|As I took a walk through my yard this morning, I was struck by how much the bees love all the Hosta I have. I will admit that they are not looking at the different foliage variations that I love but are just happily climbing in and out of the flowers, collecting pollen at each stop. I have some early flowering varieties that have already finished so flower stalks have already been pruned down to tidy up the gardens. Other types are in flower now. The flowers are very underwhelming in terms of adding ‘wow’ to the garden, but I always let mine bloom so that the pollinators can enjoy them. There are many Hostas that do have sweetly scented flowers and I gravitated to those. They all have white flowers instead of the more tradition lilac/mauve ones.|
I am a big Hosta fan since I have many part-shade to shade gardens. I really like how all the different leave colours and variegations add interest to the garden all season long. The types with strong white or yellow margins or centres are some of my favourites They are very eye-catching in the garden.
A few I have added to make a statement with their large, bold size. I have ‘Elgans’ and Big Daddy that heavily textured, large, blue-tinged leaves. This colour is such a nice contract to my other perennials that have green leaves. The bonus of a textured leaf also adds interest. They especially look lovely beside lacey ferns, astilbe, and scalloped leaved anemones. Empress Wu is a newer huge blue-leaved variety. It is one of the biggest Hosta to date. I don’t have a spot for that one yet.
Hosta types with a thick blue leaf are more slug and snail resistant. This is important information for those of you that really battle with this pest. My gardens are sandy so tend to be drier unless we have a lot of rain. I do have slugs, but it is not as much of an issue as those of you that have damp, shady gardens.
I have two other gigantic varieties that make a focal point in the garden. Sum and Substance can grow up to 36” tall and 60” wide! I love how the chartreuse coloured leaves brighten up a shady or sunny area. This variety is quite sun tolerant if the soil is not constantly dry. The main plant is in a partly shaded garden at the end that gets the most sun. I have divided this behemoth and planted half of it in the garden in front of our south-facing porch. It is happy there too if I keep it well watered.
I do have to be careful when watering though. If water collects in the cup-shaped leaf pockets on a sunny day, those areas can overheat and burn. The tissue gets water-soaked and then rots away. A simple solution is to tip the leaves to drain them after a heavy rainfall. When I water, I make a point of keeping the foliage dry. I have seen this type of leaf damage on Hosta that are in sunny gardens where a sprinkler system is used. The damage shows up by mid to late summer when we have a run of hot sunny weather.
My other large variety is called Winter Snow. This is a sport of Sum and Substance that has the same chartreuse leaves but with a creamy margin. When we did our patio renovation and shrunk one of the gardens in half, this one was displaced. Right now, I have it growing in a large plastic container. If I don’t find a new home for it before the ground freezes, I can keep it over winter in the pot. I just must make sure it is placed in a spot that get good winter snow cover for insulation.
I have many medium to small Hosta too that I have chosen for their interesting attributes. Sometimes the unique shape of the leave has caught my eye. There are just so many varieties to choose from that you can certainly find one to suit any spot in your garden!
Hosta can be planted at any time throughout the season. You can also move an entire plant anytime, if you are there to water regularly until it settles back in. Dividing is best done in early spring or late fall.
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I began my journey in horticulture in 1982 after graduating from the Humber College Landscape Technician program. At that time, I lead a talented crew of landscapers, taught evening courses in horticulture and had my own landscape design and consulting business. Then I ventured into the garden centre world. I’m lucky enough to be leading the friendly and knowledgeable team at New North Greenhouses.
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