Posts Tagged ‘Hostas’

‘Empress Wu’ is here!  Our Starter (TC) have been going fast since they went on our website a few days ago, so hurry to get yours now so you don’t have to wait until next season.  This hosta is very new, extremely popular, and still difficult to get.

Why all the fuss about this particular hosta? It is said to be the biggest hosta ever, over 4 feet tall with leaves over 20 inches long!  It’s so new that only the hybridizer and a couple of others have mature specimens.  The fun will be in watching ‘Empress Wu’ grow to see how big yours will get!

We also changed the Free Hosta list, which now includes some miniature hostas for you to choose.  For each $50 you spend (before tax and shipping),  add one Starter (TC) of any of these hostas to your cart, and it will be deducted from your total.

‘Bitsy Gold’

‘Chartreuse Wiggles’

‘So Sweet’

‘Sunshine Glory’

‘Teeny-weeny Bikini’

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In the midst of our busy season this year, we had the privilege to experience the 2010 American Hosta Society Convention.  It hasn’t come to the Twin Cities since 2000, so we were thrilled to be a part of it.  One of my favorite moments was meeting the lovely In Sook, the name behind the hosta ‘My Child Insook.’ If the convention comes to your area, it is definitely something you don’t want to miss.  You can learn more about hostas by listening to guest speakers, bid on the hottest varieties in an auction, admire the Cut Leaf Show, and embark on tours of the most gorgeous hosta gardens around.  In a nationwide gathering of hostaholics, you might make some new friends, or even meet your favorite hybridizer!

We also displayed our new IDeal Garden Markers, which received rave reviews.  Our webmaster, Joe Husby, created a new, easy-to-use website at http://www.IDealGardenMarkers.com, where you can order samples of these durable (stainless steel!), attractive markers.

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Well, here I am snug and comfy and trying to remember to write 2010 on my checks. Yes, some people still write checks! The point is, it is below zero here in Minnesota and my mantra is “Why do I live here?” Actually, that is the state motto in January of any year. But I digress.

It’s not easy to write for a hosta blog when you can’t see the hostas. They are hibernating with the bears and the chipmunks. And me. So while I am hibernating, I am looking at hosta web sites like HostasDirect.com and cruising the Hosta Library and dreaming.

Our fearless leader, Tom, has already ordered the newest and most spectacular varieties of hostas and heucheras for Spring shipping. And he’s done more with his down time than that. (Actually, Tom doesn’t have any down time. I got 5 emails from him on New Year’s Day.) He’s been busy inventing a brand new stainless steel garden marker ( see IDeal Garden Markers) that I know you’ll be crazy about. The new product has it’s own web site so drop in and look around. And let me know how you’re greeting the new decade.

Waiting for spring

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Millions of hosta lovers grow hostas under trees, but there are some things to consider.

Every variety of tree grows differently.  Some trees’ roots grow near or above the soil surface and some grow further into the ground.  Some trees are sensitive to soil changes, while others are not.   Keep in mind that a tree’s roots often extend out to the edge of the tree’s crown (leaf growth) of the tree.

The positives:

  • Hostas by trees may get morning sun, late afternoon sun, or filtered light, all of which are ideal. They are more likely to be protected from the intense overhead sun from about noon to 4:30.
  • Hostas may get some hail protection.
  • You can reduce or eliminate the need for weeding or cutting grass around a tree.
  • The base of your tree will look more attractive.

The negatives:

  • Competition for moisture and nutrients—the soil may already be partially depleted, and tree roots can wrap around hosta roots.
  • It may be difficult to dig a hole due to dense tree roots.   (Our garden trowel can help.)
  • Hostas under trees may not get enough light.  Hostas do need some light!   For less light, select a dark green or blue hosta as these varieties have more chlorophyll.


  • Some hosta lovers plant their hostas in containers in the ground to protect the hosta from tree roots.   The container must allow for adequate growth of the hosta’s rhizomes (roots) and have good drainage.  About twice a year, turn the container about 120 degrees in case any tree roots are getting into the drainage holes.   You can also cut out the bottom of the pot.
  • Provide extra water and fertilizer.

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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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