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Posts Tagged ‘Hosta Information’

There are 58 fragrant hostas, all with their roots in H. plantaginea

H. plantaginea is the only fragrant species hosta, so any hosta with fragrance has H. plantaginea in its background.  Almost all of H. plantaginea offspring except H. ‘Fragrant Blue’ have a wonderful fragrance.  Fragrant hostas need ample sun to create a bloom.

H. plantaginea has the largest bloom of all hostas–approximately 6 inches.  The bloom is pure white and the most fragrant of all hosta blooms.  H. plantaginea blooms around 4 p.m. instead of 7 a.m. like most other hostas.  H. plantaginea is also unique in its ability to “reflush” new foliage during the summer months.  (Most hosta species send up all their foliage in the spring.)  H. plantaginea originated in eastern China, near Beijing and Shanghai, where it can be hot and humid.  This means that fragrant hostas are often the most heat tolerant and can do well in the southern United States up to zone 8 and sometimes even zone 9.

H. plantaginea was commonly known as “August lily.” It was brought to Europe in the 1790’s.

H. plantaginea, a top hosta for hybridizing

Because of the excellent traits of H. plantaginea, including large fragrant blooms, heat and humidity tolerance, beautiful form, “reflushing” of foliage, vigorous growth, and leaf sheen, it has been popular in hybridizing.  There have also been many sports from H. plantaginea and its offspring.

H. plantaginea ‘Aphrodite’, often called just H. ‘Aphrodite’, is a spectacular double-blooming, fragrant hosta and a sport of plantaginea.   Some people have a difficult time getting this hosta to bloom.  It seems to need moist soil, warm days and cool nights and plenty of sun to get it to bloom.  At HostasDirect, Inc. we have never had a problem getting ours to bloom.

Some other fragrant hostas include ‘Holy Mole’, ‘Guacamole’, ‘Stained Glass’, ‘Fragrant Bouquet’, ‘Avocado’, ‘Flower Power’, ‘Fried Bananas’, and ‘Fried Green Tomatoes’.

Deer prefer fragrant hostas

Deer tend to eat fragrant hostas first!  They apparently have a sweeter taste.

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The yellow in a hosta is a genetic absence of chlorophyll, which makes the leaves appear different shades of yellow. As yellow hostas contain fewer food-producing chloroplasts, annual fertilizing is important.  (Note: Around 2003, the American Hosta Society changed its show terminology from “gold-leafed” to “yellow-leafed.”  Chartreuse hostas are considered to be in the green category.)

Yellow Hostas Need More Sun

As a general rule, a yellow hosta needs to be planted in a sunnier location to keep its color vibrant.  The yellow color may fade to green without at least two hours of full sun daily. Some glossy, chartreuse hostas change to yellow when exposed to more light, like H. ‘Sum and Substance.’ Yellow or yellow-centered hostas are often sun-resistant.

The temperature of a full-sun area can vary by the time of day and by your location (southern versus northern United States, high altitude versus low altitude).  Even though yellow hostas need some sun exposure, any hosta in full sun will need to be watered frequently.  Overhead watering during the middle of the day can cause water droplets to magnify the sun’s rays and burn the leaves.  Hostas grown in full sun will often turn to a lighter color and the leaves can elongate.  Yellow hostas are most vulnerable to sun damage early in the season when the leaves are expanding.  This is when trees have not gotten all of their leaves back yet.

Using Yellow Hostas in the Garden

Yellow hostas add color, brightness and contrast to the garden.  Their luminescent leaves glow at dusk, dawn or on rainy or overcast days.   Planting next to green or blue foliage makes all of the different colors stand out.  However, over-planting yellow hostas in a blue or green border can produce a spotty effect

Some Yellow Hostas

August Moon, Bitsy Gold, Cheatin’ Heart, Cherry Tart, Dawn’s Early Light, Daybreak, Dragon Tails, Faith, Fan Dance, Fat Cat, Fire Island, Golden Friendship, Golden Scepter, Golden Sculpture, Harriette Ward, Inniswood, Jaz, Jimmy Crack Corn, Key West, King Tut, Lemon Frost, Little Aurora, Maui Buttercups, May, Midas Touch, On Stage, Orange Marmalade, Paradigm, Paul’s Glory, Pee Dee Gold Flash, Piedmont Gold, Rosedale Golden Goose, Solar Flare, Stained Glass, Stardust, Stitch in Time, Sum and Substance, Summer Lovin, Sun Power, Teeny-weeny Bikini, Templar Gold, Thai Brass, Tortilla Chip, World Cup, Yesterday’s Memories, Zounds.

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A small percentage of hostas predictably change colors during the course of the season. There are three types of changes:

Viridescence: Hosta emerges white or yellow and becomes greener.

Examples: Amy Elizabeth, Chinese Sunrise, Dawn’s Early Light, Eskimo Pie, Fortunei Albopicta, Gold Edger, Golden Oriole, Guardian Angel, Heart Broken, June Fever, Lemon Frost, Little Sunspot, Manhattan, Nancy, Night Before Christmas.

