PLANT SPOTLIGHT: Hosta
The versatility of the Hosta is immense! A very hardy plant that is used in both sunny and shaded areas, the Hosta is one of the most reliable perennials out there.
Named after the Austrian botanist Nicholas Thomas Host, Hosta is a genus of plants commonly known as plantain lilies. Native to northeast Asia (China, Japan, Korea, and the Russian Far East), the Japanese name for Hosta is Giboshi.
Hosta are herbaceous perennial plants, growing from rhizomes or stolons. The stolons, or “runners” remain underground and form shoots that come to the surface at the ends of nodes. The nodes produce roots and increase the size of the plant.
Hosta sometimes will outgrow their area and need to be separated by division. The best time to separate them is in either fall or spring, when we have moist conditions and the roots can stay consistently wet. Transplanting or dividing at this time of year ensures that the roots will continue to grow and the plants will regain strength.
With a variety of shades of green, yellow, and white and a variety of leaf sizes and shapes they make great border plants or a great centerpiece in a bed. Use the smaller varieties to border the front of a bed or edge a walkway. Use the larger varieties to give height to a bed or as a specimen pant in the shade border.
There are plenty varieties of hybrids available in our area. These varieties have certain characteristics that make them better for a specific site in the landscape. Some varieties grow small and slow enough that they can be incorporated into a planting bed to compliment other plants or be massed together. People plant them around their mailbox, around the base of trees, along their driveways and walkways to border, and just about anywhere else to border a location. Some can be used as an accent with finer leaved foliage. Below are some common varieties available in our area.
Big Daddy – 1.5’ High 2.5’ Spread – Leaves retain good blue color throughout most of the growing season if grown in shady conditions, but gradually age to green as summer progresses. This hosta makes an interesting garden specimen. It is effective in groups or massed. It can be mixed with other perennials in shady borders, shade gardens or woodland gardens.
Frances William – 2’ High, 4’ Spread – Large blue-green leaves are variegated with irregular greenish-yellow margins. This hosta is effective as a specimen, in groups or massed. Mix with other perennials in shady borders, shade gardens or woodland gardens.
Gold Standard – 2’ High, 3’ Spread – Heart-shaped leaves emerge green and turn gold with a dark green edge. These variations are perfect for massing with only one type of plant. It also has enough height to provide a background for smaller woodland perennials or to fill in between shrubs.
Patriot – 1’ High, 2’ Spread – Variegated, oval leaves have a deep green center and wide, irregular white margin. This hosta can be mixed with other perennials in shady borders, shade gardens or woodland gardens, or used as an edging plant.