Monday, June 14, 2010


HOSTA are long-lived, easy-to-grow perennials for the shade garden.  They are definitely one of the top plants for shade, if not the top., and one of my all-time favorite perennials!  They originated in China, Japan, and Korea, and have been grown in America for about 150 years.  There are currently more than 6,000 cultivars, with about 70 or more species. They adapt to many kinds of soils and sites, and they are unequaled in terms of landscape uses.  They are grown mainly for their  beautiful, thick leaves, which can be as small as 1 or 2" long, to the big mammoth ones, whose leaves can reach 2 feet.  Their colors can be dark green to light green, chartreuse, blue, blue-green, and a myriad of every color of variegated greens, whites and golds, with blotches, margins and patterns.  The shape and texture of their leaves are varied as well; coarse, corrugated, glossy, ribbed, or smooth, and can be heart-shaped, round, or lance-shaped.  They flower in summer with tall, trumpet-shaped, erect spikes of white, pale lavender, or deep purple flowers.  What I like about the blooms is that they are fragrant.  They  like evenly moist soil, and some will tolerate some sun, although others prefer only shade, as their leaves will "burn" if in the sun.  They can be expensive to buy, so make sure you get good-sized, quality plants because you'll have better luck with them making it through the first winter months, and they will fill in much faster, of course.  I like to find unusual ones--I especially like the variegated with lots of pattern on them--different shades of greens, whites and golds.  Just make sure you consider your garden size, and take into account their growth--which can take up to 5 years or more to reach their maximum size for the larger ones.  When you buy a hosta, it will tell you the cultivar and the size it is--small, medium, large, or extra large.  Intersperse your hosta--large-leaved with small leaved, chartreuse greens with dark greens, etc.  They can be moved around in your garden most any time, but I think early spring, before their fingers (leaves) emerge and unfurl, is the best time to move or divide.  Just use a pitch fork to dig the clump of roots out, and you can use a sharp knife or shovel to divide the plant, like slicing a pie up, into 4 or 6 parts.  Replant the "pie slices"  and they will do very well.  I WILL BE DIVIDING MINE NEXT SPRING, SO IF YOU WOULD LIKE SOME, PLEASE CONTACT ME.  Make sure you mark where your plants are because they are late to emerge in the spring, and you don't want to  accidentally dig into one.    They need minimal care to look their best.  Slugs and snails like them, so I just sprinkle a little slug bait at their base, or I sprinkle a little down on each side of my cement curbing and cement fence strip, so any coming into that bed will be stopped at the cement.   I cut my leaves to the ground in late fall, making spring clean up much easier.  I've been buying my hostas at ROCKY MOUNTAIN HOSTA for the past several years.  Glen Draper and his family have run the business until just recently, when it changed ownership to two sisters, Becky Ellis Frost and Brenda Ellis McGowan.  I visited with Becky the other day and bought three new hosta.  She was very accommodating, and has lots and lots of quality plants.  She told me that she and her sister are also planning to have their potted hostas in a shop on Historic 25th Street for sale through the year.  I highly recommend their hostas--excellent quality, having made it through the winters here in their pots, and they have a wide assortment of interesting and fun plants--not just your ordinary run-of-the-mill ones that the local nurseries might have. You can reach them by going to their facebook page, or you can email them. Go to  or  
Susanne Holland Spicker Mother, Grandmother, Homemaker, Gardener, Teacher, Photographer

Passion is defined as the love of, or the object(s) of affection and emotion. I am passionate about family, friends, flowers, food, photography and fabulous music! This blog is dedicated to those loves.


  1. I can't wait to get our hostas! I didn't realize there were so many different kinds.

  2. There are--and I will share them ALL with you!