Hosta is one of the most reliable plants for shaded gardens.
They're low-maintenance plants that make few demands of the gardener. Once
established, hosta provides dramatic foliage in a wide range of variegations.
The leaves emerge in late spring and quickly become dominant features among
other shade perennials. In mid- to late-summer, the foliage supports elegant
stalks of bell-shaped flowers in white or shades of lavender. White flowers
usually have a sweeter scent than the lavender. These sturdy plants continue
to add interest into the autumn as the impressive clumps of foliage take
on the golden tones of the season.
Hostas can be left in place indefinitely and require little attention,
so it's wise to incorporate a generous amount of organic matter into the
soil prior to planting. This improves moisture retention of the soil and
encourages good root development. Plant hostas in shady or partly shaded
areas, and water regularly for optimum growth. At higher elevations, exposure
to too much sun can result in scorched leaves.
The enormous range of sizes and varieties allows you to pick an appropriate
hosta for many garden needs. Smaller, compact varieties are perfect for
grouping at the front of a bed or border, or for edging. Mid-size hostas
may be planted in groups or used individually to provide contrast to an
individual perennial or shrub. The larger varieties that grow to heights
of four to five feet can easily stand as sentinel specimens that add a
lush look to your garden.
Some well-known hosta varieties that grow to a height of 18 to 30 inches
include Frances Williams, Krossa Regal, and Sum and Substance. Albo Marginata,
Royal Standard and August Moon grow 12 to 18 inches tall. Ginko Craig,
Blue Cadet and Pearl Lake feature compact foliage and are useful as edging
because their height doesn't exceed 12 inches.
from: Colorado State University Cooperative Extension
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HOSTA - DIVIDING
Hostas should be divided in early spring as plants emerge from the
ground. Dig the entire clump and carefully separate plants.
Some plants are slow to divide, such as large, blue colored plants.
Others, may need dividing every three to four years, such as those used
Hostas require little or no fertilizing. In fact, over fertilizing
can be detrimental to some of the variegated types, causing the colors
If plants are slow to develop and multiply, decomposed manure can be
incorporated into the soil around clump.
A teaspoon of 10-10-10, 12-12-12 or 15-15-15 fertilizer per clump will
provide the necessary nutrients for yearly growth.
Hostas aren't really grown for flowers. However, some plants have attractive
flowers and should be allowed to bloom. Remove blooms stalks soon after
plants have finished flowering to prevent seed development.
Most hostas thrive in full shade, though a few can tolerate more sun,
especially those with yellowish foliage. Blue and blue-green hostas should
be planted in full shade. Variegated plants can tolerate partial shade.
A well-drained, rich organic soil is ideal for growing plants. Work
the soil to a depth of six to eight inches.
HOSTA--PROPAGATION, ROSS METHOD
Some hostas are slow to divide, especially some of the large, thick
crown types. The Ross Method, developed in the United States should help
encourage additional plants to form.
In the spring or early summer, carefully remove the soil around the
hosta's stem, exposing the white basal plate. This is the area right above
the roots. An extremely sharp, and thin, knife is inserted into the basal
plate and cut down through the roots. Another cut at a 90 degree angle
(right angle) to the first cut can be made. The knife is removed, and soil
replaced around the crown. While it isn't necessary, some growers will
insert a toothpick into to the wound to encourage callus tissue formation.
Callus tissue will form on the basal plate where the cuts were made.
A growth bud usually will also form, giving rise to another plant soon
or in the following growing season. Plants may slightly yellow or look
anemic for a week or two. However, plants in a loose, high organic soil
are quick to recover.
Many hosta growers & hobbyists are using the Ross Method before
planting large types to encourage side plant productions as soon as possible.
Make sure knives are clean and sterilized before cutting.
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