OK, so maybe they aren’t exactly holy, but I do seem to spend a little time bowing around them and on my knees pulling out grass and weeds. Kind of like meditation… I don’t spend enough time doing either one. Prayer is easy, though. 🙂
Hello, everyone! I hope this post finds you all well and enjoying the great outdoors when you aren’t inside enjoying the AC. I now have 14 Hosta cultivars and have lost four over the years. They are very easy to grow if you follow a few basic rules and give them an environment they like. For more information, you can read HOSTA: Information and Sources I wrote especially for Hosta. Each Hosta cultivar below is linked to their own page to the right if you would like to read more about them.
Plants of the World Online lists 21 species of Hosta but I’m not sure how many of them were actually used to make the cultivars. There are several websites that give a lot of information, depending on what you are looking for. I like The Hosta Helper by Plants Galore. It says W.George Schmid found evidence of 43 different species and 16 different naturally occurring variations (varieties) in the wild. In 1988, Paul Aden wrote there were at least 600 registered cultivars. In 2010, hybridizer and author Mark Zillis wrote there were over 8,000 identified types of Hosta and over 5,000 registered cultivars with the American Hosta Society. The Hosta Helper has information on 9,425 species and named cultivars (registered and non-registered) with photos of 3,107.
I enjoyed living at the mansion in Mississippi, but many Hosta cultivars just don’t do well in the south and neither do Heuchera and other favorite Hosta companions. Along with the Hosta listed in the above photo, I had also bought a Hosta ‘Robert Frost’ and ‘Josephine’ while living in Mississippi which didn’t survive there.
When I moved back to the family farm in mid-Missouri in 2013, I brought the remaining six Hosta with me. I dug a bed for them where I had a flower bed back in the early 1980’s when I first moved to the farm after my grandpa passed away. The mess behind the Hosta is on a concrete slab where grandpas old metal shed was. I guess dad tore it down many years ago after they moved to the farm in 1996. Well, I don’t know when he tore it down actually, but it isn’t there now.
I planted the Iris in this bed here in the early 1980’s and was surprised to see they were still coming up after 30 years. Back then this was a sunny bed with no trees now it is shade with three big trees. Not exactly an ideal spot for Iris but great for Hosta. My Hosta bed in the 1980’s was along the northeast corner of my grandparent’s house. Now that the house is gone, it is a sunny bed.
Along with the Hosta, I also brought the Ajuga reptans ‘Chocolate Chips’ I had bought from Lowe’s in Greenville, Mississippi in 2009 or 2010. I added the Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ and Hosta ‘Guacamole’ (far left) in 2014.
Hosta ‘Francis Williams’ didn’t do well in 2014 and didn’t return in 2015. While ‘Dream Queen’ did very well in 2013 and 2014, it was very late to come up in 2015 and barely grew. It didn’t return in 2015.
You will also notice the Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ in the above photo not doing so well. The Iris was also doing very well and spreading like crazy. They are a beautiful gold color but don’t flower well now because of all the shade.
The 2016-2017 winter was very mild and we had an early spring. The above photo was taken on April 23, 2017 and the Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’ (right) and Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans’ (center) were already beginning to look very good. The Hosta ‘Red October’ was still doing well although it is a medium-sized cultivar. You can barely see ‘Guacamole’ (far left) and ‘Krossa Regal’ isn’t even visible in this photo. As time went by, I knew Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ needed a change.
The area on the east side of grandmas old goldfish pool had been driving me crazy for quite a while. I wanted a shade bed all the way around it like I had before but conditions had drastically changed since the early 1980’s. I had put a brick walkway around the pool and made flower beds between the bricks and the fences that used to be here. The bricks were still there but under several inches of soil and grass. The fences were gone and the tree roots were also a big problem. But, I went to work and removed the bricks and dug the area up in 2017 anyway and added four new Hosta and three new Heuchera. Hosta from left to right are Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’, Hosta ‘Rainforest Surprise’, Hosta ‘Abuqua Drinking Gourd’, and Hosta ‘Forbidden Fruit’. The Heuchera are ‘Southern Comfort, ‘Venus‘ and ‘Obsidian‘. I also bought a Leptinella squalida ‘Platt’s Black’ which is on the left side of the tree. I had also bought a bag of Caladium ‘John Peed” bulbs and put them here and there in this bed. I also put the Calla I bought in this bed but it isn’t in this photo.
