Have you ever wondered why the same plants in different gardens look different? The first thing that comes to mind is that the conditions for growing these plants are different. How to achieve proper care for your favorite Hosta, find the right place to plant them, choose the right soil composition and the right set of fertilizers? How do I make sure that a healthy plant species says that they get everything they need in abundance?
If you ask such a question to a professional flower collector, the answer is clear: to achieve the maximum decorative effect, absolute health and longevity of Hosta, you need to thoroughly know the growing conditions of its relatives in the wild and understand how diverse the requirements of various species and numerous, diverse varieties of this crop to the growing conditions in the garden.
What Hosta likes and dislikes
Hosta — natives of the Far East, the center of their distribution is Japan. Hosta’s favorite natural habitats are under the canopy of tall forest trees, and the moist, shady banks of rivers and streams. Most Hosta garden cultivars are descended from these wild relatives.
But in the wild, Hosta can grow in completely different conditions. For example, one of the varieties – Hosta hypoleuca-can grow in dense shade, shrouded in thick fog. And at the same time, this Hosta is found on volcanic cliffs, in the hot sun. In such an extreme habitat, it develops only a single large leaf, covered on the inside with a thick layer of white plaque, which saves the plant from the sun’s rays reflected by the bare rocks.
In contrast, it is H. longissima, which grows in wet and foggy meadows of the highlands. It has grass-like leaves, and in summer this Hosta species is most often overshadowed by taller grasses. Several Hosta species with tiny leaves (such as H. venusta) that are slightly larger than a thumb nail grow as epiphytes on mossy tree trunks. Others form extensive colonies in wet swamps-bogs covered with sphagnum moss. And there are wild plants growing on the mossy roots of trees that live at the edge of high-altitude streams, while Hosta pull their roots in cold running water.
In many areas of garden farming, Hosta species and varieties adapt well to growing conditions. The exception is subtropical areas, since Hosta require a rest period of several weeks with temperatures no higher than -4.4 degrees, this is a mandatory part of their annual growth and rest cycle.
All Hosta are hardy and hardy enough. The limit of winter temperature that hostas that are dormant can withstand is up to -44 degrees. It is also considered that vegetating Hosta can withstand short-term frosts of up to -2 degrees without much damage to the decorativeness. In summer, an increase in air temperature to + 38 degrees for a short time also does not significantly affect the condition of plants.
I will add that the limit of minus temperature for each variety and species is different: some plants can withstand freezing to -2, for others, lowering the temperature to zero degrees is already the limit. Knowing this important point, it should be borne in mind that in the harsh continental climate of the Moscow region, Hosta is often in danger of falling under the return of spring frosts.
Calculate your strength and capabilities to cover plants in time and reliably in such unpleasant moments, otherwise the battered appearance of frostbitten Hosta will upset you almost every year. However, by mid-or late summer, Hosta still partially restore their decorative appearance and grow back, even if the entire aboveground part is severely damaged.
The choice of location for planting
Hosta can grow both in a shady place and in a more open space. The only area in the garden that should be avoided in our climate is the sun. Areas of the garden that are fully illuminated in the hottest midday hours (from 12.00 to 17.00) are considered unsuitable even for sun-tolerant varieties and species.
As a rule, for this reason, experienced gardeners are interested in buying not only the price, but also the varietal characteristics, preferences of the new Hosta, on which the choice of planting location depends — the most important factor affecting the health and high decorative quality of Hosta. But do not rely on the advice of foreign experts who recommend planting Hosta in Sunny flower beds: the climatic conditions of different countries are not always similar. For example, in England, where the average summer temperature is about 23 degrees, with light to medium clouds and frequent drizzling rain, Hosta in open areas will feel much better, where 30-degree heat is not so rare, and dry periods are prolonged.
It should be well understood that for many Hosta, a Sunny landing place will not be fatal, but in such conditions they lose their valuable varietal and species features – the shape, color and size of the foliage, expressive texture and structure. This is explained by the fact that in the sun, shade-loving plants try to resist excess solar energy, reduce the size and shape of the leaf plate, reducing the area of evaporation.
Sun-water burns, a rotten shade of foliage, rapid greening of blue Hosta, fading of “varnished” varieties, burning out of contrasting edges and melting of the middle of the leaves of mid-brown varieties – this is an incomplete list of problems that occur in plants planted in the sun. Therefore, Hosta, grown in Sunny flower beds, look less expressive and can not compete in decorativeness with similar varieties planted in shady and semi-shady areas of the garden.
Hosta varieties that are classified as sun-tolerant, plant in flower beds in such a way that higher perennials provide them with light shading in the hottest midday hours.
However, it is fair to add that in places with constant dense and dense shade, even shade-loving varieties do not always feel good. Hosta there develop more slowly, they lack the sum of positive temperatures; in spring, the soil in such places warms up for a long time, Hosta Wake up late, in cooler soil, the development of new shoots is inhibited, rarely appearing flower stalks do not have time to open buds and blossom.
If you do not have the opportunity to use the proven recommendations of collectors and fans of Hosta, I advise you to find out varietal characteristics in the preferences of the landing site by experience. If possible, buy 2-3 copies of the same variety and plant them in different places in the garden. Carefully observe the plants for several seasons, compare, draw conclusions and find the best placement option for this variety or species in your garden.