Archive for Hosta ‘Fragrant Queen’

Larger Hostas

Posted in container gardening, hosta, Shade Gardening, Shade Perennials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 30, 2011 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  The only plants that we ship are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  For catalogues and announcements of events, please send your full name, location, and phone number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

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Hosta Teeny-weeny Bikini' at Carolyn's Shade GardensHosta ‘Teeny-weeny Bikini’: I couldn’t resist including one more miniature.

In my recent article Miniature (& Small) Hostas, I explained my evolving relationship with hostas and how my collecting tendencies had led me to miniature hostas for space reasons.  I display these little treasures in special ways in containers, in my rock garden, or as groundcover in order to highlight their small stature.  However, for specimen plants and variety of leaf color, there is nothing like a larger hosta.  They come in an an infinite number of combinations of colors, heights, widths, leaf shapes, flowers, and habits.  There is a medium to large hosta for every garden condition, both as the star of the show and a lovely backdrop for your other perennials and shrubs.  In this article, I want to highlight some of my favorite larger hostas as well as some cultivars that are new to me.

Mature Hosta tokudama ‘Flavocircinalis

Leaf of mature ‘Flavocircinalis’

Before I get to the plants, however, I want to explain something that took me a while to figure out.  Larger leaf hostas do not look like themselves in a nursery pot because they take one to two years to mature and reach their full size and coloration.  Immature plants will have different shaped leaves, usually pointed, and will not display the intricate color patterns that you can expect on the plant in your garden.   Compare the photos of Hosta tokudama ‘Flavocircinalis’ above and below. That is why at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, I always encourage customers to look at the mature hostas in the display gardens before making their choices.

Immature plant of ‘Flavocircinalis’

Immature leaf of ‘Flavocircinalis’

Here is a taste of some of my favorite and best-selling larger hostas.  You can view well established specimens of these cultivars in my display gardens:

Hosta ‘June’ was the American Hosta Growers Association 2001 Hosta of the Year with good reason and is the most popular hosta with my customers.

The beautiful leaf coloration of ‘June’.

‘First Frost’ is the 2010 Hosta of the Year.

The leaves of ‘First Frost’ emerge with bright yellow leaf margins, which age to cream (in photo above) and set off its very blue center.

‘Great Expectaions’ is my second biggest selling hosta and has one of the most beautiful habits of any large hosta.

The elegant leaf coloration of ‘Great Expectations’.

‘Earth Angel’ is the 2009 Hosta of the Year and is as large and glorious as its parent ‘Blue Angel’ but with a cream margin.

‘Earth Angel’ is the first giant blue hosta with a contrasting border.  The leaves can reach 18″ x 12″ and a specimen can be 5′ wide.

Hosta tokudama is my favorite of all species hostas and ‘Aureonebulosa’ is my favorite cultivar of the many tokudama offspring.

The cupped and heavily puckered texture of  ‘Aureonebulosa’ is typical of the tokudama group.

‘Fragrant Bouquet’ is the 1998 Hosta of the Year and has fragrant flowers.

‘Fragrant Bouquet’s’ light green leaves really stand out in the shade, and it retains its yellow margins all season.

When I visit hosta collections and displays, some plants always stand out.  I look for these plants in the trade to add to my own gardens and offer to my customers.  Here are some of the cultivars I was able to add this year:

‘Touch of Class’ is a close relative of ‘June’ but with a wide blue border enclosing a central gold stripe.  It has an excellent habit and great slug resistance.

‘Liberty’ is the Hosta of the Year for 2012.  You can see both the yellow coloration of its new leaves and the wide cream margins of its older leaves in the photo above.  For a great shot of its coloration, see both the header and wordless Wednesday photo at Pat and Jim’s Gardening Adventure.

‘Paradigm’ is the 2007 Hosta of the Year.  For a much better photo of its leaves and habit, check out these photos of all the Hostas of the Year, by clicking here.  The American Hosta Growers Association has only picked 17 hostas to be Hosta of the Year out of an estimated 6,000 hosta cultivars in the trade so this accolade is quite a meaningful honor.

‘Fragrant Queen’ is a fragrant hosta boasting very substantial rounded leaves with wide white margins.

I have coveted ‘Brother Stefan’ every time I have seen it.  For a much better photo, showing its coloration, texture, and habit, click here.

Just a few ideas for using larger hostas in your garden:

Left to right: ‘Flavocircinalis’, the species H. tokudama, and ‘June’ massed in front of a Japanese holly.

Left to right: ‘Frances Williams’, ‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’, ‘Kabitan’, and ‘Earth Angel’.

‘Great Expectations’ displayed as a specimen with other hostas, ferns, epimediums, violets, and hardy geraniums.

A specimen ‘Fragrant Bouquet’ with yellow waxbells, hardy gernaium, and ‘Luxuriant’ bleeding-heart.

A simple but elegant container planting at Duke Gardens in Durham, North Carolina.

A rare Hosta tokudama by itself in a container on my front porch.

Colorful foliage is a fun and essential part of the shade garden.  I hope I have introduced you to some new and intriguing larger hostas that you can add to your shade.

Carolyn

For two more articles on hostas, click here:

Miniature (& Small) Hostas

Hostas for Fall

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information.  If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here

When I want information about hostas, I go to the Hosta Library and My Hosta Database to find photos and comprehensive written descriptions.  I have added both these sites to my sidebar under Plant Information so you will always be able to find them.

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