This perennial herbaceous plant, either Hosta or Fungia, is directly related to the asparagus family, but not so long ago it was a member of the lily family. It was named after N. Hosta, who was an Austrian physician and botanist. And the fungus was named after the German botanist H. H.
Funk. This genus includes about 40 different species of plants. In natural conditions hostas can be found in the south-west of the Far East, on the Kuril Islands, in East Asia (China, Korea and Japan) and on Sakhalin. These plants simply adore moisture and therefore they prefer to grow on the banks of rivers and along streams, on forest edges, on mountain slopes and so on. In Japan, this plant is considered sacred, and the Japanese enjoy eating the leaf petioles as a delicacy.
When the hosta was introduced to England, there was not much interest in this flower, but that all changed after it came to the New World. This plant became very popular and soon it was already cultivated on all continents.
Peculiarities of hostas
Hostas are characterized by their versatility, and therefore every gardener can choose exactly the kind that can decorate his garden. This rhizomatous plant, which has a spectacular appearance, is capable of growing into an entire plantation in a short period of time. Hostas are loved for their spectacular foliage, which is quite different in different species and varieties.
This flower is considered a universal and absolutely not capricious. It easily withstands drought and cold, is shade tolerant and can be a great background for other flowers. Over the years the hosta becomes more and more beautiful and in its 5th year of life its beauty is at its peak. Absolutely all species and varieties are herbaceous and stemless plants and their small short branching thickened rhizome has a large number of cord-shaped stubs, with which the flower is firmly fastened in the ground. The flower stalks, which have practically no leaflets, are tall and rise above the rosette, which consists of lovely leaf plates.
They bear tassel-shaped inflorescences, consisting of either maché or simple florets, which may be colored white, purple, pale blue or pink. This plant differs from other shade-loving plants in that it has very beautiful florets. For example, they are part of a one-sided tassel-shaped inflorescence and have a bell-shaped or simply funnel-shaped form. The fruit is a trihedral boll, which is leathery. It contains a large number of seeds which retain a good germination rate for 12 months.
Root-mounted long-petioled leaves are heart-shaped or lanceolate with acuminate pointing in the upper part. The veins are distinctly marked on the surface, and the variety of colors in these leaves is fascinating. The color of the leaf blades is directly related to the species and variety of plant. Thus, you can see the different shades of blue and green, which can turn into white and yellow. In this case, as a rule, the leaves are not monochromatic, there are various spots, strokes, stripes, and the combination of color shades can be quite unexpected.
Also the leaf plates are distinguished and a great variety of textures. They can be wrinkled, glossy, roasted, waxy, matte, have a metallic tint... The average height of a bush is from 50 to 80 centimeters, but you can meet giants whose height reaches 1.
2 meters, and there are also dwarf varieties (height about 15 centimeters).
Hosta in the garden. Landscape tricks 46
Hosta species and varieties with photos
Plants such as hostas are very popular in landscape design. There are currently more than 4,000 varieties of hybrid hosta. However, the main species that have served as the peculiar material for the creation of all this diverse splendor is relatively few.
The main species used by breeders:
The bush reaches 60 centimeters in height, its broad dark green leaf plates have a white border, for example: Dream Weaver;
Bush reaches 0.9 meters in height, its large shiny leaflets are colored dark green, for example: Tom Schmid;
Bush up to 50 centimeters in height, its green leaflets bordered with a cream stripe, for example: Albopicta;
Bush about 60 centimeters high, veins clearly visible on the leaf plates, for example: Elegans;
Height about 75 centimeters, edge at leaf plates undulating, central part white with green fringe in strokes, for example: Undulata Mediovariegata;
Heights about 50 centimeters, leaflets have a pointed tip, for example: Thomas Hogg;
Heights about 50 centimeters, shiny leaflets painted a deep green, for example: Royal Standart.
Glasses are classified according to size and colour
Such plants are divided into 5 groups according to leaf colouration:
- hosta blue (hosta blue-B) - color of leaf plates blue;
- hosta yellow (Go) - it includes all these plants having yellow leaflets;
- hosta green (Gr) - leaflets of green color;
- hosta variegata (V) - varieties with variegated leaves and also varieties with light-coloured edges at the edge of the leaf plate;
- hosta mediovarieregata (MV) - light coloured leaf plates have a green border at the edge.
There are 6 groups dividing the hostas according to size:
- DwarfBushes not exceeding 10 centimeters, Draft (D): Blue Mouse Ears (light blue coloured leaflets very similar to mouse ears).
- Miniature - Height varies from 10 to 15 centimetres, Miniature (Mini): La Donna (leaflets painted yellow, blue and green at the same time).
