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Hostas add Color and Texture to Perennial Gardens
Hostas are hardy garden perennials that add foliage color, and texture to the perennial shade garden. Originally, from Japan and China, Hostas first appeared in perennial gardens in the United States in the early 1800's when European gardeners brought their prized Hosta plants with them as they immigrated. These hardy herbaceous perennials typically grow best in partial shade exposures although some varieties of Hostas will take dappled sun without burning occurring on the foliage. Hostas are popular with gardeners for their versatility in the shade garden and their wide range of foliage shapes, colors, sizes, and textures. Hosta plants range from solid foliage colors to wild variegated color combinations of blue, green, white, and gold. Although not typically regarded as a flowering perennial plant, all hostas bloom in the summer producing showy spikes of lavender to white, lily-like flowers, which sometimes are fragrant. Despite the delicate appearance of Hostas, Hosta plants are a very low maintenance perennial garden plant, and extremely hardy, most to USDA Zone 3.
Typically considered shade perennials, Hostas do require some sun in order to produce large, colorful foliage, and showy flowers. The ideal Hosta exposure in the garden is an exposure with morning sun and afternoon shade. An easy way to remember which Hosta variety requires the most shade is just to go by the color of the foliage: blue-leafed hostas require the most shade, hostas with foliage that is gold, yellow, or white can tolerate more sun, and fragrant hostas require the most sun approximately 5 to 6 hours per day to produce fragrant blooms. A few examples of sun tolerant hostas are Hosta plantaginea, 'August Moon', 'Fragrant Bouquet', 'Guacamole', and 'Sum and Substance'.
When planting hostas in your garden the trick is to start out right with rich, organic soil that has good drainage. If your garden soil is clay, then you will need to incorporate organic amendments into the soil prior to planting, to correct the soil tilth problem. To grow and thrive, hostas prefer a soil PH that is on the acidic side.
Although hostas are low maintenance garden perennial plants, they do attract slugs, snails, earwigs, and deer. You can easily take care of the slugs, snails, and earwigs organically using Sluggo Plus. Sluggo Plus is a new organic gardening pest control that is pet safe and really does work! If you have deer that have access to your garden, you will have a difficult time growing hostas. Deer love to eat hostas! The best way to protect your Hosta plants from deer is to install fencing that they cannot jump.
Other shade loving perennial plants include Epimedium, Heuchera, Dicentra (Bleeding Heart) and Hostas.