Passionate About Plants - Hosta Heaven
Paul provides some of his excellent advice regarding Hostas
Highly praised for their clean sculptural leaves in an extraordinary range of colours, Hostas are without doubt the most popular foliage plants. With leaves varying in colour from matt blue grey to glossy apple green, with many variations in between, and in size from those as large as dinner plates to those no larger than a thumb nail, there is a Hosta for every situation and effect. They are stunning when a number of different varieties are planted together. It is not surprising that they form a large proportion of our display at the Royal Norfolk Show where they are always admired. Perfecting perfect looking plants has not been easy on the Nursery, but by paying attention to detail and giving them the right growing conditions we are now rewarded by some excellent quality and stunning looking varieties.
The following are a few of my favourite varieties:
Sum and Substance, this very large impressive plant can reach a spread of 150cm and a height of 80cm. The leaves are very large and oval to heart shaped and appear chartreuse to greenish yellow sometimes turning old gold. This huge Hosta requiring lots of space and moisture is not usually troubled by slugs or snails. It is sun tolerant where it will turn more yellow, a real 'wow' factor when used on displays.
An old variety but still one of the best silvery blue leaved forms is Sieboldiana Elegans. There are many clones available in the trade and a good form should be sought out.
The smaller growing Halcyon has a spread of about 100cm with a height of 50cm. The heart shaped adult leaves are glaucous blue/green; the bell shaped flowers of greyish lavender opening to nearly white enhance the overall effect.
Wide Brim has a spread of about 90cm and a height of 60cm, as its name implies has a wide irregularly creamy yellow margin. Not only beautiful in the garden also good in pots and tubs and excellent for flower arranging.
My two favourites are without doubt Paul's Glory and On Stage. First Paul's Glory has a very large spread of about 90cm and easily attains a height of 60cm. The leaves are creamy in the centre lasting through the season with an irregular broad blue/green margin which does not burn or melt out and is one of the most eye catching Hostas, best in light shade with some sun. On Stage much smaller having a maximum spread of 60cm and reaching just 35cm high is startling when grown well. The wedge shaped leaves of a rich gold yellow (and I mean rich) have a narrow green margin. The colour is best when the leaves are young as the colour darkens during the growing season or when grown in the shade, one of the most outstanding but difficult to propagate.
Of course there are many more varieties a new one we hope to show this year at the Royal Norfolk is Cally White a small green leafed variety with a tall growing flower spike with exquisitely formed white bell shaped flowers growing a metre high above the foliage.
How to control Slugs and Snails,
Without doubt the easiest way to control slugs and snails is slug pellets but like all pest control measures timing is essential. The first application of pellets should be just as the new shoots emerge from the ground and then again as the leaves unfold, these times are when the most slug damage is done. Remember that slug pellets are bait and will attract slugs so you only need to use them sparingly. It is also important to have good garden hygiene around your Hosta bed leaving no place for slugs and snails to over winter.
If you need any more advice or would like to be 'Wowed' by our Hostas pop down to the Nursery. You could also visit us at the Horticultural Marquee at the Royal Norfolk Show on the 25th and 26th June to see our display where we hope to add another medal to our existing medal collection.