I bought the Hosta ‘Dancing Queen’ in 2017 which was my first gold-leaved cultivar and put it, along with the Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’, in what I call the corner shade bed. I also moved the ailing Heuchera “Palace Purple’ from the original bed here along with an offset from Hosta ‘Red October’ (far right).
About four months later everything was doing very well. I had also bought several other Caladiums and add them to this bed and another one in the corner bed.
The winter was a weird one for sure and we had a very cold January. A few of the Hosta started sprouting the last part of February-early March but that was all they did for a long time. Cold temps hung on and it was a good thing they didn’t start to leaf out. I kept them covered with leaves the best I could but sometimes the wind would blow them off. FINALLY, spring did arrive and the Hosta started growing.
As you can tell from the above photo, the Hosta ‘Guacamole’ and ‘Red October’ next to it were not happy. I was busy with other things and didn’t have time to investigate right away.
In the above photo on May 6, the Ajuga reptans ‘Chocolate Chips’ were flowering up a storm. They also suffered a loss during the winter but are doing handsomely well now. The Hosta ‘Dancing Queen’ and ‘Krossa Regal’ made it through the winter with flying colors as did the Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’. The Iris fulva (between the tree and fish pool) I brought from Mississippi had always done very well but have really struggled since this past winter. No flowers this year…
All the new Hosta came up in this bed except ‘Rainforest Sunrise’. It was a very nice Hosta but you just never know. The Heuchera were doing very well until something snacked on ‘Obsidian’ (front right). Then something started digging in front of ‘Southern Comfort (next to the tree) and somehow affected its growth. Whatever happened affected its crown and it went downhill fast. I decided to move it to the corner bed to see if it would recover.
I must apologize for the untidiness of the beds and the surroundings. The concrete slab behind the original bed and fish pool seem to be an easy place to put to put branches when they fall out of the trees. There are no fish in the old fish pool because there are cracks in the side. I also get behind weeding and trimming sometimes but I take photos anyway.
On June 21st I finally dug under Hosta ‘Red October’ to see what was ailing it. To my surprise, there was a HUGE hole right under it. The roots under the plant weren’t even touching the soil and any water it was getting was going right down the hole. The whole area, even under Hosta ‘Guacamole’ and the Iris, was a series of holes that had been made by a mole. So, I dug the area really good and moved the Hosta‘ Red October and replaced it with the new Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’. I also divided Hosta ‘Guacamole’ and put half in the new shade bed.
I put the new Hosta ‘Blue Angel’ in the corner bed behind ‘Dancing Queen’ and ‘Kross Regal’. Right now it looks weird and you might be thinking the smaller Hosta should be in front. Well, ‘Blue Angel’ is a giant type and someday it will be MUCH larger than the other two. Patience is supposed to be a virtue but sometimes I wonder. Something seems a little off though, I must admit. I bought Hosta ‘Blue Angel’ on June 7 and it has barely grown a lick…
I put the Heuchera ‘Southern Comfort’ to the right of ‘Palace Purple’. It is not recovering and growing new leaves now. I thought I was going to lose ‘Palace Purple’ a few years ago but it has certainly made a huge comeback in this area as well. You just never know…
The new shade bed is shaping up but there are a lot of bare spots. The third Hosta from the right is the other half of Hosta ‘Guacamole. The second plant from the left on the back row is the new Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’. So, on the back row, from left to right, is Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’, Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’, Hosta ‘Guacamole’, Hosta ‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’, and Hosta ‘Forbidden Fruit’. The front row from left to right is one of the Hosta ‘Red October’ (in front of the tree), a smaller Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’, the NEW Hosta ‘Whirlwind’, Heuchera ‘Venus’, and Heuchera ‘Obsidian’. The Heuchera ‘Obsidian’ has really struggled since it was munched on the last of April.
