1. Hostas are shade plants-this is probably the biggest myth there is. I get so sick of people telling other people that Hostas can not tolerate any sun. Hostas are the opposite, meaning they are shade tolerant which means they tolerate lower levels of light. In Asia, where they are from, they grow in the sun. Now, those of you in the southern part of it's range, it is best to give them shade because the sun is stronger down there (it's all about latitude). But those of us up here in the north, well, we can grow some of them in the sun as long as we supply adequate moisture. The more sun and water they get the bigger they get. Also, some of the yellow and variegated cultivars will color up better with some sun and the solid green ones are pretty sun tolerant. The only ones I would avoid planting in the sun are the blue ones-they won't hold their color well (they will lose their waxy coating and look green). Here are a couple pics of some I have growing in some sun:
|Hostas "Brother Stefan" and "Elvis Lives" growing in the sun with Lamb's Ear|
|Hosta "August Moon" can take quite a bit of sun|
|Hosta "Honeybells", like most fragrant Hosta, can take the sun|
2. Hostas are hard to kill. Another myth. While it might be almost impossible to kill the "old fashioned" Hostas it is possible to kill a plant you paid good money for. Some Hosta growers have also said that certain hostas like "Great Expectations" are very difficult. If you google difficult Hostas you will see some chatter on the internet on the subject. I haven't come across any that seemed difficult to me but I have lost Hosta "Sum of All" this past winter to vole damage. They ate the entire crown. Voles and rabbits are usually what take mine out, but I have lost a few to other issues related to the retailer I purchased them from, hence number 5 on my list.
|"Old Fashioned" Hostas are hard to kill|
3. Hostas should be divided. This is soooo untrue! Sure, Hostas can be divided-but they don't need to be-at least not for many years. Why is it that some people never let their Hostas reach their size potential? I love big Hostas-I think that is when they look their best. Most of the time heavy corrugation or huge leaves won't show up in a Hosta until it gets some age. I didn't buy "Sum and Substance" or "Sagae" because I want a small Hosta with little leaves. I bought them because they get huge with gorgeous leaves! If you want a bunch of small Hostas then buy small Hostas-there are many out there. Don't buy An "Empress Wu" and then never let it get to the size that it should be. That is just silly!
|Hosta "Sum and Substance" is young but already 3.5' wide|
|Hosta "Christmas Tree" is 4.5' wide|
4. Damage to Hosta plants is caused mostly from slugs. This one drives me nuts! All over the internet people show pictures of an issue with their Hosta and everyone always tells them it is slugs and to put eggshells down. Slugs are not the only cause for holes or damage to Hosta plants. There are sooo many reasons a Hosta can look terrible or have holes. A few of these reasons are: falling objects, hail, cold damage, stepping on, cutworms, animals eating them, and anthracnose. My biggest problem is with cutworms and I did a post last year on them-here it is: http://sproutsandstuff.blogspot.com/2014/06/holes-in-hosta-leaves-it-might-not-be.html. Here are some examples of some damage I have on my Hostas and what caused it:
|Slug damage on Hosta|
|Cutworm damage on Hosta|
|Hosta damage from being stepped on in early Spring|
|Damage on a Hosta from falling debris|
|Rabbit damage on Hosta|
5. It doesn't matter where you buy your Hosta plants. Another falsehood. I no longer buy my Hostas from a source that has no clue about the plant or who doesn't guarantee disease free stock. Your big box stores and some nurseries are clueless to any diseases or issues associated with Hostas and because of that they are spreading the problem. Heck, they have diseased stock sitting there on the salesfloor just waiting for an unwitting customer to buy up their infected plants. Ignorance is on their side. Personally, I opt to buy disease free stock from the most reputable sources. And guess what-they are not more expensive and they have better selections. You would not believe the varieties you can buy-not just the same old Hosta. Here are just a few of the issues that you might find with your Hosta if you buy from a unreliable source: HVX, Nematodes, Athracnose, Crown Rot (also called Petiole Rot), and Bacterial Soft Rot. My favorite Hosta retailers are: http://www.perennialnursery.com/ http://www.inthecountrygardenandgifts.com/ http://landofthegiantshostafarm.com/ http://www.plantdelights.com/Hosta-for-sale/Plantain-Lily/Buy-Hostas/Hosta-Plants/Hosta-Nursery/?results_per_page=1000
6. HVX is not a problem. Yes it is! One of the biggest problems with HVX is denial. I once saw a very reputable blogger's post on shade plants and what did she show a picture of? An HVX infected "Gold Standard" Hosta. Of course, she has since removed the photo (I think), but still did she not notice something wrong? It had classic ink bleed throughout the entire plant. I hope she didn't think she had something interesting there. If your Hosta is looking unhealthy, has ink bleed or tissue collapse you should have it tested for the disease. For more information on this issue see the Hosta Library: http://www.hostalibrary.org/firstlook/HVX.htm
I hope I have given you some information on Hostas that you can use and refuted those pesky myths that seems to surround these beautiful plants. If you have any question or comments feel free to leave them below.
Happy Gardening! Rhonda