Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Hostas on the March

Spring time is always interesting for hostas. They emerge from the soil with tight leaf buds designed to drill their way up to the surface and finally open up to become the foliage plants we all know and love.


Our hostas are springing up all over our corner shade garden. Along with the heucheras, heucherellas, oak leaf hydrangea, and Soloman's seal they make this little corner into a garden based on foliage rather than flowers, but that's not to say that hostas don't have interesting flowers. I like to let the hostas run their own course and only cut down the flower stalks after they have formed seed. Growing hostas from seed is something of an experiment that I am still working to accomplish!

Hosta 'Antioch'
Last year I added a couple hostas from the shelves of the discount racks to our deck garden. It gets morning sun and afternoon shade because of the deck which is decent for hostas. Ideally they would receive dappled sun/mostly shade all day long, but like most gardeners I deal with what I have and try to improve upon it gradually (when time and funds permit!). Hopefully soon this bed will have the shelter of a river birch to create privacy on our deck and provide the right kind of shade for the hostas.


Leaf shapes vary quite a bit depending on the variety. These 'Patriot' hostas have a very common hosta leaf shape but are attractive because of their variegation.
Hosta 'Patriot'

Hosta 'Ginkgo Craig'
One of my favorite hostas is the 'Ginkgo Craig' which sports a very narrow leaf shape and has green and white variegated leaves. The white variegation appears around the edges. At some point I'll collect one of the larger blue leaved varieties to add some contrast to the hostas but for now the heucheras serve that purpose.

Also if you are thinking about dividing your hostas now is a good time!

16 comments :

  1. Hostas are fast becoming a favorite in my garden.

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  2. Hi Dave, thanks for this good info on the hostas. I love this plant, but the last couple of years they have done awful with the drought, sometimes totally disappearing mid summer. They all seem to be coming back now, with all this rain, I hope that means we'll have a good year for them. The number one hosta for toughness here is Royal Standard. It can grow in full blazing all day sun and dry soil and still look fresh as a daisy. It blooms in August with fragrant tall white blooms, the leaves are just plain ole shiny green, but it is a great plant.
    Frances

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  3. I too love the hostas. I have only seen one of mine back so far. I was just wondering when I should divide it, it's quite large where it is now. Thanks for the answer!!

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  4. I love hostas! Just wish the voles didn't love them so much as well. Have lots in pots that were half eaten last year. Need to get some more permatil and replant the hostas.

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  5. One day I divided Hosta in the yard of one of my customers. She didn't want all the divisions, so I brought some home. I set them down outside my back door (north side of house) and told my husband I would plant them later. That was about 13-14 years ago and they are going strong still in the same spot; I never got around to planting them!

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  6. Hostas emerging from the soil is always a great sign of things to come. My favorite things for the garden are based on foliage. They really do plow through the soil like little drill heads, lol. Gingko Craig looks like a wonderful cultivar. Need to add that one to my list. :)

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  7. I've noticed the same thing Frances commented on...Hosta's popping up where they once were planted...I thought they were dead and gone. But the summers are pretty dry...so we'll see! I was visiting a nursery..Hewetts in Brentwood/Franklin area and they have an extensive hosta collection. Some were so tiny and cute! I was tempted but remember they disappear each summer! Hostas are ephemeral in this garden! gail

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  8. My hostas are not showing at all. Heucgeras can barely be seen. I think the oak trees next door pull too much water & nutrients from the soil. They are planted on the East side of my house. Of course the azaleas are in the middle. I like both so will keep trying.

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  9. I love hostas. Unfortunately I haven't been real successful with them yet, but I keep trying. I love all the colors in the leaves of the different variations. You have some really nice looking ones there.
    http://KayzKreationz.blogspot.com

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  10. They are looking good Dave. The river birch will grow so fast you won't believe it but I bet those hostas are fine anyhow. Mine has doubled in size in just two years. I got it at Rural King about 6-7 feet tall for $20 and cannot believe how fast it has grown. Late to leaf out though.

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  11. Dave I'm a bit of a hosta girl .. I wasn't one a few years ago .. but getting the thick leaf or ridged leaf ones keep the slugs down so I could enjoy them more .. and the blue ones .. well they fascinate me : )

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  12. I love the noses of the Hostas when they are just poking out of the ground. Most of mine aren't even that far along. My mom has 'Ginko Craig,' and it's very cute until the slugs get at it. I'm looking for a very small, slug-resistant Hosta so I don't have to worry about the hole plant getting taken down by the slugs.

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  13. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


    Joannah

    http://easypowerpaint.com

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  14. Hi! I need some help!! We only cut down the stems last fall...the winter came and all we can see is a few sticks left and the leaves which look like they are rotting! I am seeing now growth and there are about 20 of them in our landscape? When exactly should we see something happening....and should those leave have been cut and cleared last fall????
    Diana

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  15. Hi Diana,

    Your hostas may be fine. Depending upon where you live they may not be ready to come out yet. I cut the stalks done each fall after blooming and seeding and leave the leaves alone. They will die back. If you're curious gently pull the dirt and mulch back from the top of where a hostas was last fall. If you see little spires forming you should be fine. We're here in TN where we have mild winters and the hostas like to come up early. In this case just be patient, your hostas may be fine!

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  16. Hi Dave!

    We are in Toronto Canada, googled hosta care and this was one site that came up. Funny you mentioned "where the hostas were" b/c I saw that on another site...how you sometimes cant see them!! I can see the bright and clear there are still the left over stems (cut down) and mounds of white leaves!! I will definately check for the Spires!

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