Until recently, hostas were considered to be a common shade plant that was used in gardens because nothing else seemed to work. Now, so many distinctive varieties are available that an avid gardener can be seen spending up to $80 for a new hosta.
Hostas are native to Japan, Korea, and China. Statues of Buddha are often surrounded by hosta in gardens in Japan. They were imported to Europe in the 1700s and later to America in the 1800s.
The first thing you notice about a hosta is its attractive foliage. With a leather-like texture it comes in various colours from green to blue that can be combined with white or gold for a variegated effect. Some of the blue hostas are breath-taking.
An added bonus is the lily-like flower that blooms in the summer. This exotic flower can be lavender, mauve or white.
Planting and Caring for Hostas
Hostas should be planted in a soil and peat moss mixture (2:1). They prefer loose, well-drained soil that is protected from hot afternoon sun.
Most hostas will grow well in the shade though some sun is required for those with gold colour in them.
To feed the plant, use a balanced fertilizer such as 10-10-10.
Hostas can be propagated by digging them up and dividing them. The best time to divide hostas is in the spring to give the plant time to recover from transplant shock. First, remove a clump and clean the dirt off with water in order to get a good view of the roots.
Using a sharp, clean, knife make a cut through the crown. Ideally, the divided clump should have a good root and a good number of leaves.
The roots should be kept moist and the hosta should be planted as soon as possible. Use transplanter fertilizer to encourage new growth on the divided plant.
Hostas do not require any special care or preparation for the winter.
Other Sources of Information
- The America Hosta Society; www.hosta.org