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Posts Tagged ‘shade’

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.

Solutions:

  • 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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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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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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