We celebrate hosta for its ornamental foliage with strong veins, often colored, that can be opulent or elegant depending on the variety.It also lavishes us with a nice summer bloom of purple or pale pink bells.
Hosta is happy everywhere except in scorching sun. It is the ideal plant for areas where nothing else grows! North-facing, dark, damp corners… Planted as ground cover, they’ll impart their color and light to shady spots.
Smaller hosta are at their best along edges of flower beds, which they help circumscribe with their abundant foliage. Larger species pair well with perennials and even shrubs. You can thus opt for mini or maxi formats depending on your project.
Leaves appear quite late come spring, they are delicately furled into a cone shape. In July, stems with no leaves display small pink, purple or white bell flowers, sometimes delicately fragrant. They can last up to eight weeks. In fall, the leaves take on a dazzling golden hue before disappearing completely come winter.
Hosta for balconies in the shade
Most hosta give excellent results growing in pots. Smaller varieties can pair with tuberous begonias and impatiens in shade-covered balconies.
Larger cultivars will succeed as a standalone in a square garden box 12 inches (30 cm) wide.
Geranium soil mix is fine. Avoid setting your hostas too near a white wall, because light reflecting on it could severely burn the leaves.
Hosta, a hardy plant
Hostas were all native to China or Japan, where they grow in moist underbrush or along rocky river banks, so you must give them the natural coolness that they relish. Deep, moisture-attracting, slightly peaty soil will be perfect.
A complement of well broken-down organic matter is ideal. Growth is rather fast: the plant is mature within five years. Its only enemy: slugs that dote on its leafage. Protect them with specific granules.
Last bit of advice, better to purchase specimens that are already quite grown in containers instead of very young plants that sometimes have trouble settling in.
CC BY 2.0: Dianna Ott