Lutescence: Hosta emerges green or chartreuse and turns to yellow or whitish yellow.

Examples: August Moon, Bitsy Gold, Bright Glow, Gaiety, Gold Standard, Golden Gate, Golden Scepter, Golden Sculpture, Golden Tiara, Golden Waffles, Grand Canyon, King Tut, Little Aurora, Lunar Magic, Midas Touch, Paradigm, Piedmont Gold, Sea Dream, Shade Master, Solar Flare, Thai Brass, Zounds.

Albescence: Hosta emerges yellow, yellowish green, or with green areas that turn to near white.

Examples: Celebration, Emerald Crust, Fan Dance, Grand Prize, Paul’s Glory, Red Hot Flash.

Lutescence and viridescence are caused by genes related to sensitivity to temperature.  With viridescence, higher temperatures slow down the activity of this inhibitor gene so that increasingly more chlorophyll is produced.  With lutescence, the gene(s) become more inhibiting as temperatures rise so less chlorophyll is produced.  Lutescent hostas need more sunlight than viridescent hostas to bring out their color to the fullest.

These color changes are genetic and are different from the color changes that result from different amounts of sunlight. (ie. ‘Guacamole’ can look at least three different colors depending on the amount of sun.)

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Shade-tolerant Perennials

* Astilbe
* Meadow Rue
* Ferns
* Goatsbeards
* Bugbanes
* Epimediums
* Soloman’s seals
* Ligularias
* Cimicifiga
* Corydalis
* Heucheras
* Lamium
* Ajuga
* Lungworts
* Hepatica
* Thalictrum
* Brunnera
* Columbines
* Toadlily
* Bleeding heart
* Jack in the pulpit
* Primula
* Trollius

Shade-tolerant Annuals

* Impatients
* Nicotiana
* Browallia
* Torenia
* Coleus

Partial sun Perennials

* Daylilies
* Martagon lilies

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Are Foliar Nematodes (Aphelenchoides fragariae) ruining your Hostas?

These pervasive microscopic worms can greatly disfigure a hosta.   Here is a short summary.

Foliar nematodes create brown streaks in your hosta leaves.   When these symptoms appear depends on your growing zone.  (It’s usually August in Minnesota.)  Although they may live in your hosta year round, the symptoms appear when these microscopic worms have amassed a large enough quantity in your hostas to begin to damage the leaves.  They are prolific egg layers and almost impossible to kill. One of the reasons for the increasing numbers of nematodes the past few years is because a few years ago the toxic chemicals that could kill these annoying worms were outlawed. I have read these same Aphelenchoides fragariae live in about 250 species of plants.

Foliar nematodes can be detected using a magnifying glass.  You can have foliar nematodes for a long time but not even know it as their symptoms have not appeared.  Thus, it is possible to share,  sell or buy infected plants without even knowing it.

What can you do to prevent foliar nematodes?

Purchase our Starter TC  or Advanced Starter disease free hostas.   These plants are grown in tissue culture plant laboratories and are tested for viruses and nematodes before going into mass production.   Most of these plants we sell in our business never even touch the ground.

How can foliar nematodes spread?

They travel via water.  If you have hostas infected with foliar nematodes at the top of a slope, you will likely find hostas in the “fall line” below the infected hosta as the nematodes traveled via water to the plants below!

Nematodes can be spread via non-sterilized garden tools that have nematodes on them.   It is important to disinfect all garden tools after each cut.   In particular, each cut if you suspect nematodes are a problem.

I sadly learned from two government disease experts that nematodes can be spread via animals such as pets, rodents, and even birds.   That is another reason why it is close to impossible to guarantee that anything grown in the ground does not have foliar nematodes.   One garden affected can spread foliar nematodes long distances in more ways than we think, so you need to be wary of where you get your plants.

As mentioned, the same foliar nematodes in hostas are appearing on 250 different species of plants now.   Some government plant disease officials told me they felt the many sources of supply of non-regulated plants sold on the internet are causing plant diseases to spread more rapidly.   Again, many people do not even know the nematodes are in their plants.

Pictures and information on foliar nematodes


HostasDirect on Hosta Diseases

University of Minnesota on Foliar Nematodes

The Hosta Library on Nematodes

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How the sun affects a hosta


Deep Shade
:
Hostas do need some light! If you place them in too much shade they will eventually shrink and then die. It is hard to quantify shade so you may need to experiment by trying the hosta in your desired area and observing it to see if it grows well. Keep in mind, all perennials, including hostas, sleep the first year, creep the second year and then leap the third year in terms of growth. Hostas with the most chlorophyl (plants with lots of green or blue in them – not color or white) do best in deeper shade.

Full Sun: Plants rated as Sun Resistant (you can see ratings on our web site) mean that these hostas will do better than other hostas in full sun. Many hostas in full sun will eventually burn on the edges or even the centers, bleach, and elongate, turning into a football shape. The sun resistant hostas are most apt not to do that. I have grown hostas in full sun, on a steep slope and with little water and it grows and looks well. I don’t recommend you do this but just using this as an illustration.

For more information, please visit the ideal hosta lighting conditions page on our website!

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