Digital Access

Digital Access
Access daily-chronicle.com and all Shaw Media Illinois content from all your digital devices and receive breaking news and updates from around the area.

Home Delivery

Home Delivery
Local news, prep sports, Chicago sports, local and regional entertainment, business, home and lifestyle, food, classified and more!

Text Alerts

Text Alerts
Choose your news! Select the text alerts you want to receive: breaking news, prep sports scores, school closings, weather, and more.

Email Newsletters

Email Newsletters
We'll deliver news & updates to your inbox. Sign up for free e-newsletters today.
Lifestyle

How Does Your Garden Grow? Plant hostas for a dream landscape

Hostas can fulfill many different garden design goals.
Hostas can fulfill many different garden design goals.

Hostas? Do you already have many gardens – sun and shade – and want something unique and inviting to excite your outdoor living area? Do you have a few basic gardens but need one centerpiece to make a statement in your yard? Or are you just beginning to develop your dream landscape? Whatever you need or desire, hostas can fill that ambition.

Hostas are easy-to-grow, hardy perennials. They come in green, green and white, yellow and blue. Even red now has been added to the palette. The varied color scheme has given us many options of what hostas may be planted where.

Often growers ignore hostas because their landscape space has “too much sun.” We can now select hostas that will thrive in specific sun settings. This article will help you see how you can work within the guidelines of growing hostas with the sun as a positive.

We are fortunate to live in northern Illinois. Our climate allows for a variety of sun options that can benefit hostas. Beneficial sunlight may vary from two hours of direct morning sun to three or four hours of direct afternoon sun. Other hostas tolerate partial sun in spring and early summer, but deteriorate in or after July. Others will take you all the way into the fall with only minor browning.

Leaf texture and color matter with hostas. Sun-tolerant hostas tend to have thicker leaves. They also may have wonderful surfaces such as embossed, puckered or ruffled – appearing almost like quilting in the garden. Yellow and fragrant hostas desire some sun exposure. Blue hostas require the most protection from the sun to produce their blue tint.

Here is a list of sun tolerant hosta cultivars that have done well in my yard: Inniswood – gold, green edge; Key West yellow, plantaginea – fragrant, light green; Squash Casserole – gold; Honeybells – fragrant, medium green; Afterglow – gold; Guacamole – fragrant, chartreuse center, medium green edge; So Sweet – fragrant, medium green center, yellow to creamy white edge; Island Breeze – yellow center, dark green edge; and Francee – green center, white edge. These varieties should be available at local nurseries that specialize in hostas.

Now that you have hostas on your property or are in the planning stage, you may want to consider specific varieties for future development that will provide added interest. Here are a few suggestions: mini-hosta Church Mouse, blue hosta Blue Angel, yellow hosta Fire Island, fragrant hosta Moonlight Sonata, unique hosta Praying Hands and a few of my favorites – Wagon Wheel, Brother Stefan and Great Expectations.

Numerous stories have been told of people who have landscaped with multiple hosta varieties planted under giant shade trees. And then, you guessed it. The tree was destroyed by storms, disease, etc. There are times when you may find a hosta that is damaged or not doing well. Hostas are very forgiving. Just dig them up and replant them in a new location. Keep them watered, and they should do fine.

Welcome to the wonderful world of hostas. You now are started on a fantastic journey. Enjoy!

• The Master Gardener Help Desk is closed because of the coronavirus. Gardening questions can be emailed to uiemg-dekalb@illinois.edu.

Loading more