Category Archives: About Hostas

Information about hostas

What is a Hosta and Why Should I Grow Hostas?

The easy answer to this question is that they are the most popular, bestselling perennial in the world. That being said, let me give my two cents into why this is true.

Hostas are shade tolerant perennials that are extremely hardy and require very little maintenance. They are shade tolerant, not shade loving. Most hostas prefer a bright east facing area with a few hours of direct morning sun. Hostas do very well in a filtered light situation under the canopies of trees and shrubs and not in a dark area with little light. They do not like to be placed in a heavily rooted area, especially with a lot of surface roots from trees where they will fight for moisture and nutrients. Some hosta cultivars depending on their lineage can handle quite a bit of sun. Fragrant hostas are good for sunnier locations because they have the species Hosta plantagenea in their genes. If you want to grow hostas in a mostly sunny location then you should amend the soil with compost and peat moss and supply adequate moisture for best results. We recommend amending the soil with compost and peat wherever you plant them as they love a nice fertile soil to thrive and achieve their true potential.

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One of our hosta gardens

My favorite part of growing hostas in a shaded area is the absence of noxious weeds. I have shade gardens that I might weed three times a season and sunnier gardens that need it weekly. I love walking through the shade gardens or sitting in a chair in the shade gardens on a nice summer day where the shade keeps you cool from the hot summer sun. A major pet peeve of mine or maybe just more of a disappointment is driving by a house with a large shaded area that is either barren or just mulched. This is a perfect area for hostas and companion plants. With a little bit of work you will be rewarded with a mass of reliable color and texture instead of weeds, leaves or just plain bark mulch. The goal should be to have people stop in front of your house to see the colors and textures of a beautiful hosta garden.

Sherri-Garden-Pic

Garden picture from our employee Sherri’s yard

Hostas are incredibly versatile plants as previously noted above but also because of the large range of colors and leaf shapes they offer. Hostas come in multiple variations of blue, green, gold, white and even red. Clump sizes can be as small as 2-3 inches tall and as tall as 4 feet. Hosta leaves come in a wide range of sizes, shapes and forms. Just look at the amount of adjectives used to describe hosta leaves and clumps on our website. From giant to miniature, cupped, flat, heart-shaped, lance-shaped, vase-shaped, corrugated, deeply veined, folded, rippled, glaucous, misted, streaked and twisted to name a few. A good hosta garden has a never ending array of colors and attributes. I love when you talk to someone about hostas and their reply is, “Oh, those green and white things?”. These people have no idea of the magnitude to what the species of hosta is capable of!

We’re Excited to See These Beauties!

This time of year we are always dreaming of seeing all the hostas emerge. We all have our favorites but there are some that you just get excited to see again.

Montana Aureomarginata Hosta

montana ‘Aureomarginata’ is always the first hosta to show itself and let us know the season has begun.

Dawns Early Light Hosta

We love when ‘Dawn’s Early Light’ unfurls and displays those neon yellow leaves!

Autumn Frost Hosta

The bright yellow margins with nice blue centers on ‘Autumn Frost’ are outstanding in spring.

Jetstream Hosta

I really fell in love with ‘Jetstream’ last year and can’t wait to see how blue it is this spring.

Final Summation Hosta

If you grow ‘Final Summation’ you can’t wait to see it bigger this year. If you don’t have it, click add to cart now!

Guardian Angel Hosta

‘Guardian Angel’ puts on a show in spring with bright white-centered leaves.

Liberty Hosta

‘Liberty’ shines in the shade garden with those wide gold margins. A real beauty!

Benefits Of Buying From a Reputable Hosta Nursery!

Well, we can answer this in one sentence. You are guaranteed to receive a correctly labelled plant that is not diseased! This is not to say that we are perfect but we stand behind our plants and will fix any problems you may have with your order! Of course we will go into greater detail with a description of this statement but that is the short of it.

Guaranteed True to Name!

We have seen numerous posts on multiple forums from unaware people posting hostas with the wrong name. This is not the consumers fault as most hosta growers don’t know the difference between all the hosta cultivars. You assume that if the label was in that plant container then that is what it is. The problem with this is that almost no one working in a local nursery or a big box store could identify hostas by name. They are all hostas to them and they all look alike. If a customer takes the label out and does not replace it or puts it back in the wrong container then the chances of this getting fixed are slim to none.

Hostas are notorious for mutating (sporting) as well and we see this happen here often. These plants should never be sold as the plant they are labelled as. An all green ‘Guacamole’ is not ‘Guacamole’. It’s not that anyone is at fault for this but when someone orders a ‘Guacamole’ they should feel comfortable that they received what they bought. Although there are some interesting and new sports to be found the majority of them are less valuable than the actual hosta for sale. If one of these plants are being sold at a garden center or box store it will never be corrected and someone is bound to buy it mistakenly.

New Hampshire Hostas guarantees that you will receive a true to name hosta and will fix any problems you may have with your order.

What’s Wrong With My Hosta?

As we mentioned in the opening statement, we guarantee that our plants are not diseased. There are a few viruses that hostas are susceptible of being infected with.

The most well-known and feared virus is Hosta Virus X (HVX).

This virus affects the appearance of the hosta usually with green blotching and spotting. This virus is transmitted primarily through cutting the plants. Contact of the infected plant’s sap with sap of a healthy plant will infect the new plant. This can happen whenever cuts are made and the instruments or hands are not disinfected afterwards. Dividing hostas, removing bloom scapes, removing leaves, stepping on them, even accidentally running the lawnmower over them can and will spread this virus. It survives only in living plant tissue and dies without a host. Plants in pots may be simply disposed of or burned. Plants in the ground should be dug carefully as to get as many roots as possible, and the spot should not be replanted until any remaining roots have died and rotted away.

