what did you say your favorite hosta was?

flower-of-hosta-juneWE TALKED HOSTAS MONTHS AGO, in the dead of winter, when they were just twinkles in a gardener’s eye, or images pulled from color catalogs and memory. Now they’re not just up and all filled out, but blooming, too, which got me wondering again: If it were only one hosta per customer, what would yours be? I think I’m sticking with ‘June’ (above), like I said last time, and if I could have a second it would still be ‘Sagae,’ and then I need one small- or medium-sized gold one, and…sorry, I said just one, didn’t I? But seriously: Can you pick just one? Looking around, even in such a slug-filled year, I realize more than ever how I rely on the genus Hosta.

  1. Sheila says:

    I would take any of them! They don’t do well here. We treat them like very expensive annuals and even then they don’t grow much during the season. Not enough humidity and chill I guess.

  2. The striped green and white one! I have one that I dug from my late father’s garden. It’s in a pot, and it always makes me smile and think of him when it emerges in the spring.

  3. Eric says:

    This year my favorite is Radiant Edger. From a few small plants about 3 years ago it has really filled in and makes a thick, solid ring around some zebra grass. I would have to say my least favorite is Cherry Berry. I just can’t get it to grow! But it has held on for 5 years or so. Maybe next year?

  4. denden says:

    i picked up a “june” hosta from robert @ loomis in early june (there’s that word again!). it’s putting up the flower stalks now. i also planted japanese fern, autumn fern, hakonechloa all gold & asarum europeam in my shade bed. my mosaic will be a wee bit further down the road tho’…. that european ginger does grow slowly doesn’t it…(did i hear you just think, “patience, denden, patience”)?

  5. Keith Alexander says:

    I’m going with ‘El Nino,’ for my garden. The cool blue leaves, creamy border, medium size and deep lilac flower spikes make it the one, and maybe only, must-have for me.

  6. Nancy says:

    I find I love them all! My grandmother, Bessie, disliked hosta intensely and did not hesitate to say so…that started me off with a suspicious attitude toward them that was only confirmed when we bought our first house and I was *sure* we had stumbled into a garden of asparagus (!) that turned out to be…you guessed it…hosta. Over time, however, I came to appreciate their crisp, well-dressed look and even sort of enjoyed the flowers! Then I saw MS interviewing a man who seemed to grow all the kinds in the world and really got hooked. Mostly accidentally (Home Depot mystery bags, for example) I have experienced some of the more expressive varieties (small ones with green/gold leaves are wonderful–I am waiting to see what their flowers will be) and I love the huge blue-green ones. They look so prehistoric! Always something new–all good. Cannot pick just one!

  7. Rosella says:

    Probably Sum and Substance and Frances Williams for me, because they are reliable in the shade, make VERY large plants, and fill in where I need them. I LOVE hosta — they are the most agreeable plants in the world and give such a splendid tailored appearance to any garden. BUT — I am guilty of cutting off their flower spikes because they are just plain tatty and not worth anything. Just goes to show that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and this beholder doesn’t care for hosta flowers.

  8. DancerinDC says:

    I would just say “any hosta” because they are so reliable and (other than those voracious slugs) pretty easy to care for.

    But I think our favorite is Mammoth Blue – they have an ability to fill in an area so quickly, and the white flowers are striking.

  9. Balsamfir says:

    Its funny now, but I used to hate them. My mother had them in little mingy divisions edging bare dirt bulb beds. Then I started getting the garden bug, and a friend had the most amazing huge plants, 7 feet across in one case, with extraordinary leaves, and I started to want a few, and then a few more… This summer, I’m in love with Krossa Regal, which is truly regal, and bug free, with long stalks about to bloom and resembling alliums. I’m also fond of Blue Angel. And a couple teeny ones I got from loomis and lost the tags on…and

  10. Brian G. says:

    I inherited a sea of some unknown variety with my house. They are not showy and I don’t notice them very much until they send up their four foot tall stalks of lavender blue flowers, as thy have this past couple of weeks. I planted ‘Becky’ daisies among them and the show right now is amazing. Great combination. The hummingbirds seem to agree, they love the hosta flowers.

