HOSTA Plaintain Lily

Hosta is a dual-purpose plant, grown for its spikes of trumpet-shaped flowers as well as its attractive broad leaves, often variegated or distinctly coloured. It thrives in the partial shade beneath shrubs and trees and as a ground cover plant it effectively suppresses weeds. Its drawbacks in this situation are the deciduous nature of its leaves and the attractiveness of the young spring foliage to slugs. Add compost or peat to the soil before planting and mulch around the plants in spring. Dead-head the faded blooms.

VARIETIES: Many catalogues and garden centres offer a large selection of Hostas, ranging from near-blue to almost pure yellow foliage. The basic details are height 1.5-3 ft. Spacing 2 ft.

Flowering period: July-August. For deep shade choose the green-leaved, white-flowered H. ‘Royal Standard’ which blooms until October. For partial shade there is H. fortunei ‘Albopicta’ (green-edged cream leaves), H. sieboldiana ‘Elegans’ (large bluish green leaves, purple-tinged white flowers), H. ventricosa (dark green leaves, 3 ft spikes of lilac flowers), H. ‘Thomas Hogg’ (white-edged green leaves) and H. undulata (wavy-edged leaves).

SITE AND SOIL: Any reasonable soil will do – thrives best in partial shade.

PROPAGATION: Divide clumps in spring.

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