We took this photo from a hosta forum in which an aware consumer noticed these affected ‘Sum and Substance’ being sold in a box store.

Hosta'Sum and Substance' with HVX

Hosta’Sum and Substance’ with HVX

Here lies the biggest problem with this virus. Most nurseries and box stores are not aware of the virus and therefore just sell them. Even worse is their suppliers do know of the virus but making their quota is more important than remedying the issue. Even if the hostas next to an affected hosta don’t show symptoms you can assume that the virus is there and just not showing it yet. If you see affected plants do not buy these hostas and more importantly let someone working there know so we can stop the spread of this virus.

New Hampshire Hostas and other hosta nurseries are very aware of this virus and only buy stock from reputable suppliers that offer clean unaffected stock.

A Healthy Hosta 'Sum & Substance' Growing in Our Garden.

A Healthy Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’ Growing in Our Garden.

We soak all propagated divisions in a hydrogen peroxide bath when we do our dividing. This kills any fungus, is a good overall cleanser and stimulates the roots. We clean all of our propagating and pruning tools in a bleach solution after every use. There is very little chance for the spread of diseases with our stock.

So hopefully you can see the importance of supporting the hosta nurseries and the tireless work they do to produce clean, true to name hostas for their customers.

Yes, you can get cheap hostas at other local nurseries and box stores, but do you really know what you’re getting? There is a reason for the low costs of these plants. Reputable hosta nurseries can justify a slightly higher cost of their plants because you are guaranteed to receive a true to name plant that is not diseased.

Planting Hostas In The Summertime

Rainforest Sunrise HostaPlanting in Summer is a No-No??  Not So!

The rule of thumb has always been to never plant in summer, but rather plant in spring and fall when the weather is cooler. As this is a good rule, it is not set in stone. We do the majority of our planting in the summer months as the plants root in very quickly with the warm soil temperatures. It is not a good idea to plant new plantings in the beating sun, but most of the hostas are being placed in shade so that is not an issue.

Two Rules About Planting In Summer

You need to keep everything you plant well watered, especially during dry periods. So, if you are going on vacation for a week after you planted some new hostas, your results may not be gratifying.
It is also not a good idea to plant bare root plants in the heat of summer as the roots have been disturbed and it takes time for them to redevelop. Our plants are shipped to you in their container with soil (except for AK, AZ, CA and OR), so you don’t have that issue.

NH Hostas Shade GardenMy Hostas Are Thirsty!

The most important ingredient to any garden is water. As we have seen in the news, some of you have an excess of water right now.   However, up here in New Hampshire we have not seen rain in quite awhile and we have started to run sprinklers on our hosta beds.  Extreme dry periods can stress the hostas and they will actually become smaller the following year.

Early morning is the best time to water as there is less evaporation and the plants dry during the day which helps against fungus and rot. A sprinkler left on for an hour once or twice a week will help the hostas through the dry periods. Don’t always rely on a rain storm as it is difficult to judge how much water was actually absorbed by the ground. We use a rain gauge to know how much rain we got with each storm. We like to see an inch of rain a week to keep the gardens flourishing. Check out our blog post on rain gauges.

Grape Fizz HostaWhat To Plant Now

If you do want to plant now, may we recommend some fragrant hostas?  The fragrant hostas start to look their best when the summer heat arrives. Soon these beauties will adorn us with their sweet smelling fragrant flowers.

Why Gardeners Need A Rain Gauge!

The most important ingredient to any garden is water.  We amend and condition our soils in order to manage the water content.  We mulch in order to retain water.  Water is so essential to a successful hosta garden. It would only make sense that an instrument to measure the daily rainfall is a very valuable tool.

For several years I have had a very simple and inexpensive rain gauge near my side entrance in front of a clump of Hosta ‘Olive Bailey Langdon‘.  It is mounted on a short post pounded into the ground in a bed of Thorndale English Ivy.  The gauge is not mounted under any dripping trees or roof line.  These would interfere with the accuracy.

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Hosta ‘Olive Bailey Langdon‘

When there is more than ample rain in the spring to make the gardens flourish it is still interesting to know how much rain is falling from the sky.  In the summer it is more valuable to know what fell on my garden that day.  Do I need to water that new tree or hosta or lawn to insure survival?

Summer rains are frequently widely variable over a very short distance.  This makes a gauge all the more valuable.  You cannot rely on the local weather man to tell you the rainfall on your garden.  Even a friend 10 miles away could experience a very different result from that last thunderstorm.

Think about where you could mount this great gardening tool in your garden.

The Hosta Sizes We Sell

Hosta sizes we sell. PJ’s Yorkshire Terrier, Chloe, showcases the sizes we sell.

The start up plugs from left to right:
65MM – Rare Breed, Wishing Well, Sparkler, Rockets Red Glare, Mr Blue
35MM – Blonde Impressions, Victory, Thunderbolt, Sugar Plum, Curly Fries

The 3 inch pots from left to right:
Mouse Trap (with ruler), Sugar Babe, Tiny Bubbles, Dixie Chick Green, Dixie Chickadee

4 inch pots from left to right:
Dick Ward, Tick Tock, Grand Tiara (behind Tick Tock), Grand Slam, Pathfinder, Pewterware, Autumn Frost

The four two gallon hostas behind the 4 inch from left to right:
Alligator Shoes, Striptease, Climax, Earth Angel