This is a view of the shady area from the northwest corner. The Alocasia are on a concrete slab around the barrel that is covering the pipes from my grandparents old well. Man, that was some good water! The HUGE Alocasia to the left of the barrel is ‘Calidora’. The wind blew it over TWICE and the petioles grew crooked in only a few hours before I saw it on its side. It only took a few hours for them to get crooked and I thought they would straighten back up. Now I have a concrete block next to the pot so it won’t blow over. Bricks were usually enough before. The four pots along the goldfish pool are Alocasia gageana, the Dwarf Alocasia.
This is a view of the shady area from the northeast corner. One of the other Hosta ‘Red October’ is next to the tree in the middle of the photo. It is doing so much better.
Trying to find a good spot for Hosta around trees can be a big pain because of the roots. Hosta don’t seem to mind tree roots, though, as long as they have soil and ample water.
<<<<CURRENT HOSTA, A THROUGH W>>>>
2014 Hosta of the Year
The Hosta ‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’ is one of the four Hosta I bought from Lowe’s in 2017. It has AWESOME blue-green leaves that are very thick, puckered, heavily veined, corrugated, and cupped. This cultivar grows to around 18″ tall with clumps as wide as 36 to 48″ after a few years.
The cupped leaves are very interesting. The underside of the leaves have a powdery appearance which gives a two-toned effect. The thickness and texture of the leaves make Hosta ‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’ slug and snail resistant.
I brought this Hosta home from Mast’s Greenhouse while plant shopping with my sister and brother-in-law on June 7. This is one of the giant cultivars that can grow to 36″ tall and have clumps as wide as 72″ in time. Information online says it is one of the fastest growing of the blue Hosta and multiplies more rapidly. Well, it has been in the ground for a few weeks and hasn’t grown that fast yet. It is still only 4″ tall x 9 1/2″ wide. It just seems a little strange why it is so small if it is going to be a giant. If you compare it to, for example, Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’ which is also new. Not only that, this ‘Blue Angel’ is already a small clump of plants, not just a single specimen. So, why is it still so small? Could it be mislabeled? There were several pots of ‘Blue Angel at Mast’s and they were all small like this. Then when we went to Muddy Creek Greenhouse up the road, they also had several ‘Blue Angel’ that were only a little larger. Only time will tell… Its almost like they were mislabeled.
Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ is another cultivar I added in 2017. It is the first miniature Hosta I have tried so it will be interesting to watch. The clump measured only 5″ tall x 9″ wide when I took the above photo on June 20.
Even the flower stems are very short, measuring only 6 1/2″ tall.
The largest leaf measures only approximately 1 1/2″ wide x 2″ long. The leaves are very thick and smooth. Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ is a multiple award winner.
I added this cultivar in 2014 and it is the first gold-leaved Hosta I have tried. Its leaves are so bright it brightens up the whole area. Even from a distance, you can see this Hosta glowing. The clump is now 10 1/2″ tall x 24″ wide.
The leaves aren’t all that thick but they are heavily veined. The leaf edges are kind of rippled which is known as a “pie-crust” edge. The largest leaf is currently about 5″ wide x 7″ long.
Hosta ‘Empress Wu’… I always wanted a Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ since I heard about it a few years ago. I like HUGE plants and this Hosta is reportedly now the largest cultivar in the world. It can grow 48 to 60″ tall x 72 to 96″ wide when it reaches maturity after maybe five years. When I moved back here in 2013, my eye was on the corner next to the side porch for a Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ but I didn’t want to pay the price online. Last year I bought a Leucocasia (formerly Colocasia) gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ and put it next to the porch. A few weeks later I found ‘Empress Wu’ at the garden center in Clinton but they were from Monrovia and still over $20.00. Then, to my complete surprise, I found a few at Muddy Creek Greenhouse while plant shopping with my sister an niece and they were half the price and not as large. I didn’t have the money at the time, but a few days later I did, so I high-tailed it to the greenhouse and bought one along with the Hosta ‘Dancing Queen’. Since I already had the Leucocasia gigantea where I would have put ‘Empress Wu’, I put it in the corner. Then this spring I moved ‘Empress Wu’ out of the corner where it could have more room. The ‘Thailand Giant’ bulb rotted near the end of the winter, so I bought a bulb and planted it several feet away from ‘Empress Wu’. It is good to have the largest Hosta in the World and what was the largest Colocasia cultivar. I guess we can’t say that ‘Thailand Giant’ is the largest Colocasia anymore since the name changed.
