Category Archives: What’s Going On at NH Hostas

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Hosta Sports and Reversions

What is wrong with my hosta? Why does some of the clump look different from the rest? What is a sport? What is a reversion?

Here is a technical definition of both a sport and a reversion.

  • Sport: An individual arising from the result of mutation, chimeral rearrangement, or mitotic recombination that is genotypically or phenotypically different from the original individual.
  • Reversion: (in Hosta) The change of a variegated sport back to its original solid color predecessor.

So what does that mean in layman’s terms?

A sport is a leaf bud in a clump of hosta that grows differently than the rest of the clump.

See the green growing in the clump of ‘Guacamole’ in the picture to the right. DSC031912The green is not a reversion because ‘Guacamole’ is actually a sport of ‘Fragrant Bouquet’. There are different types of sports as noted below.

  • Mutation: A genetic change of DNA of an individual.
  • Chimeral Rearrangement: (in Hosta) Changing position of the cells between different tissue layers in an individual, i.e., a gold-margined hosta producing a gold-centered, all-green, or all-gold division.
  • Mitotic Recombination: A change in the genetic make-up or physical appearance.

A reversion is a leaf bud in a clump of hosta that goes back to the original mother plant. DSC031921See the one dark green center of ‘Sum of All’ in the picture to the left.  The remaining leaves of the plant have reverted back to the gold of ‘Sum and Substance.’

So What Do We Do With a Sport or Reversion?

Both should be removed by using a knife and cutting the bud off of the clump. The best way to do this would be to lift the whole hosta and separate all the unwanted divisions, then reset the original hosta.

These sports and reversions can be kept if they are wanted and grown somewhere else in the garden.

The Subtle Beauty of Epimediums

The following is wikiHow’s definition of subtle beauty.

“Subtle beauty is almost indefinable and makes a woman seem special; achieving it requires modesty and self-awareness. A person may desire to exhibit subtle beauty rather than being exhibitionist and objectifying the body. Those with subtle beauty don’t scream for attention, but instead are happy with who they are without having to manipulate others through using their physical beauty to feel that way.”

Epimedium x rubrum

Epimedium x rubrum

This is how I would describe the presence of Epimediums in a shade garden.  They are not going to scream out to you from across the lawn ‘come look at me’. But when you come across them mixed into a shade garden they are going to make a memorable impression on you with their subtle beauty.

I feel that companion plants improve any hosta garden by accenting the shapes and colors of hosta. Epimedium plants are an easy to grow deer resistant companion plant that prefers moist but well drained soil and once established is somewhat drought  tolerant. The more vigorous cultivars may be used under the spread of  maple trees.  During the growing season they exhibit a beautiful canopy of foliage in addition to a prolonged period of spring flowering.  Leaves emerge green in the spring but many have a beautiful bronzy coloration.

Epimedium x versicolor 'Sulphureum'

Epimedium x versicolor ‘Sulphureum’

Once well established they form a weed inhibiting ground cover with their dense canopy.  They are a rhizomatous plant that spreads and fills in with time.  They are not an overly aggressive perennial that becomes a nuisance.

If you are trying Epimediums for the first time I would highly suggest one of the vigorous cultivars.

Epimedium x versicolor ‘Sulphurium’ is a vigorous yellow blooming cultivar with dark green foliage that emerges initially with chocolate colored foliage.

Epimedium grandaflorum 'Dark Beauty'

Epimedium grandaflorum ‘Dark Beauty’

The grandiflorums are also easy to cultivate.  Epimedium grandiforum ‘Dark Beauty’  exhibits large purple and white flowers  in April and May.  Epimedium  grandiforum  ‘Rose Queen’ offers bright pink flowers in late spring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Epimedium x versicolor 'Cherry Tart'

Epimedium x versicolor ‘Cherry Tart’

For those of you looking to take a walk on the wild side, why not try Epimedium  x versicolor ‘Cherry Tart’?  It is slower growing but the striking  pink and cherry red flowers may be just the thing to spice up your garden.

Deer resistant, winter hardy, easy to grow, ground cover flowering perennials. What’s not to love?

Our Favorite Cute Small Hostas

These small hostas are perfect as border perennial plants or when you need to fill that small space in your rock garden. These small hostas also make great container plants for a deck or poor soil area in the garden. We like these cuties for their vibrant colors and garden performance.

