For the Love of Hostas

Hostas are incredibly tough plants and will get along fine in almost any garden…but they look their absolute best with just a little extra attention. Here are some tips to grow beautiful hostas in your garden.

Despite hostas durable nature, there are many myths circulating about growing hostas, one of which is the term Originator’s Stock. Originator’s stock is simply a superfluous term for saying that the plant in question is the correctly named clone. Click here for more debunking!

Holy Hosta!

Our hostas have happy roots!

Hosta ‘Apple Pie’

Hostas are often touted as the best shade-loving plants for the perennial garden. At Plant Delights Nursery our hostas are all container-grown and are multiple-division plants that you can immediately divide.

All of the hostas that appear in this post are from our own breeding program at Juniper Level Botanic Garden. Learn more about our breeding program here.

Hosta ‘Branching Out’ – a breeding breakthrough

Hosta Branching Out PDN04-098 flowers3(64708)ccOne of the most rewarding parts of our work is being able to introduce a plant we’ve taken from idea (branched flower scapes) to reality. We are finally able to share our latest creation this week with the introduction of Hosta ‘Branching Out’. The first cross in the long road from creation to market took place here in 1989.  A seedling was selected that was later crossed with another 1995 seedling, which was later crossed with a 1999 seedling, which in 2004 was crossed with the blue-leaved Hosta ‘Pewterware’, after we noticed that both hostas would occasionally produce a single-branched flower scape.  We evaluated the resulting 2004 seedlings for several years before paring down their numbers in the semi-final cut. We were looking for good branching, attractive flowers, and sturdy stems. Once the final selection was made, we watched it for four more years to make sure it consistently branched in the garden, during which time, we also sent it north to evaluate its performance in colder climates.  Not wanting to significantly disturb the main clump, we removed a single division in 2012, which was divided annually.  Finally, in 2016, we are pleased to release our new baby to gardeners around the world.  We hope you find this as exciting in your garden as we do in ours.

 

Hosta parentage

Thanks for the great feedback on the hosta image.  Since most folks don’t have experience in plant breeding, we thought it might be interesting to share the crosses and parents involved to get to this point.  Our Hosta is PDN#10-004 and is a cross of PDN07-0793  x ((PDN05-156 x PDN04-180) (kikutii x ‘Gemstone’ (venusta ‘Minima’ x ‘Dorset Blue’) (longipes ‘Tardiflora’ x sieboldiana) x (venusta ‘Minima’ x self)) x PDN07-0100 ((‘Faith’ (‘Evening Magic’ (montana gold x sieboldiana) x ‘Big Daddy’ (‘Fortunei Robusta’) x PDN04-182) (kikutii x ‘Gemstone’) venusta ‘Minima’ x ‘Dorset Blue’ (longipes ‘Tardiflora x sieboldiana) x ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ (Blue Cadet sport))  So, the species included in creating this are Hosta venusta, sieboldiana, kikutii, longipes, and montana.

Hosta ‘Pocketful of Sunshine’

Hosta Pocketfull of Sunshine at WaltersOne of our favorite new hostas is Hosta ‘Pocketful of Sunshine’.  The longer we grow it, the better we like it…here’s a new photo.  It originated as a sport, originally from Hosta ‘Maui Buttercups’.  Hosta ‘Pocketful of Sunshine’ has very thick, corrugated leaves, with a dramatic gold and dark green pattern on a small-medium sized clump.

 

A few favorite hostas – new photos

Hosta Happy Dayz at Walters3

I’ve got hostas on the brain today, since in a few hours, we’ll soon be hosting 420 hosta friends for an intimate dinner, as part of the 2015 American Hosta Society National Convention.

I’m also just back from a road trip to Walters Gardens in Michigan to visit one of the top perennial plant breeders in the world, our friend Hans Hansen.  While there, I snapped quite a few hosta photos, and here are some of my personal favorites.

Hosta ‘Happy Dayz‘ is a sport of the difficult to grow Hosta ‘Orange Marmalade’…a plant that grows fine in a pot, but sulks in the ground.  This mutation has dramatically more vigor and makes a superb garden specimen.

 

Hosta Key West at Walters3

Hosta ‘Key West’ is an enormous gold-leaf hosta with great vigor from our friend, Indiana hosta breeder, Olga Petryszyn.

Hosta Bridal Falls at Walters3

Hosta ‘Bridal Falls’ is a stunning, ruffled leaf introduction from Holland’s Jan van den Top that I just adore.

Hosta Brother Stefan at Hansen Gdn, MI

Here’s one more or Olga’s best hosta creations, Hosta ‘Brother Stefan’, with superb seersuckered leaves.  Hosta ‘Brother Stefan’ was recently voted the hosta of the year for 2017!

Hostas looking good in the garden

Hosta Church Mouse2Here are some new hosta images from the garden, starting with the miniature Hosta ‘Church Mouse’…very cool ruffled edges.

Hosta Rainbow's End5

Here is Hosta ‘Rainbow’s End’…a stunning favorite that just glows.

Hosta Virginia Reel2

Another superb small hosta, Hosta ‘Virginia Reel’. Love this plantHosta with fern leaf shadow (J Burgan)

Here’s a fascinating hosta image just captured by staff member Jim Burgan, who noticed the light coming through the fern onto the hosta leaf…pretty cool.