Currently, the Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ measures 18″ tall x 32″ wide and is MUCH bigger than it was by the end of last season. Its largest leaf is now 7 1/2″ wide x 11 1/2″ long but can grow as long as 18″.
It started sending up a flower stem around the first of June and now the stem is 31″ tall.
This is another Hosta I brought home from Lowe’s in 2017 for the new shade bed. It is a “non-registered” sport of Hosta ‘Orange Marmalade’ but was granted a U.S. patent in 2011. Hosta ‘Forbidden Fruit’ was created by Marco Fransen of the Netherlands. The plant measured 11 3/4″ tall x 18″ wide when the above photo was taken.
It has very bright creamy white leaves with irregular green margins and the largest is currently 5 1/4″ wide by 9″ long. As you can see in the above photo a firefly is resting on a leaf. We have more fireflies than I have seen in MANY years so you are probably going to see them in several photos as time goes by.
The buds on this Hosta are very tight and clustered together while others are more open. The flower stem is very stiff and is currently 20″ tall. I think this is a nice cultivar and worth watching for.
The Hosta ‘Guacamole’ has done very well every year since I added it in 2014. This spring it was slower than usual to come up and then very slow growing when it did. Then I found the mole holes under it and ‘Red October’. When I removed it from the bed to “fix” the mole holes, I decided to divide it and leave half the clump in the original bed and put the other half in the new bed. The clump in the original bed currently measures 11″ tall x 18″ wide.
The clump I put in the new bed measures 9″ tall x 19″ wide.
The leaves of Hosta ‘Guacamole are a nice medium green with a narrow irregular darker green margin. The largest leaf is 5 1/4″ wide x 7″ long. The leaves change color somewhat during the summer.
I bought my first Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ from Bluestone Perennials in the early 1980’s and it was one of the first I bought in 2009 when I was in Mississippi. This cultivar is definitely one of the classics of all time with its nice blue-gray leaves and unique vase shape. It looks awesome when it is happy. Although Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ can grow to 36″ tall and form clumps as wide as 60″, it is a slow grower. So, if you purchase one, you may not want to plant it with the larger, faster-growing cultivars at first. I can’t very well measure the clump because it has been divided, but the largest plant measures 8 1/2″ tall x 13″ wide.
I moved it to the corner bed in 2017 because it wasn’t happy in the other bed. Strange as it may sound, I don’t think it liked the Iris. I divided the clump and wound up with five plants. Two of the three grew faster while one was much slower and the other two… Well, they barely grew at all so this spring I moved them to other locations. They STILL aren’t growing well like they have a problem. I don’t understand how that can happen when they came from the same clump and did very well before.
The largest leaf measures 3 1/2″ wide x 6 1/2″ long.
Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’ is another awesome cultivar I bought in 2009 when I was living at the mansion in Mississippi. While most of the other Hosta barely did OK there, this one did very well. It has continued doing very well here and has grown to 20 1/2″ tall and the clump currently measures 50″ wide. It usually flowers in June, but for some reason, it appears it is going to skip this year. Maybe it will be a late bloomer this year.
Its AWESOME dark green leaves are fairly thick, heavily veined, ribbed, corrugated and puckered making it very slug and snail resistant. The leaves are oval to round tapering to a point. The largest leaf is currently 8 1/2″ wide x 12″ long.