Appletini Hosta, small hostaCherry Tart Hosta, a small hostaCorkscrew Hosta, a small hostaCurley Fries Hosta, a small hostaFrosted Mouse Ears Hosta, a mini hostaHideout Hosta, a small hostaHoly Mouse Ears Hosta, a miniature hostaLittle Treasure Hosta, a small hostaMighty Mouse Hosta, a miniature hostaMini Skirt Hosta, a small hostaMouse Trap Hosta, a miniature hostaRainbow's End Hosta, a small hostaSilver Threads & Golden Needles Hosta, a small hostaSlim and Trim Hosta, a small hostaTick Tock Hosta, a miniature hosta

Our Favorite Big Hostas

We often get asked what hostas we would recommend and, of course, our answer is “All of Them!”  We hope you have a really big yard. It is always a hard question to answer as everyone’s opinions are different. We tend to lean towards the dependable growers that grab our attention in the garden. Here are a few (or more) hostas that we think everyone should have in their shade garden.

If you want big, then our favorites are:

Blueberry Waffles Hosta, a Giant HostaBridal Falls Hosta, a Giant HostaBrother Stefan Hosta, a Giant HostaDevil's Advocate Hosta, a Giant HostaEmpress Wu Hosta, a Giant hostaFinal Summation Hosta, a Giant HostaBlue Legend Hosta, a Giant HostaFrost Giant Hosta, a Giant Hosta Gentle Giant Hosta, a Giant HostaKey West Hosta, a Giant HostaLiberty Hosta, a Giant HostaParhelion Hosta, a Giant HostaSimply Sharon Hosta, a Giant Hosta

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.

Happy Thanksgiving

Well, our gardens are sleeping for the winter and it is definitely cold every morning when we let the dogs out. We wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and a great start to the holiday season.

Abby with AntlersHappy Holidays from Abby!

Meet Our Staff

NH Hostas cheerful staff

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet our amazing New Hampshire Hostas staff!

From left to right: P.J., Sherri, Jean, Richard..and of course Chloe and Abby: the wonder dogs!

Start A Vermicomposting Bin!

Build a vermicomposting binIf you have a small area in your garage or basement you can easily start a vermicomposting bin. Vermicompost is the process of composting using worms to create a vermicast (worm manure). The castings left over from the vermicompost contain less contaminants and higher levels of beneficial nutrients than regular compost.

These vermicomposting bins do not take up a lot of space and do not have a foul smell. There are multiple ways of building them on the Internet or you can purchase one. You can even purchase the worms on the Internet.

We like to compost our vegetable scraps, eggshells, rotten fruit, tea and coffee grounds, shredded paper and general yard waste. There are endless articles and videos on the Internet to help you along the way to create your own vermicompost for the garden. You can also make a compost tea and use this to fertilize your plants organically.

Spring Dreaming In Winter Mode

We have made it to the New Year and, for most of us, the cold and snow have taken over. The chilly winter months are a great time to plan your spring and summer garden.

Spring Dreaming At NH HostasGardening may be the last thing on our minds because of the weather but there are plenty of things we can do inside to occupy our time and help us plan for the upcoming growing season.

  • Study catalogs and surf the Internet for plants we want to grow. We wouldn’t want to waste our precious gardening time in spring doing all of this planning. We like to have plans for our gardens and lists of plants we want to plant in a file so we can easily access it when we want. You can also bookmark websites and products you like so you can go back to them easily.
  • Get ideas for your garden from local flower shows, garden clubs and garden forums. Most regions have their flower shows in late winter and offer some great gardening ideas. Local gardening clubs are a fun and cooperative way to share gardening ideas and activities with local plant enthusiasts like yourself.
  • (Big Smile Here) Winter is a great time to plan which hostas you would like to divide this spring. You may even plan with friends which hostas you’re going to swap with each other.
  • Sketch Out Your Garden. Map out where you want to put your new plants when they arrive. Maybe you’re thinking of starting a completely new garden. Do a few sketches of the area and design it several different ways. Search the Internet for pictures of gardens and use details of some to create your own masterpiece.
  • Go antiquing! No garden is complete without statuary and garden art. Go to local antique shops and other stores to find that perfect piece that helps express your distinctive gardening style. We love going to gardens that collect certain themed statuary like birds, frogs, turtles, etc.
  • Work on getting your garden labels ready. When the winter weather departs, all you’ll have to do is put them back where they go.