Hosta's, a native to Japan, China and Korea, are probably one of the most versatile perennial in the garden this side of the grasses.
They range from small 4-6in dwarf types for groundcover to 5ft specimens.
Though most favour part to full shade, there are many varieties that can be grown in full sun!
Placement and Design Ideas:
Brighten up a shady corner of your garden, consider using some of the gold or variegated varieties. If you still have a shady corner but the soil is unworkable, try placing a Hosta in a pot. Hosta make great cover-ups for the post bloom bulb leaves; plant a Hosta near some of your spring bulbs. While the bulb leaves are dying down (don't cut them you will sacrifice or at least hinder next years bloom), the large leaves of the Hosta will hide them. Use gold-leaved Hosta varieties as a foil for darker leaved shade plants like some of the ferns or Heucheras. Contrast fine and coarse textured plants. ie Maiden Hair Fern and Hosta sieboldiana 'Frances Williams'. Don't forget to bring them inside! Both the leaves and flowers are fantastic in arrangements. Because of the bold leaves and the strong architectural form of many of the specimens, you can use them to highlight or add emphasis in the garden. They can also more than hold their own with garden structures from a twisted piece of driftwood, to a garden bench, to an antique birdbath.
Requirements and Care:
They prefer a somewhat moist but well drained, not damp, humic soil. Most prefer part shade to full shade. A few can be grown in full sun. The blue and green varieties tend to prefer shade, while the gold leaved and variegated varieties can tolerate more sun. You can divide your Hosta in the spring or fall if you like.
Pests and Problems:
Slugs and snails, slugs and snails and more slugs and snails. Hail is not too much fun either for the early Hosta. While hail may be at the whim of Mother Nature, we can choose later emerging varieties if really nasty springs are a regular occurrence in your neck of the woods. As for the slugs and snails, there are a number of slug-resistant hosta varieties (generally those with thicker and waxier foliage). You can also use barrier methods such as copper tape (works like a charm for my Hosta in pots). Mulching with gravel or coarse sand around your plants also helps in deterring these critters according to John Valleau in his Heritage Perennials: Perennial Gardening Guide. Safer's and Corey's also have a slug and snail bait.
Favourite Plant Combinations:
Hosta with Heucheras go together like peas and carrots. Hosta with ferns, especially the Maidenhair fern make a lovely contrast. Potted blue Hosta with Gold -leaved Creeping Jenny and Impatiens. Gold variegated Hosta with blue Siberian Iris. Blue or Gold Hosta on a bed of variegated Ajuga.
Hosta sieboldiana 'Francis Williams'
Hosta 'Sum and Substance'
Hosta sieboldiana 'Elegans'
Hosta 'Krossa Regal'
Hosta 'Sun Power'
Hosta 'Love Pat'
In no particular order, some of our favourites include:
Visit us online at www.artsnursery.com or log on to facebook and share some of your favourite Hosta varieties and plant combo's!
Pictures of your great plants are always welcome!