Thursday, January 16, 2014


In 4 years of blogging I've mentioned Hostas, shown a couple of pictures of them, talked about snail and slug baits, and posted about our time at the AHS convention; but for some reason I've never specifically posted about them.  I'm unsure why that is, but it's high time I remedy that.  And yes, this will be a picture intensive post.

I grow over 300 varieties of Hosta, it's safe to say I have more Hosta varieties than any other variety of plant. Even though I have so many, I wouldn't call them my favorite plant.  I really don't call ANY plant my favorite, as that label is subject to my whims and moods of any particular day.  But Hostas are near the top of my list of favorites.

Not all Hostas are created equally.  There are 61 (give or take a few) species in the diverse Genus Hosta.  Some are found in wet areas, some in bone dry mountain crevices; some in woodlands, some in open grassland; some are found at high altitudes, and some are found near sea level.  Thanks to hybridization (most Hosta species are interfertile) most varieties we find today can be easily grown following some specific guidelines.

Contrary to popular belief, Hostas don't like heavy shade.  They prefer bright shade or high shade.  Many varieties like some direct morning sun.  Some (plantaginea, 'Royal Standards') will even take full sun if they are kept consistently moist.  Which brings us to moisture and soil.  Hostas like organic rich soil that is well drained and consistently moist.  Strong growing varieties will tolerate heavy clay, and well established plants are drought tolerant to a point.  But what most people put Hostas through is abuse!  Use lots of organic matter when you prepare your planting area, consider an annual application of slow release fertilizer, and water well during the summer.

Between intense hybridization and their propensity to mutate to many different colors, there are over 8,000 varieties of Hosta.  While there are quite a few similar varieties, and some are identical to others, 500 or so are distinct enough to not be confused with any other variety.  There is a huge diversity of colors: green, blue, gold, chartreuse, yellow; of course any of those colors may be combined with each other in variegation or with white margins, centers, or streaks.  Leaf shape can be long and narrow, arrow shaped, heart shaped, cupped, large or small.  The mound can be ground hugging and tiny (as small as a quarter!) to vase shaped or even upright and huge (4' x 8').  Flowers range from white to dark purple and some may even be fragrant.

And since words are never enough, here's some Hosta diversity:
'Amber Glass'

'Blue Haired Lady'

'Jewel of the Nile' and 'Earth Angel'

'Earth Angel' leaf.  This plant is still immature and the leaf will get bigger!

'Abba Dabba Do'

'American Sweetheart'


'Blue Arrow'

'Blue Wedgewood'


'Dark Star'

'Dawn's Early Light' - incredibly bright in early spring

'Dawn's Early Light'
'Dawn's Early Light' - summer color including some bleached leaves from sun exposure

'Day's End'

'Deja Blu'

'El Nino'

'Elvis Lives'


'Fire Island'

'Five O'clock Somewhere'


'Golden Meadows'

'His Honor'

'Ivory Necklace'

'Jade Cascade'

'Jade Cascade'



'Marilyn Monroe'

montana 'Aureomarginata'

'Moonlight Sonata'

'Nancy' in spring as it emerges is very bright

'Nancy' in summer is a little darker but still a good chartreuse

'Northern Sunray'

montana 'On Stage'

'One Man's Treasure'


'Pineapple Upsidedown Cake'

'Pineapple Upsidedown Cake'

'Savannah' has fragrant light lavender flowers

'Stained Glass' also has fragrant flowers.





'Patriot's Fire'


'Sandhill Crane'


'Spilt Milk' 
'Star Kissed'

'Star Kissed'


'Sum and Substance' w/ Geranium macrorhizzum 'Variegatum' - It's a much bigger hosta now, this pic is 10 years old.

'Winter Lightning'
'Powder Blue' and 'Brother Stefan'
Hope you enjoyed the pictorial journey of the the genus Hosta.  Don't forget to check out the modest selection of varieties we sell by clicking here.