Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Heigh-Ho! Hostas! ABC Wednesday post

I was once told the Hosta is related to the plantain weed found in the lawn.  Because they both have large leaves, I thought it was plausible.  However, there's a distinction between the two types of plants:  "Click" these words for information from Wikipedia on plantain.  Doing a google search will net much more information...  we can eat it!  :-)

Okay.  Back to Hosta!  They are often called Plantain Lily; more often in Great Britain than here in the United States .  (Comments from my UK friends?)

While opinions differ as to the best time to plant, it seems the easiest to divide older plants in the early Spring, just as the plant begins to show itself.  One must make sure to have a root system within each division.  I very often plant hosta in early Fall (now!), as there is still time for the root system to establish itself before the weather turns cold.

Did you know that some people believe the hosta is the number one selling plant in the country?

 Hosta best enjoy being planted in locations with "deep shade"areas with up to 4 hours of sunlight, but seem to prefer mostly dappled sunlight.  Overall, avoid planting in late afternoon direct sunlight.   If your hosta receives late afternoon sun but you notice the leaves turning dry and brown, they are probably experiencing sunscald.  It generally won't kill them, but it does nothing for their appearance!      (The photo below was taken from the University of Minnesota Extension.)

For sunnier sites, plants in the Hosta plantaginea group will fare better, and actually develop more of the fragrant flowers they are known for; ‘August Moon’, ‘Sum and Substance’, ‘Honeybells’ are in this category. Hosta breeders continue to develop new varieties with greater sun tolerance; ‘Sundance’ and ‘Sun Glow’ fit into this category. At the same time these hostas will still tolerate shade, giving gardeners greater flexibility in site location.

The hosta plants below range from mini to small.


Hostas prefer rich, moist soil that is high in organic matter, yet well drained.  Adding organic materials such as peat, composted manure, or leaves will help improve soil structure and tilth. That said, hostas are generally adaptable and survive in a wide range of soils, adding to their ease of growing and popularity.  Mulching with shredded leaves might invite the slug - a pest that enjoys chomping on hosta leaves!


Hostas require an adequate supply of water to thrive. Hosta leaves have a large surface area and, due to transpiration, lose water easily.  If you find yourself needing to water,  be consistent with even moisture equaling an inch or so of water per week. Deeper watering done with less frequency is better than frequent shallow applications that do not penetrate the root zone.

Hostas planted in dry shade will need attentive watering; rain does not always reach under eaves of buildings or through tree canopies in sufficient amounts. Planting hostas beneath shallow-rooted trees, such as maples or spruce will require extra watering to both establish and maintain the health of the plant.


You will find hostas that thrive in growing zones 2 through 9.  My zone has changed in the past few years from 4 to 5 - a little more "balmy!"  ;-)

I'm a Hosta Lover, especially because I have a lot of shade in my backyard.  However, hosta enjoy the company of other plants, too!

The next few photos show some of the new varieties I've planted in these last couple of weeks!  :-)

Hale and Hearty!
Happy Hosta Lover!
SG

To enjoy more posts in this ABC Wednesday meme, visit by clicking the logo below.
http://abcwednesday-mrsnesbitt.blogspot.com/


18 comments:

Vidhya Rao - Paint My Word said...

That is a good dose of garden love.

Anita said...

Garden is lovely! :)

Shady Gardener said...

Vidhya Rao, Thank you for your visit today, and for leaving a comment. :-).

Shady Gardener said...

Thank you, Anita. Compliments are always sweet to the ear! :-)

kirsten williamson said...

I've been thinking of picking up a couple of hostas but didn't know if I should wait until spring. And I didn't know you could split them.

pontos pontos said...

Ciao! Bellissime oste a anche quella ligularia che si vede :) complimenti per il blog, lo seguirò con piacere!

Cristina Pop said...

Beautiful garden!

Shady Gardener said...

Hello Kirsten! After an established hosta has been in the ground for several years, the "clump" becomes large enough to divide. Taking a sharp spade or shovel, you can dig around part of it and then cut through to obtain a nice-sized piece to plant elsewhere. If you want to divide the entire plant into sections, remove the entire plant from the ground before dividing.

Shady Gardener said...

Thank you, Christina! :-)

Shady Gardener said...

Pontos, I am sorry I don't speak Italian. I discerned a compliment, however. Thank you! You have beautiful gardens - I have just visited your blog. :-)

troutbirder said...

Great post and pics, Shady. We do love our 2hostas too here on shady Oak Hill. I'm reminded with your post we missed our annual trip to the arboretum in Dubuque. They definitely have one of the best hosta display in the Upper Midwest...:)

Roger Owen Green said...

Oh, THOSE are hostas!
ROG, ABCW

Rose said...

You have a lovely variety of hostas, Shady! Hostas are such low-maintenance plants, and they go so well with ferns and other shade-lovers. I expanded my shade garden this spring and divided some of my bigger hostas--I got 11 divisions out of just two plants! That's another great thing about hostas: once you have a few, you never have to buy any more, though I don't know any hosta lover who who stops adding to her collection:)

Shady Gardener said...

Hi Troutbirder! I appreciate your reminder about the Dubuque arboretum! Wonder if I'll make it up there, yet?? :-)

Shady Gardener said...

Thanks, Roger! :-)

Shady Gardener said...

Hi Rose! You are right, about low maintenance... usually! ;-) I've gone through times with slugs (out at night?!), hungry critters, and the last two years of drought (last year was The Worst!). This year's cool, rain-when-we-need-it season has been wonderful!! I've not had to water once, and I'm hoping the hosta that weren't full-sized this year will be okay next year!

You are also right !! when it comes to dividing hosta, you can end up with more plants yourself AND share with friends! :-)

sal spring said...

Here in the UK hostas are called host as are mine are the special lacy variety that you only get in a garden full of slugs!

Shady Gardener said...

;-) Sal! Thank you for your visit. I'm wondering if your slugs are larger than our "norm?" We were once in the western rainforest of Washington State, USA, when we encountered a Banana slug. Huge! I wouldn't want even ONE of those in my garden!!