Hostas Information

Overview

Hostas are mostly grown for their stunning foliage, coming in colors that include white, blue, gold, white-variegated and gold-variegated. The plant's foliage is also attractive because of its shape, which is slightly round, heart-shaped or lanced. Hosta leaves can be shiny and smooth or wrinkled or ridged. They're low-maintenance plants, easy to grow and shade-tolerant. These landscape perennials originated in China, Japan and Korea, were brought to Europe in the late 18th century, and arrived in America in the mid-19th century.

Types

According to Floridata.com, there are 50 to 70 hosta species with more than 1,000 named hybrids and cultivators. August Moon is one of the most popular varieties. This species is tall and either white or medium-gold. Blue Cadet, another common hosta, is short and produces lavender or blue flowers, blooming later than most types. Golden Tiara, another short variety, blooms late and has lavender flowers with gold-edged leaves.

Time Frame and Size

It takes from four to eight years for a hosta plant to mature, according to About Hostas.com. The size of a hosta is determined by the hosta cultivar or variety (common name). While a mature average hosta can be only a few inches wide, a hosta Blue Angel variety grows up to 8 feet wide.

Considerations

Adequate water is vital for optimal growth. Hostas need watering regularly, with the Ohio State University Extension website recommending a minimum of an inch of water weekly. Hostas grown in sandy soils needs more water because of increased drainage caused by sandy conditions.

Pests

Slugs and snails are the most common hosta pests. These nocturnal scavengers eat holes in foliage, leaving signs of silvery slime. They're controlled with baits and chemical pellets containing metaldehyde. The adults of black vine weevils chew notches on hosta leaves, while the insect's larvae feeds on roots and crowns, doing the worst damage. Commons signs of infestation are wilting and yellowing of foliage. Microscopic worms called foliar nematodes also infest hosta leaves. The main symptom of this problem is a brown streak appearing between veins. Other pests include voles, rabbits and squirrels.

Warnings

Although hostas are basically shade-tolerant, most varieties don't do well grown in deep shade. Some types can tolerate shade more than others, with most hostas thriving in a location that receives both morning sun and afternoon shade. Blue-leafed hostas need shade, but yellow, gold and white-leafed varieties can take more sun.

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About this Author

Venice Kichura has written on a variety of topics for various websites, such as Suite 101 and Associated Content since 2005. She's written articles published in print publications and stories for books such as "God Allows U-Turns." She's a graduate of the University of Texas and has worked in both Florida and Connecticut schools.