America Held Hosta

There’s a reason hostas are the #1 perennial in the US. The incredible diversity of leaf shapes, sizes, and colors are one, combined with the array of climates in which they thrive. It’s long been rumored that hostas don’t grow well here in Zone 7b, but that simply isn’t the case if you prepare your soil properly (lots of compost) and allow for plenty of summer moisture.

Below are a few hosta cultivars that are looking particularly nice this week at JLBG. Of course, the proverbial deer-in-the-room is that hosta make quite the tasty buffet for both humans and wood rats. Deer fences and organic sprays all work, but the breakthrough will come when CRISPR technology is used to implant the Capsaicin (pepper) gene in hostas, rendering them too hot for most deer.

Here are a few of our favorites this week. Hosta ‘California Gold Rush’ has shown incredible vigor.

Hosta ‘California Gold Rush’

Love the over-the-top waviness of Hosta ‘Wheee!’

Hosta ‘Wheee!’

Hosta ‘One Last Dance’ has it all…vigor, size, ruffles, a nice flower show, and great leaf coloration. Did I mentioned that it’s also very sun tolerant if the soil is moist?

Hosta ‘One Last Dance’

Hosta ‘Coast to Coast’ is also very sun tolerant with amazingly corrugated leaves and great vigor on a fairly large clump.


Hosta ‘Coast to Coast’

Hosta ‘Do Wap’ is one of our yet to be introduced hybrids from our work to create blue hostas that hold the color well into the summer.

Hosta ‘Do Wap’

Hosta ‘Pie ala Mode’ didn’t get a lot of fanfare when it was introduced, but this has been exceptional in our gardens at JLBG. Hope these entice you to explore this amazing genus.

Hosta ‘Pie ala Mode’

Swamp Thing

We just snapped this photo of our 2006 Hosta introduction, H. ‘Swamp Thing’, looking quite divine. Sadly, this was one of those plants that just didn’t sell well, which is a shame, since we think it’s one of our best hosta introductions in terms of both vigor, and visual interest. We named it after the Creature from the Black Lagoon, since the foliage is so shiny, it looks like it just emerged from being under water. Hard to figure out the buying public sometimes.

Jack of all trades

The Japanese Arisaema sikokianum (Jack-in-the-pulpit) posing with Hosta ‘Kabitan in this glamour shot.

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.