Thursday, June 27, 2013

Hosta Daze

The lush clumps of bold, exotic leaves are their main feature.  Flowers are an added bonus.  They are dependable and reliable plants that brighten up shady areas.  The leaves may be variegated blue-green, gold-green. white-green, two toned, three-toned etc..., solid green, blues, gold, as well as various shapes and sizes, forms, leaf textures.  They range from 4" miniatures to 6' giants.  You describe your ideal hosta and it is probably out there.  After all, there are thousands of varieties on the market now and more coming.

Piedmont Gold

Can you grow them in the sun?  Of course, but they need moisture.  Nothing a few good scoops of compost won't take care of.  Generally speaking, the yellow leaved hosta are best located in the sun, they maintain their yellow-gold colouring and contrast nicely next to perennials with darker green foliage.

Blue Angel
Blue Hostas need at least afternoon shade.  If planted in an area with afternoon sun, they will grow, but will loose there beautiful blue colouring. The sun can scorch off a waxy layer that gives the blue hosta its colour, rain or rubbing against other plants can also cause a mottling appearance.  Blue hosta can grow in complete shade.  And after all, if you are seeking out blue hosta, let's keep it blue.

Bressingham Blue

The flowers range from mauve to lilac-lavender to pure white.  Some are even fragrant.  They rise 1-2" above the plant opening to elegant lily-like flowers.  Many of them are prized by floral arrangers.

The perfect plant?  Hosta collectors think so, and some of them can be a bit obsessive, but with thousands of varieties out there, they can keep collecting to their hearts content.  The problem I find is some of them look so much alike.

One draw back may be that the slugs find them an irresistible treat. Here in my garden Ligularia Desdemonia and Britt Marie Crawford are the irresistible treat.  The slugs and the snails devour them .  Generally speaking,  I don't mind the few slug holes I find.  It may be more of a problem when the plants are small.

However, some varieties of Hosta are more resistant than others.  Generally, the thicker the leaf, the lest likely the slugs will like them.  Also some of the bluer hosta are not as appealing.  You don't see too many holes, if any in the blues.

Deer are a second problem, at the Farmer's Market in Truro, not a Saturday morning goes by without some one complaining about the deer eating their hosta. They are far more of a problem in towns where it is not uncommon for you to look out your window and see a deer looking back in.


A friend describes being wakened in the night by a 'rippppp'  then a 'chomp, chomp, chomp..' and looking out the bedroom window, nose to nose with a late night snacker.  I don't have deer problems (knock on wood) and you would think I would.  They have eaten my beans in the veggie garden, the tips of my cherry tree, and the crab apples in the fall, but they have not touched my hosta.  Is it because, out in this area, we have hunters in the fall and they are scared of us? or there are many farmed fields full of lush forage crops.  What ever the reason, I will count my blessings, and my hosta.

And can they quickly fill in, this bed drastically needs to have them divided either this fall or next spring.

On the other hand, minis can solve that problem.  Small, cute and easily divided with a trowel or small shovel.

Deer maybe an issue, but at least they have good taste.