My Hosta ‘Red October’ is another cultivar I bought in 2009 while living at the mansion in Mississippi. It is considered the best red-stemmed Hosta and gets its name from its red petioles. Although its name may suggest it flowers in October, it starts for me in September.
It had been growing in the original bed since 2013 but I moved it this spring. Well, I mentioned the story earlier in this post about the mole holes. I also moved it because Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’ and Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans are so big that ‘Red October’ looked a little out of place because it is much smaller.
It is having its issues right now but is a really nice looking Hosta when it is feeling well. The above photo of Hosta ‘Red October’ was taken last June.
The long, lance-shaped leaves have chalky-white undersides. Kind of makes you wonder if it has powdery mildew or something. The leaves are not slug and snail resistant.
I bought this legendary Hosta from Mast’s Greenhouse this spring and was glad I found it. It is considered a giant type and will eventually grow to a height of 36″ and have a mound up to around 70″ wide. It currently measures 8″ tall x 14″ wide. It is starting to flower and currently, the flower stem is 17″ tall. Well, it wasn’t that tall when I took the photo but several days have passed and it is growing quickly.
This multiple award winner was registered in 1980.
Someday the leaves will grow much larger, but when this photo was taken the largest was 5 1/4″ wide x 7 1/2″ long.
OK, folks… This photo of Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans’ is pale in comparison to what it looks like in person. I have taken a lot of photos of this cultivar over the past few years and none are good enough to capture its awesomeness. Right now, the clump measures 22″ x 41″, but in time it will average at least 28″ tall x 60″ or so wide. This is for sure a legendary giant blue Hosta that was first introduced in Germany by Georg Arends in 1905. There are at least 25 registered sports from this cultivar and it is one of the parents of at least 85 registered seedlings.
Its AWESOME blue-green leaves are heavily veined and corrugated making it slug and snail resistant. Its largest leaf measures 10″ wide x 12″ long.
I bought this nice Hosta at Lowe’s on June 10. I didn’t know anything about it but I liked the color and its really nice, thick leaves. It is classed as a medium sized Hosta that typically matures at 18″ tall with clumps 40″ wide after a few years. It is currently 8″ tall x 15″ wide.
The leaf colors change with age, light, and time of the summer.
The largest Hosta ‘Whirlwind’ leaf is currently 3″ wide x 5 1/2″ long.
<<<<GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN>>>>
I bought Hosta ‘Dream Queen’ while living at the mansion in Mississippi in 2009. I brought it with me when I moved back to the farm and it very well until the spring of 2015. It was very slow coming up andf barely grew all summer and didn’t return in 2016.
I also bought my Hosta ‘Francis Williams’ in 2009 while I was in Mississippi then bought it with me. It did very well in 2013, but not so good in 2014. It didn’t return in 2015. Hosta ‘Francis Williams’ is a multiple award winner that has remained popular for MANY years. It has a long list of registered sports and progeny.
I bought this Hosta in 2009. I think I bought it from a seller on Ebay that had it listed as Hosta ‘Josephine’. It isn’t ‘Josephine’ but does look similar to ‘Queen Josephine’ so maybe the seller was misinformed when they acquired it. This plant fizzled out in 2012 and never made it to Missouri.
I bought this Hosta ‘Rainforest Sunrise’ from Lowe’s in 2017 for the new shade bed. It did perfectly fine all summer but did not return in 2018.
I bought my Hosta ‘Robert Frost’ from Lowe’s in 2009 while living at the mansion in Mississippi. Although it is a multiple award winner, it never did very well. Most of the time I thought it was going to die. It kept hanging on and eventually gave it up in 2012.
I started writing this post on June 21 and just now finished it on the 28th. 🙂 Now I can work on a few more because there have been some interesting things happening. I had an unexpected visitor today stuck between the screen and glass of the sliding door. It wasn’t actually stuck, it crawled through a hole in the screen then couldn’t find its way back out… Care to guess what it was?
Well, I better stop for now. I hope you are doing well. Until next time, take care, be safe, stay positive, and GET DIRTY!