Hostas for Fall
Hosta ‘Remember Me’ looks absolutely spectacular in the fall when its colors deepen and its pristine leaves shine. All photos were taken at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens this fall. Click any photo to enlarge.
In my last two articles, A Few Fall Favorites for Foliage and Fruit and A Few Fall Favorites for Flowers, I explained that, inspired by an article about dressing up your fall garden with mums because everything else is finished, I grabbed my camera and headed outside to prove them wrong. There was so much going on that I divided the plants into three posts: foliage and fruit, flowers, and hostas. This is part three highlighting hostas.
One reason I started what I like to call my free, on line, shade gardening magazine (AKA blog) was to force myself to document my gardening knowledge in photographs and print. This article is a perfect example. Every fall I walk around my gardens saying: “I really should photograph the hostas that still look good in the fall,” but I never do it. This information is very important when choosing hostas especially if you have a small garden and can’t afford to allocate space to a plant that provides no ornamental value for one third of the season like the specimens in the photo above. So, for the record, here are some of the hostas dressing up my shady gardens right now:
There is another very important point I would like to make about hostas. New is not the equivalent of better or even good. Gardeners will often remark about a hosta like ‘Frances Williams’, which was first registered in 1986, that it is an old hosta with the implication that we should have all moved on by now. If I had to, I would gladly trade in many of my newer hostas for a plant as unique in habit, leaf shape, and color as ‘Frances Williams’ (even with its tendency to brown slightly at the edges). The breeders have yet to come up with a new hosta this beautiful and tough.
Thanks to my commenter Louise Thompson for mentioning slug resistance. One of the primary reasons that these hostas look so good in the fall is that they are resistant to slugs. Most of them tend to have thicker leaves that just hold up better to whatever nature throws at them. Please read my reply to Louise for information about controlling slugs. I don’t do anything to control slugs except plant resistant hostas.
Talk about perfect, Hosta ‘Paradise Joyce’.
Hosta ‘El Nino’ in my silver and blue garden. If you want to see what it looks like in June, click here.
Hosta ‘Stained Glass’, which was the Hosta of the Year for 2006, just glows in the fall. One way to choose really good hostas is to select cultivars chosen as hosta of the year by the American Hosta Growers Association. There are over 6,000 (some say 10,000) hosta cultivars out there, and only 17 have received this honor. I grow 13 of the winners, and they certainly deserved to be chosen. To see all the winners, click here.
Another “old” hosta, ‘Blue Angel’ was registered in 1986 and, in my opinion, is the best large blue cultivar–outstanding habit, leaves, and white flowers. It is the parent of ‘Earth Angel’, the 2009 Hosta of the Year.
Hosta ‘Halcyon’ registered in 1988, is a beautiful medium-sized blue hosta (aging to green in the fall), but it is also important as the parent of ‘June’, ‘El Nino’, and ‘Paradise Joyce’, among other wonderful cultivars.
Hosta ‘Paul’s Glory’, the 1999 Hosta of the Year, also looks best in the fall when its bright colors light up the shade.
There are many more medium and large hostas that I could have featured as ornamental in the fall including my favorite, Hosta tokudama and all its cultivars. For more information on larger hostas and how to use them, click here.
Now for some fall stars among the miniatures, my current hosta passion. For more information on miniature hostas and how to incorporate them into your garden, click here.
If you have read my article on Miniature Hostas, you know I am a sucker for the Mouse Ears series, here Hosta ‘Mighty Mouse’.
Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ is the 2008 Hosta of the Year.
Like all plants, hostas should be chosen to provide ornamental value from the time they come up in the spring until frost. You can choose any of the hostas above for your garden and be confident of a long season of interest.
This is the third article I have written on hostas. The first two are:
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Nursery Happenings: The nursery is closed for the year. Look for the snowdrop catalogue (snowdrops are available mail order) in January 2012 and an exciting new hellebore offering in February 2012. If you are within visiting distance and would like to receive catalogues and information about customer events, please send your full name and phone number to email@example.com. Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.
This entry was posted on October 17, 2011 at 10:07 am and is filed under Fall, Fall Color, hosta, landscape design with tags Hosta 'Jimmy Crack Corn', Hosta 'Little Sunspot', Hosta 'Mighty Mouse', Hosta 'Pixie Vamp', Hosta 'Praying Hands', Hosta 'Remember Me', Hosta 'Stained Glass', hostas for fall. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.