Hostas For Sale

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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Design in gardens is a combination of foliage, color, and mood. Dramatic impact comes in part with the color of flowers and in part with the texture of foliage. Balance is critical, whether within a garden area, or between a flower bed and a shady retreat. Greenery is restful. While all plants bloom, some more dramatically than others, of course, the foliage contributes just as much to the overall visual effect.

Framing Color with Foliage

Hostas are among the most useful, lovely, dramatic, and hardy foliage plants for the home garden. Fundamentally shade and partial shade lovers, they bloom in spikes above a dense base of wide leaves, but are valued primarily for their foliage. The varieties include the blues, the golds, the greens, the white variegated, and the gold variegated. Hostas are also grouped by function, whether they're suited as an edging plant, a background plant, or a specimen.

All hostas are perennials. Hardy in USDA zones three through nine, that is, for most of the country from the Georgia-Florida border up to the Canadian in maritime conditions, they need a dormancy period with frost to thrive. There are some 40 species of hosta, and countless hybrids and varieties. Having said that hostas are shade lovers, which is true, it is also true that several species do happily enough in a mix of shade and sun. The golds, for example, as a group do best with more light, and the blues with less.

Caring for hostas takes minimal effort as long as conditions are good. This means, beyond shade and cooler temperatures, excellent drainage. While mulching plants keeps down weeds and protects good soil, it is also a haven for pests and diseases. Hostas are susceptible to slugs, which won't kill them but will take a severe toll on their looks, and slugs tend to appear where mulch is laid down. Fortunately, a number of other garden and mulch regulars feed on slugs, among them lightning bug larva, ground beetles, moles, shrews, and wrens.

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