Plant of the month series July 2016 for Boulder Colorado landscapes
JULY: HOSTAS COME TO LIFE!
Hostas and their other common name Plantain Lily are widely cultivated as a foliage plant. They do flower, and their flowers are pretty, but somewhat inconspicuous and not particularly showy. There are over 3,000 registered cultivars that vary in color from blue green to very light green to green with white variegation. There are some that are called ‘Miniatures’ (6-12” high), and others that are called ‘Giants’ (30-36” high) and every size in between. They are very shade tolerant, do not do well in full sun, and are more on the water intensive side rather than the xeric side. For this landscaper, they work best as mass plantings or as a border in a more formal arrangement. As always in Boulder Colorado landscapes, Hostas need amended soil because they do not like to be confined in heavy clay. Amend with a good sandy loam planter’s mix blend with compost.
In the United States and Europe, Hostas are commonly grown as ornamentals, but all parts of the plants are edible and are grown as vegetables in some Asian cultures. Like many of the plants in our ornamental gardens, Hostas are toxic to dogs, cats, and horses. It won’t kill them, but can cause nausea and vomiting.
Hostas do not do well in areas that are populated by deer, rabbits, voles, and snails and stands of them can sometimes be devastated if not protected. Hostas over winter quite well. The dead leaves can be left attached in the fall to help protect the plant during the winter cold, and help identify their location in the spring before new growth emerges. Simple pull or cut off in early spring as the new growth emerges. Apparently, Hostas can be habit forming, so buyer beware…..there are so many combinations to choose from that 10 are certainly not enough! Enjoy!