Holy Hosta, Batman! 2011 Garden Lessons and Finds #2

Leafy green hostasWhen I was young, the driveway to my childhood home – a multi-family in Quincy – was lined with a low stone wall. In the short  bed behind the wall, big, green, leafy hostas grew about every three feet.  I honestly didn’t pay much attention to the plant itself. To me it was something to run at and jump over.  It’s big, bushy mound of leaves were hurdles and I made it my own personal Olympic event.  Needless to say, I always won the gold.  I’m smiling at the memory…
Aphrodite hosta with white flowerThis summer, I discovered the real beauty, variety and usefulness of the hosta.  There are hundreds of species in every shape, size, color and texture.  Choosing a favorite is tough!  Best of all hostas grow in shade and sun!   A rare find for city scapes. So the hosta earns #2 in my 2011 list of Garden Lessons and Finds
Hostas are easy to grow and shade tolerant.  They can do well in 3/4 to full sun.  According to the American Hosta Society (yes there is one),  a general rule of thumb is “the greener the leaf, the less sun necessary for the plant to grow well.”   The corollary to this “rule” also seems to work; “the more yellow and white in a leaf, the more sun necessary for sufficient photosynthesis to allow the plant to thrive.” And, some hosta growers have discovered that additional moisture will help a hosta survive in higher light levels!
The plant is native to Japan, Korea, and China and was first imported and grown in Europe in the late 1700’s. By the mid-1800’s, hosta were growing in the United States.  Hostas are available at most garden centers and are worthy additions to any city garden – shady or sunny.    Check out the American Hosta Society for more information.


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