Hostas offer mounds of delightful shapes and textures for your shaded areas. They are sometimes known as ‘Plantain Lily’. There are any where from 30 to 45 species of hosta available. Some of them are not as easy to acquire as other varieties may be, but all of them will dazzle you with their beautiful foliage. Hostas are great addition to your yard or garden, especially if you are trying to vary your plant textures.
Hosta prefers partial or full shade, and fertile, moist but well-drained soil. They form mounds of heart-shaped, oval, or lance-shaped leaves in green, blue, yellow, and silver hues are the star attractions. Stalks of bell shaped or spider shaped blue, lavender, or white flowers appear in the summer months.
Interesting and low maintenance, hostas are elite members of the classic perennial shade border group. Plant them in odd-numbered groups in the border, in the woodland garden, in containers, or at the base of irrigated woody plants.
Care of Hosta
Find a cozy cool spot in your garden to plant one or several hosta varieties. Hosta should be planted 18-36” apart in spring or fall. When the soil feels dry 2 inches below the surface, water deeply. You may use a slow release fertilizer when planting. You should also apply a 3” layer of vegetative mulch in summer and winter to help retain the plants moisture. As the mulch decomposes, it will add organic matter tot he soil.
Some gardeners prefer to snip off the flowers when they appear. They feel that the flowers take away from the look of the foliage. This is entirely up to the individual gardener as to which to do. Hosta needs to be cut back in fall once frost withers the foliage.
Propagation of Hosta
Many hosta do not require division to remain vigorous and are long lived. They may be divided in spring or fall. Divide hosta, by digging around the root clump and lifting the entire plant from its growing bed. Plunge a sharp spade through the crown and root system. Reset portions that contain healthy roots and top shoots, then water and mulch. Discard any pieces that are not healthy enough to plant.
Hosta Diseases and Pests
Hosta are relatively pest free if their cultural preferences are met. Slugs and snails can be notorious pests for hostas.
Favorite Hosta Varieties
There are so many different varieties of hosta, but here are some that are favorites among gardeners. Such varieties as: Hosta Sieboldiana, Hosta Flavocircinalis, Hosta Fracine, Hosta June, Hosta Orange Marmalade, and Hosta Wide Brim. Let’s face it, I love them all! I would plant everyone I found, if I only had the room in my garden.
More information on Hostas may be found in some of these great books.
Other beautiful varieties of Hostas.