  11. Barbara H. says:

    It’s the fragrant hosta that was in my grandmother’s Portland yard. Good sized fresh green leaves with wonderfully fragrant (gardenia?) white flower stalks that I brought with me when I moved to NE Alabama 2 years ago. I have 2 clumps in my garden and the very small one that I gave my sister, who lives 4 miles away, is doing very well.

    I was in Portland for 30 years and who knows how long Grandma had had them. I’m so pleased I was able to bring them with me.

  12. Steve Zick says:

    Wondering where “here” is for Sheila above? CA or AZ? I’ve even seen them growing in the Huntington gardens in Pasadena and in Golden Gate Park in S.F., so they seem pretty forgiving when it comes to climates. I was told to put in Sum & Substance and it HAS become huge, but I’m thinking it’s getting too much sun–it’s looking a little bleached out this year. Any of the big & blue ones are near and dear to my heart!

  13. Margaret says:

    Welcome, Dancer in DC: I don’t have ‘Blue Mammoth’ but you are sending me to the references for a peek. I see it’s one that Martha Stewart uses for hosta-foliage arrangements…and it is indeed mammoth. Thanks for the visit, and the tip.

    @Barbara H.: Does it bloom somewhat late, and are the leaves solid medium green (not too dark in color, more warm green than blue-green) and glossy? Is it the amazing Hosta plantaginea, or August lily (one of the best fragrant hostas of all)?

  14. Johanna says:

    When I bought my house it had a full-sun garden full of awful looking hostas. I’ve never been a big fan of them, but these were suffering so in the sun that I took pity and transplanted them all to the shady entryway to the house. Now I’m kind of hooked, each year I buy some new variety to add into the hosta garden and the house is more and more welcoming. And the full-sun space is full of spring bulbs and perennials that want sun, so we’re all happy!

  15. Leslie says:

    I would pick ‘Great Expectation’ no maybe ‘Spilt Milk’ no maybe ‘Whirlwind’ Yes that’s it ‘Whirlwind’! But I do have to say that in a garden filled with evil nasty voles that eat any hosta that touches the ground, the old fashioned green and white ones that came with the house are never eaten. Go figure. All the rest of mine live in containers

  16. Barbara H. says:

    Yes, Margaret, I do believe that’s it. It does flower in August. It was in sun in Portland but I have it in shade here. I looked at Dave’s Garden website and learned that the seeds are viable. I don’t remember it setting seed so now I’ll have to watch for that. I like the leaves a lot and the fragrance was a wonderful surprise. Thank you for helping me name it!

  17. Carol says:

    I am not a hosta-holic; I have about a dozen in my garden including Sagae and June. My tried and true Hosta is good old “Halcyon”- never gets buggy and contributes wonderful structure and color to my shady bed. I’ve dug more divisions than I care to guess and suspect those plants have made it into at least 40 gardens here in Pittsburgh PA. My current favorite is “Blue Mouse Ears”. It makes a great edging plant and an amazing cut flower. On July 4th I cut a few flowers for arrangements and though petite, they’re richly veined and really beautiful! One question re: Sagae…it comes out so early and so fast- has anyone seen late-frost damage on this cultivar?

  18. Heather says:

    So hard to pick just one. But a couple of favorites are “Patriot” – love it’s contrast of white on dark green. It adds such light to a dark corner in the garden, perfect for a twilight garden. And “Guacamole” – a small gem, pale avocado leaves and small spikes of purple flowers- I have one in a pot in a shady spot on the patio.

  19. Margaret says:

    Welcome, Carol. I have about 4 million plants of ‘Sieboldiana Elegans,’ a big blue hosta that was very popular when I started gardening, and have likewise sent them out around the world (and used them as groundcover in far borders). Amazing what happens when you just keep gardening in one spot, and the oldest plants keep multiplying. :) As for ‘Sagae,’ I have sometimes covered it, but mine is in a fairly protected spot. I do think it could get zapped in the open in a late frost, yes.

  20. Jane says:

    I’m just getting into hostas…I do love Fire & Ice and Bright Lights. I’m growing June and she is lovely. Hard to choose.

  21. Margaret says:

    Welcome, Jane, another June aficionado. Nice to meet you. I am off to look up ‘Bright Lights’ and ‘Fire and Ice’ now at your suggestion. Uh-oh. Troublemaker!

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