When 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…
This 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.
Hey city gardeners! This site is for you!My name is Janine and I'm a dedicated gardener with years of hands-in-the-soil experience. My specialty is small space gardens in urban locations. There is all kinds of good information in here. Send me comments and ideas. Enjoy!
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