Why all the hype over Hosta?

Start by saying they are the easiest perennial to grow in partial shade.  Really only bothered by slugs and snails and this is a pest you can control.  Just stick with the thicker leaves and not a worry at all.     

Hosta la Vista, BabyPart shade just means your garden is not in sun all day. East or North exposure is perfect.

How many different Hosta are there?  There are approximately 9,500 registered, named varieties.   Most garden centers carry the more common 10-30 varieties.  Seek out the specialty grower, and you can find 200-400 different ones. Not more expensive at the specialty grower but so many awesome selections to make your garden pop for the same price as the usual pickens!  

When you think of Hosta, keep in mind that the plants can span from 2″ to 50″+ wide and heights of 4″ to 3’+.  Some of the small ones include; ‘Pandora’s Box’, ‘Amy Elizabeth’, ‘Rippled Effect’, ‘Twist of Lime’, ‘Rainbow’s End’ and some of the largest to date ‘Empress Wu’ and ‘Sum it Up’.  Most form neat clumps while some even grow more upward creating a vase shape like ‘Leading Lady’, ‘Regal Splendor’ or the newest one ‘Regal Supreme’.

Hosta Ripple EffectWhen it comes to colour, where do I start?  They come in blue, green, chartreuse, grey, cream, gold and every combination you can think of in between with edges and insides of the same and even white.  Some of the new varieties even have streaking and spots like ‘London Fog’.  Some have red, but not the leaves, on the stems and stretching up to the undersides of the leaves like ‘Island Breeze’.  Gold leaves like ‘Key West’ and ‘Dancing Queen’.

Some Hosta leaves form cups, some have a quilted texture, heavy veins, to smooth and even rippled edges.  Leaf shapes that can be heart shaped, rounded, long, lanced, arrow shaped etc.  Check out ‘Wheee’, Montana ‘Aureo Marginata’ and ‘Kiwi Full Monty’ for some real pizzazz and curb appeal.

Haven’t even touched on the blooms.  Pure white, purple, double…  Did you know there were some with blooms that smell like a gardenia!  Try ‘Fragrant Blue’, ‘Avocado’ or ‘So Sweet’ for starters.

Leading LadyYou may think that less light means more dull and dreary.  This is not the case!  The plant materials that actually enjoy less light are those that have more texture and great foliage colours.   It is nice to add structure and further interest with Solomon’s Seal, try the variegated one (that is perennial of the Year for 2013), Cimifuga, ‘Sun King’ Aralia cordata, Coral bells, Ferns, Ligularia, Jack-in-the-pulpit, Bugloss and Jacobs Ladder.

Gardening in part shade has its rewards too.  You can garden all season long, the temperature is better for us, fewer weeds, and less evaporation of moisture all due to the lack of the sun.

My collection of Hosta is only 900+.  I add about 40 different ones each year.  Hosta can create quite the tapestry of colour and textures.  The combinations are endless.
 I feel that the only problem with shade for me is the lack of it!  Feel free contact me to come for a tour as my garden is open for viewing and other events.  May-July annually. 

Dawn Golloher (Tack)
(705) 742-5918

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