mulch and the tops of Hostas plants should be at least 6 inches apart.
  • You can use this mulch for plants at any time of the year. However, the best time to use this mulch is in the spring. The reason is that this mulch can trap moisture in the summer months with high temperatures and maintain natural fertilizers.
  • Organic materials such as manure, decaying leaves, or grass clippings mixed make an ideal mix.
  • Do not overwater this mulch because it can rot and create favorable conditions for fungal and insect growth.
  • Do not use wood chips or hard bark as they do not provide much benefit in terms of moisture retention and nutrient quality for soil improvement.

Water Slowly And Drip To Maintain Moisture

The best way to water Hostas plants is to water at a slow rate and drip like raindrops in nature. You can use a hose to spray water several hours a day during the summer to ensure moisture in the soil. In the summer, dry soil is the biggest problem you will face when growing Hostas plants under pine trees. Therefore, a careful and proper watering schedule needs to be established, especially on hot summer days.

Moreover, you need to water a large amount to ensure enough water for both plants. Pine trees have large and healthy root systems so they can better absorb water. Therefore, you need to focus watering on each hole where Hostas plants are planted to provide enough water. If you don’t have an automatic watering system for a few hours a day, you need to water at least 2-3 times per day in the summer.

Monitor Soil Moisture Continuously, Especially During The Growing Season

Hostas plants are very sensitive to changes in soil moisture. Watering thoroughly and deeply will stimulate plants to grow roots and cling to the soil faster. From there, they can absorb water and nutrients in the soil. You need to regularly check the moisture in the soil with a moisture meter or use your finger. Whenever you notice 2-3 inches of dry soil, water it continuously to prevent plants from drying out.

When the soil dries, Hostas plants will show signs of stress such as yellow spots, brown spots, or leaf burn. Plants will also wither and lose leaves mass if lack of water for a long time. An important note is that you should water in the morning to provide moisture for plants when the temperature is high in the afternoon. You should not water at night or wet the leaves because snails and fungi love moist environments.

Add Fertilizers And Necessary Substances For Hostas Plants

Fertilizer is an indispensable source of nutrients for Hostas plants. What’s more, Hostas plants will have to compete directly with the healthy root system of the pine tree for nutrients. Therefore, you need to add a large amount of fertilizer to provide enough for both Hostas plants and pine trees.

Do you think adding mulch or organic matter is to provide enough nutrients in the soil? However, it is a misconception, such materials only help to supplement but not completely replace fertilizer products. So you still need to fertilize the plants during the growing season to provide them with enough energy.

Liquid or slow-release fertilizer products will also work for these two plants. You start fertilizing the soil every two weeks in early spring when the weather starts to warm up and the frosts have passed. Apply fertilizer every two weeks continuously until August. You should not apply any fertilizer after August because the plants will begin to hibernate. Do not apply any fertilizer after August as it will stimulate new growth at a time when the host is preparing for hibernation.


Hostas plants can grow and thrive under pine trees if you know how to improve soil quality and take proper care. Here are some important summaries to keep in mind when growing Hostas plants under pine trees.

  • Improve the soil with organic substances to help loosen the soil with materials such as chicken manure, rotting leaves, grass clippings, and coir.
  • Mulch such as straw or dry leaves is needed in spring to maintain proper moisture when summer arrives.
  • Water constantly in the summer to maintain moisture because the soil under the pine will be very dry.
  • Add nutrients from liquid or slow-release fertilizers to ensure enough nutrients for both plants.

A particularly important note is that you need to pay attention to regular watering, especially in the summer. Because Hostas plants will have to compete for water with pine trees. Install drip irrigation for several hours continuously or water 2-3 times per day on high-temperature days.

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