Friday, September 4, 2009

Hostas in Your Garden Design

Hostas have become my favorite perennial for the garden. They add long lasting flowers in shades of white to deep purple, many which are fragrant, from early spring to late fall. What I really like about hostas are the leaf color that they provide in the garden during the growing season. Hostas have been hybridized into many colors and leaf patterns offering the gardener a large selection of plants that can perform in the deep shade to sun. By mixing different colors of hostas together you can have a spectacular garden.
Hostas are easy to grow and they take about 5 to 6 years to reach maturity. Each year as they grow their color, patterns and flowering just continue to improve with age. When purchasing hostas for your garden always consider the size the plant will grow to when placing it in the garden. Plants range from dwarf to giant in size. Plants can be purchased in local nurseries or mail order. Hostas prefer enriched, moist soil that is well drained and and slightly lower than neutral pH. Hostas benefit from organic matter like compost, aged manure or leaf mold in the planting hole. Hostas are heavy feeders and respond well to fertilizing with 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 in the spring. Do not fertilize after August. Hostas prefer moist conditions and ideally 1 inch of water a week would be great but they are survivors and have been known to tolerate dry conditions. Many hosta growers like to mulch their hostas. Mulch does protect the plant during the winter, holds moisture in the soil, keeps weeds down and makes the hostas really look beautiful. Mulch can have it's problems like increasing slugs and disease to your hostas. Many hosta growers remove the dead leaves after the first frost and others allow the leaves to remain till spring cleanup. Hostas are propagated by division of the plant.








If you have not grown hostas or have lots of the old plain green hostas, add some of the newer cultivars of hosta to your garden. I think you will be happy with the results. Here are a few hosta design suggestions:
  • Mix the leaf colors in the garden. Leaf colors come in varied shades of green, blues, yellows, white and many mixed colors.
  • Allow the hosta to reach it's mature size and do not divide very often.
  • Select plants that have different bloom times for a long season of flowers.
  • Add some hostas with fragrance.
  • Add shorter hostas to the front of beds and the taller hostas to the back of the bed.
  • Hostas make great plants for containers. Try starting a trough garden of dwarf hostas.
  • Blue hostas will loose their blue color if they receive to much sun or rain. The blue color comes from a wax like coating on their leaves that can be removed by the elements leaving your hosta "green". Don't worry, the color will be back the next year.

Happy Gardening and don't forget to vote for all your favorite blogs for the Blotanical Awards!

The Creative Gardener

Have a topic that you would like to read about? Let me know in the comment section.

4 comments:

Robin's Nesting Place said...

I love hostas and have a several, but I don't have a nice shady area to do them justice. Your hosta garden is quite lovely.

Janet said...

Great hosta collection! I love mixing the hostas to create color and interest.

Rosey Pollen said...

Debbie,
Your hostas are spectacular! I don't/won't grow them here because of hail. I sure enjoyed this post, very informative. I am just such a silly blogger, some people like yourself, have great info and and ideas. I learn a lot when I visit these types of blogs. Thanks..
Rosey

Okie from OKC said...

Loved the gardens, enjoyed the garden terms and blog one can never know too much.

I have quite a few hostas, and what was once lots of sun and little shade has turned into lots of shade and little sun over the years. In my area we have heat and wind something that hostas don't enjoy so it is trial and error to find the plants (hostas) that can take both.

You can bet I will be dropping in from time to time to view the changes, keep up the good work.

Okie from OKC