- Small - Height 16-25 centimeters, Small (S): Hosta Goldone (green leaflets have a yellow or white band), Headsmen Blue (greenish-blue leaflets).
- MediumHeights 30-50 centimeters, Medium (M, Med): Night Before Christmas (leaves are dark green and the middle part is white), So Sweet (green leaflets have a creamwhite border), White Feather (this unique plant has white leaflets, but they turn green over time).
- BigHeights 55-70 centimeters, Large (L): Alvatine Taylor (green-blue leaflets have a yellow-green border), Golden Meadows (roasted leaflets are rounded and have a golden-colored midrib, a fairly wide greenish border and light green streaks).
- GiantHeights over 70 centimetres, Giant (G): Blue Vision (greenish-blue leaflets), Sum of All (central part of leaf blade green and with fairly wide golden border).
Growing hostas from seed
Hosta planting and care / Hosta from seed
Growing in a pot
This plant can be propagated by seeds, bush division and also cuttings.
If you want to grow such a flower from seeds, you should remember that how successful it will be depends directly on whether you treat the seed with growth-stimulating agents (you need to immerse them in rootin, zircon, epin or aloe juice for 30 minutes), or not. The fact is that the germination of seeds is not very high - about 70-80 percent. There are gardeners who recommend using the method of stratification, namely, to put the seeds for 4 weeks in a cold place. It is also important to choose a quality soil mixture for sowing. It should be free of pathogens, fungi, etc.
To do this, it is recommended to buy the substrate in a reliable specialist store. The soil mixture should contain peat, perlite as well as vermiculite.
Sow from April to May. The pot should first be treated with a solution of potassium manganese or medical alcohol. It is necessary to lay a drainage layer at the bottom, then pour the soil and moisten it well.
After that, the seeds are sown, they are simply distributed on the surface of the soil. Then they need to be covered with a thin (5-7 millimeters) layer of earth mixture, which should be slightly tamped. On top of the container should be covered with a transparent film or glass. The optimum temperature for germination from 18 to 25 degrees. If you arrange a suitable environment for the seedlings to germinate, the first seedlings can be seen 14-20 days after sowing.
Seedlings should be protected from direct sunlight, they should be watered moderately, and you should remove accumulated condensation from the cover in a timely manner. Seeds do not need good light until they have taken root, so put the container in a little shade until the seedlings appear. However, once this has occurred, the seedlings should be moved to a place with good light.
Pilot the seedlings into their individual pots once they have developed two true leaves. Fill the pots with potting soil and ¼ full of sand and transplant the hostas into them.
Watering is used only the bottom. For this purpose, water is poured into a container and pots are placed in it. Remove them only after the top layer of substrate becomes wet. After transplanting, you need to start hardening the hostas. Remove the cover for a few hours.
After 7 days, the cover should be removed for good, and from that moment, you should start taking the flowers outdoors, but only when the air temperature will be at least 18 degrees. It should be remembered that hosta seedlings grow for a very long time, and also such plants that grow from seed may not retain their varietal traits.
Planting in the open ground
What time to plant
First of all, you should choose a site that is the best for cultivating such flowers. It should be remembered that such a plant for a long time (about 20 years) is grown in the same place without replanting, with it becoming more beautiful from year to year. For hostas, it is recommended to choose a slightly shaded area, in which there will be no draughts.
However, remember that the richer the color of the leaves, the more light is needed for such a plant, the same applies to the presence of yellow and white areas on the surface of the leaf plate. For mottled varieties, it is advisable to choose a location that will be in the shade during the midday hours, and all the rest of the time it will be illuminated by the sun. For varieties with blue leaves, you should choose a shady place, but they need very little sunlight (about 2 hours a day will be enough). It has been seen that in a strong shade, the hostas will not grow as fast, but their leaflets are bigger and the bush is a bit taller.
A suitable soil should be humid, enriched with humus, well-drained, weakly acidic or neutral.
Such plants do not like sandy soil or heavy loam. If you are going to transplant seedlings to the open ground in spring, then to start preparing the site in autumn. To do this, the surface of the plot should be covered with a ten-centimeter layer of organic fertilizers. After that the soil should be turned over to the depth of a bayonet spade. In spring you can easily plant hostas on the plot.
Planting these plants out in the open can only be done if no more frosts are expected. In middle latitudes, this time is usually the last April and first May.
How to plant hostas
Hostas: Planting, care, propagation - 7dach
A space of 30 to 60 cm between the holes should be left, the size of the gaps being influenced by the type of plant. If the hostas are giant varieties, you should leave at least 0.8 to 1 meter between them.
