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I absolutely adore hostas and I would love to fill my garden with their gorgeous fleshy leaves but I've had to give up my attempts to cultivate them for one good reason - SLUGS. Those little slimy bastards adore hostas every bit as much as I do and whether I plant them in the garden or in tubs, whether I try all the anti-sluggy tricks in the book from egg shells to beer traps, they will go to the sort of extremes only seen in Mission Impossible films to eat every last scrap of my plants.
I've had plain and variegated leaf varieties, ones that flower and ones that don't, large ones small ones and everything in between but without fail I've lost them all to the evil cephalopods. It doesn't help that I have three cats and so don't want to use slug pellets lest some furry fool decides to find out what slugs taste like.
In theory, hostas are hardy perennials. In the real world you'll be lucky if the slugs let them live long enough to fight another day. The are also valuable for their shade tolerance - if not their slug tolerance.
I often go to National Trust properties and gardens where much better gardeners than me seem to have no problems with their hostas but then they do have all day long to fight the slugs. One of my favourites sights is rain drops on hosta leaves - the water resistance of the leaves leaves sparkling drops on the surface of the leaves.
I was introduced to the Hosta by a family member who had too many of them in his garden so he gave me some to transplant. He said they would look stunning and would be an excellent addition to my garden. Prior to this I'd never heard of the plant.
Hostas are a herbaceaous perennial, which means that it will last for more than two years and it is a plant that dies away at Autumn/Winter leaving it's roots in the soil to re-grow in the next year.
Hosta's have very large, thick, slightly ribbed and waxy leaves which grow in low clusters and which provide ground cover. They tend to emerge in quite prolific clumps and look very imposing and slightly tropical. They have flowers which grow up much taller out of the leafy cluster on thin rigid stems. The flowers, which emerge in the summer, are a pale purple shade and look like small water droplets. In regards to the flowering, many of my Hosta plants don't come into flower. I've been told this may be due to them being transplanted and that to be patient.
The plants look great in a border as they look so healthy and verdant. I've recently begun researching for plants to put around a pond and have learned that Hostas are ideal pond side plants. Even without flowers the great big leaves look amazing and seem to get larger and more robust every year. I have them planted both in shaded and in full sun areas and both do well.
When the plant dies away during Autumn it literally disappears leaving nothing but soil where it was. Small shoots appear in the spring and gradually develop until it's at it best in the summer. The plant is attractive to slugs but mine withstand any damage quite well.
I would definitely recommend the Hosta to any gardener as I feel they are quite a beautiful and robust looking plant which stand out in any border display. They are easy to maintain and can easily be separated into new plants by simply dividing the plant.
I don`t think a single year has passed that I haven`t introduced yet another new Hosta into one of my garden pots. Last year I bought two, one variegated green and one blue tinged, Hubby tidied the pots and decided that the sad looking stumps that remained at the end of the season were only fit for the bin and that is where they ended up!
I love the Hosta plant but sadly the slugs seem to love them too and despite a nightly slug inspection they still find ways of climbing into the pots, wiggling across the mighty uncomfortable base of cracked egg shell that I have laid to deter them and then munching the succulent plants, stripping them systematically, much to my annoyance!
If I plant Hosta`s straight into the ground they just don`t stand an earthly , maybe lasting a couple of days maximum before they are reduced to slug fodder.
The Hosta is a Herbaceous perennial, which in fact means that the plant has a lifespan of around three years. Some perennials may live longer and some may only survive for a year or so.
There are many types of Hosta and they are often categorised by colour, variegated, green leaf, gold leaf, blue leaf. As well as having many different colours they vary tremendously in shape and size, they can have long, round flat or concave leaves, some leaves are smooth and others are bubbled.
Hosta`s do produce flowers, granted they aren't among the most attractive that I have come across but again the flower shape, size and colour much depends on the type of Hosta.
If you are lucky enough not to be plagued with slugs and can plant Hosta`s directly into the garden they act as good ground covering plants, a seemingly small Hosta will soon gather speed and bush out well.
The majority of Hosta`s prefer a shady part of the garden, if they are put into strong sunlight it affects their leaves and instead of lush green leaves you end up with yellow streaked leaves.
But there is an exception to the rule, the fragrant Hosta needs some sunlight to encourage it`s white perfumed flowers to bloom in late summer.
Hosta`s are low maintenance, they do love water though and enjoy a regular drink. I have seen Hosta`s planted in among lavender and other shrubs and they look wonderful, they can be spectacular if they are planted in a row to form a type of border.
By rule of thumb I would fertilise them maybe every three or four months to encourage growth.
When the Hosta dies back at the end of the season then remove the upper leaves and just leave the plant safely where it is.
I am always astounded at the price of some plants on offer in our local garden centres but Hosta`s always seem to be affordable.
My first choice would be the blue hosta, the leaves radiate warmth and are quite beautiful in their own way.
If you are lucky enough to be able to keep them in garden pots and tubs among your other plants, they can make a highly attractive display and won`t cost a small fortune either.
A circle of slug pellets round the plant enables it to be enjoyed all the season. - Advantages: Beautiful Leaves, A good plant for a damp, shady spot - Disadvantages: Slugs, Snails, Flowers are a bit insignificant
I intended actually to write about Euphorbia, but as I'm new to Dooyoo, I'm just starting to find my way around and because I came across Hostas in the categories, I decided to write about them instead. Well what can I say..I admit to not having a great deal of horticultural knowledge, but I do love plants. I'll begin by saying there is room in even the smallest garden, or even back yard or patio for hostas. They can be planted in borders, around ponds or even in pots to great effect. They add character and architecture to garden areas and can be used as an efficient divider to break up expanses of flowers which would otherwise clash in colour. They are extremely easy to propagate, you merely lift and divide them in early spring before they are too well grown. Hostas are perennials and the clumps grow in size each year so your initial outlay will be rewarded for years to come. Set around a pond they become a haven for frogs and toads to hide beneath and as the plant is addictive to snails, these creatures never have to look far for their evening meal. This is perhaps the plant's downfall as it can be devoured in just one evening by snails and it is heartbreaking to see what was a beautiful plant one day reduced to ribbons the next. The snails can be deterred however by surrounding the Hostas with grit or eggshells, or even by going out at night with a torch and trowel and crushing them (if you aren't too squeamish). Look out for curious neighbours though who may think you've had a breakdown! Hostas prefer moist shady conditions, but it is possible to grow them in sunnier positions, although unfortunately this seems to alter their colours somewhat, especially the darker leaved varieties. The flowers of the Hosta aren't particularly impressive and indeed I personally often cut them off and use them indoors instead to complement indoor flower arrangements. I would recommend you be
g some spring divisions off friends if they have Hostas rather than buying them from garden centres where usually quite extortionate prices are charged. However, as I've already stated your initial layout will be recompensed over the years as long as you keep the snails away. Finally, take care during the spring months when Hostas are first poking through as it is easy to dig through them and cause extensive damage which can be heartbreaking. This is a plant I would thoroughly recommend to others though.