Hostas: Minis or Maxies?

Miniature hostaDo you garden large, or in miniature? Whichever your preference, Garden Crossings has hosta varieties that fit the bill. Our favorite of the giant hosta varieties is almost a shrub, it’s so huge. Empress Wu has large deep green leaves, a foot or more in length. The whole plant has a spread of between 5-6 feet and gets up to four feet tall. It’s truly a showstopper.

Are you more of a mini gardener? We have small hosta varieties for you, too. ‘Fireworks’ is a variegated variety with green edges and white centers. This hosta reaches a mature height of 8-10 inches and a spread of 6-8 inches. The leaves grow in an upright pattern, giving it a unique habit.

‘Blue Mouse Ears’ has rounded, gray-blue leaves and a mounding growth habit. The plant can grow to be 8 inches tall and 12 inches wide. Use this hosta to add variety at the edge of your shade perennial border. It won’t take over like Lirope will!

We’re also fans of ‘Sparkler’, another mini variegated variety. It has narrow leaves with stripes in many shades of green and white. If you’re into the miniature gardening or fairy gardening trend, this is a good plant to consider. Height: 6-8 inches, spread: up to 10 inches.

How to Select and Grow Hosta Plants

No shade garden is complete without hostas! These shade perennials are easy to grow, providing maximum beauty with minimum effort. Who shouldn’t grow hosta? Anyone with a bad deer problem, because hosta are, unfortunately, like candy for deer. (You can spray deer repellants if you must have hostas in the garden.) Everyone else, get ready to fill in that empty space under the big shade tree or add light and movement to that dark corner.

Variegated Hostas: Brighten up!

Shady areas of the lawn and landscape can sometimes look dark and disappear into the void. If you’re used to planting something like white impatiens to brighten up a dark corner, you’re going to need to make a switch. The common bedding impatiens have succumbed, almost completely, to downy mildew, a fungal disease. What better to plant in their place than something that comes back year after year?

Hosta ‘Fragrant Queen’ is a double-duty hosta. It has fragrant flowers and heart-shaped variegated leaves. Multi-colored green center with white edges.

Hosta ‘Hudson Bay’ is a compact-growing (2 ft. by 2 ft.) hosta with variegated leaves. Blue-green leaf margins surround white to cream centers. Perfect for the cottage garden!

Hosta ‘Independence’ has variegated leaves with dark green centers and cream to white edges freckled with green specks. A truly unique look!

Hosta ‘Loyalist’ is a truly bright variegated hosta. It has leaves with large bright white centers and thin dark green leaf margins (edges). This hosta really pops!

‘Remember Me’ is another variegated variety with lots of white on the leaves. Once you plant these hosta varieties, you’ll wonder why you ever bothered with annuals!

Growing Tips: Hostas

Hostas are easy to grow and great additions to the garden if you follow these tips:

When possible, plant hostas where they’ll get a few hours of cool morning sun.
Water during times of drought. (Hosta need at least 1 inch of water per week.) If they dry out too much, the plants will start to show burned edges and tips.
If deer pressure is high in your area, spray hosta foliage with deer repellent.
Use golf tees to mark where hostas are in the garden. These plants are one of the last to emerge in the spring, and it’s easy to mistakenly dig them up while you’re planting new perennials!
Plant spring-flowering bulbs around your hosta plants. While you’re waiting for the hostas to start growing, you can enjoy something else in the bare spot left behind. Once the bulbs fade, the hostas will cover up the dying foliage.
Divide for vigor! Every three to five years, dig up the entire hosta plant and divide it by chopping it into pieces with a shovel. Mid-August is the best time to divide. Make sure to water the plants well after re-planting. And share with a friend!