Potted hostas should be watered generously a few hours before planting. If you repot hostas and simultaneously divide the bush, you need to remove the root of the divisions, which dried up, damaged or rotten. A seedling is poured into a hole with a root ball or a 2 to 3 centimeters below the soil surface. Then you need to carefully straighten the roots and fill the hole with soil, which should be tamped (not very much). Water the hosta generously.
After that the soil surface near the root should be sprinkled with mulch (a layer of fine bark).
Care features for the hosta
If the hosta is planted in nutritious soil, it will not need nutrition for 3-4 years. In the autumn, sprinkle the soil surface with compost and humus, mulching and feeding the plant at the same time. A lot of mineral fertilizers the plant does not need, but if necessary, distribute granular fertilizer on the surface of the soil near the bush. This should definitely be done on wet soil (after rain or watering).
Fertilising with liquid fertiliser (root and foliar) should be done twice a month until the middle of summer, if you do it longer, the actively growing flower will not be able to prepare itself properly for the winter. The soil around the plants should always be kept moist, especially for young hostas. You should therefore water in good time and early in the morning. However, you should pour water carefully under the bush, as the liquid will damage the leaves. Pour the water carefully, so that the liquid can be well absorbed.
The fact that a strong stream of water compacts the soil. If the flower lacks water, you can tell by the darkened tips of the leaf plates.
If you want to maintain the attractive appearance of the shrub for a long time, you should definitely remove the young flower stalks by breaking them out. The fact is that the flowering bush starts to fall apart. Loosening and weeding should be carried out only at the very beginning of cultivation, the fact is that over time, the bush will grow and smother the weed itself.
After 3-4 years, the flower will grow strongly and it will need to be divided. To do this, the bush should be dug up and from the main rhizome to separate young cuttings. If the hosta is healthy, this procedure will do it no harm.
Diseases and pests
Such plants are resistant to disease, but American experts assure that if there are a large number of specimens in the collection, it is likely that there is a sick one among them. Weak or frost-affected shrubs can sometimes develop phyllostikosis.
This fungal disease can be recognized by the brownish-yellow spots on the leaf plates, which eventually merge together. The fungus Phyllosticta aspidistrae Oud also poses a threat to plants, affecting flower stems. Affected specimens should be dug up and destroyed and the soil must be disinfected afterwards.
Gray rot (Botrys cinerea) and Sclerotinia (Sclerotinia) also threaten this flower. It is usually the leaf laminae that rot.
To combat the rot, it is recommended to use fungicides, with Folpeth as the base. Such a fungus as sclerotinia is a whitish cotton-like mold that damages the root neck of the plant. It is treated with dichlorane.
The greatest danger to hostas is slugs. You can tell by the large holes in the leaf plates.
Getting rid of them is quite easy. Place a container full of beer next to the plant. After a day you will only have to collect the slugs that have crawled in based on the smell of the drink.
Stem nematodes can also live here. Nematode infestation can be recognized by yellow necrotic spots spreading between the leaf veins.
To be completely sure that nematodes have settled on the plant, you need to take one leaf plate, tear it into small pieces and pour everything into a thin-walled clear glass. Clean water should be poured into it. After 30 minutes, you should carefully inspect the contents of the glass. If there are nematodes, you should see tiny worms in the water. It is impossible to get rid of this pest, because no remedy is able to kill its eggs.
You will have to dig out and destroy absolutely all plants that are near the affected specimen within a radius of 200 centimeters.
If caterpillars settle on the hosta, they destroy the entire bush in just one night. The beetles and grasshoppers make many holes in the leaves. Insecticides can help you deal with these pests.
When the flowers fade, remove the flower stems.
In early fall, the hosta should begin to be prepared for the winter, at which time they can also be transplanted if necessary. The shrub should be watered abundantly 30 minutes before the seeding begins. Then it should be dug up and divided, with at least 1 leaf rosette on each one. The distance between the dividers is 25-35 centimeters, and they are planted at the same depth at which they grew. The planting hole should be made wide, because the root system grows horizontally.
At first, the transplanted hosta should be watered very abundantly. Repotting and splitting should be done no later than mid-September to give the plants time to get stronger before frost. Typically, young hostas are rooted in a month after planting. With the onset of spring, the divisions will begin to grow actively, and in just 2-3 years they will be mature and very showy plants.
In winter, hostas need to be insulated.
To do this in the fall, the surface of the soil should be covered with a layer of mulch (leaf soil). Those flowers that grow under trees need such mulch the most, because they will get their missing nutrients from the leafy soil. And also with mulching the level of the flower bed is raised and the drainage of the soil is much better.