Hostas have quickly become one of our more popular plants to purchase, especially the Blue Mountain variety. We have had some complaints that the plant has not turned blue enough and after checking with the breeder we found that the plant needs to be in the shade in order to turn blue. Hostas are great for garden locations with full or partial shade.
This plant is also known as Plantation Lily. They are a shade tolerant foliage plant. The plant is native to Northeast Asia (China, Japan, Korea and far eastern parts of Russia. The plant is named in honor of Austrian botanist Nicholas Thomas Hosts.
Hostas are easy to grow and maintain perennial plants. While these plants are known for their foliage, they produce summer blooming spikes of fragrant flowers in the summer. The flowers are found in lavender, pink, or white. They come in many colors including blue, chartreuse, green, yellow, and variegated. These plants vary in size from dwarf ones that are around 4-inches to giant ones that run up to 6-feet wide.
These plants make great borders and do well in rock gardens. With the different sizes and colors of Hostas, there is a variety to fit any situation. Hostas are best planted in the spring. Purchase dormant, bare-root plants or plants in pots. Plant in locations protected from the wind as leaves of exposed plants can be severely damaged by storms. These plants also attract hummingbirds.
Each year the American Hosta Growers Association select a Hosta of the year because of the increasing number of Hosta cultivars being introduced. It was difficult for nursery owners and gardeners to choose just the right hostas for their sales areas and gardens. To win Hosta of the year the variety needs to be able to be grown in all regions of the country and there needs to be a good supply of the plants available.
In 2019, the winner is 'Lakeside Paisley Print' Hosta. It is a small Hosta. The 7-inch heart-shaped leaves are rippled and heavily veined with green and cream markings. The foliage is shiny on top but dull underneath. Pale lavender flowers will bloom in the mid-summer.
The 2020 winner is named ‘Dancing Queen’. This large Hosta is yellow and then turns chartreuse. The large leaves of this Hosta have a prominent pie crust edge, adding additional zing to this plant. Pale lavender flowers will bloom in mid to late summer.
Plant Hostas in a rich, slightly moist soil; so consider mulching them to keep the soil moist. These plants are relatively drought tolerant, but it is best to not let them dry out. Water is best applied directly to the soil beneath the leaves. After the flowers bloom, make sure you remove the flowers stalks to encourage new growth. Hostas can be divided every three to five years in the early spring when the plants are starting their new growth. These plants do attract such pests as slugs, snails, deer, and rabbits, so be sure to take precautions to keep these visitors away Hostas are hardy for zones 3 – 8.
Lakeside Paisley Print and Dancing Queen photos courtesy of Walters Gardens, Inc.