Common name: Plantain Lily
Hosta or Plantain lily as it commonly known, is a hardy herbaceous / ground covering perennial that is suitable for shady borders, woodland, and waterside situations.
They come in various leaf colours and many produce beautiful, sometimes fragrant flowers.
Plants grown for their flowers need more sunlight than non-flowering types, and this is particularly true for fragrant flowered types.
Variegated plants retain their colour better when grown in partial shade.
Too much shade however may result in the plant losing its variegated foliage and returning to monochromatic green.
Yellow leafed varieties need dappled shade i.e. they require some sunshine, full sun may scorch the leaves.
A basic rule of thumb is, the darker the foliage, the more shade the plant can handle.
In more open gardens, hostas will tolerate morning sunshine as opposed to mid-day and afternoon sunshine.
If faced with a problem as to where to locate a particular variety it might be advantageous to grow it initally in a moveable container and move it around the garden to find an ideal location.
Once found the plant can then be removed from the container/s and planted into the soil.
If you live in an area with strong, hot sunlight, look for a garden location that offers heavily filtered sunlight, or light shade all day long.
Most varieties grow to around 300mm (12") high and 600mm (24") spread (although there are exception), the sometimes scented flowers appear in late summer.
Hosta plants need plenty of water and good drainage, adding a 50-75mm (2"-3") mulch around the plants can help to retain moisture.
Apply a balanced fertilser as new growth appears.
One application is generally enough to sustain the plant for a whole season.
Leave plants undisturbed for years.
Divide and replant the crowns as growth begins, planting the divisions immediately.
Ensure that their is at least one growing tip on each division.
Protect your plants from slugs and snails by surrounding the clumps with barriers such as crushed eggshells or slug pellets.
Use a slug repelling gel or copper rings on potted specimens.
Plant out 450mm (18") apart in partial shade (see note above) in well-drained moisture retentive soil that has been enriched with leaf mould, or well-rotted compost.
Alternatively grow in 200-250mm (8"-10") diameter pots filled with potting compost to the equivalent of Ji3.