Combining Hostas

MsKitty31(4)September 11, 2012

I am thinking of putting related(?) hostas together namely June, Halcyon, and English Sunrise. I wanted to plant them in a triangle shape with possibly some Brunnera or Coral Bells in the middle of each triangle that are similar in height to the hosta. Just wondering if anyone has planted this combination or has planted something similar but maybe with different hostas? I have seen some video clips and read some articles where gardners talk about combining different textured hostas which these are not.

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irawon(5a Ottawa)

I have planted Halcyon and June together and they complement each other nicely. I have had these hostas a long time; they are mature plants and crowding each other at the present time. They are the same height. I have an immature English Sunrise in another hosta bed; the yellow would pick up the yellow in June. I would try to create some variety in height in your arrangement. If I'm correct some cultivars of Brunnera and Heuchera/coral bells are shorter than the hostas. Good luck.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 11:42AM
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Well MsKitty, glad you asked, as a matter of fact, I'm waiting on a shipment from Hallson Gardens that shipped yesterday, and I ordered a Fragrant Bouguet, a Fried Bananas, a Cathedral Windows and an Avocado. Why? Well, I'm going to plant them in a group with my Guacamole, my Invincible and my Stained Glass, and have a nice, big group of Fragrant Hostas! They all are great-looking Hostas (in my opinion) and they're all related, and come next Summer, it's gonna smell awesome in my backyard!! I just wish I had one of those tetraploid 'Aphrodite' plantaginea Hostas. Or a 'Doubled-Up'... Oh, then I'll need an Emerald Charger, The Shining, a Holy Mole, a Fried Green Tomatoes, a Grape Fizz, a Diana Remembered......Oh boy...I'm hooked....Hey, maybe my Hallson's bonus Hosta will be a fragrant one, too....!

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 11:52AM
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I am a hosta newbie but I have been looking at them a lot lately and I think I am going to become a hostaholic! I have a Guacamole and I LOVE the smell. I was working in the garden this morning and could smell it. :-)

In general, how long does it take a hosta to mature? I am assuming mature means the largest it will get as well as other factors? I like my plants to be close with not a lot of the mulch peeking through but far enough apart for the plant to remain healthy.

Irawon, do you remember how close you planted your June and Halcyon originally?

Thanks :-)

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 1:47PM
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Don't ya just love the sounds of a hostaholic in the making. . . sweet music. . lol

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 5:23PM
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Don, I get the picture! And, what you've ordered from Hallsons I already have, and I can say with a lot of certainty, YOU WILL BE PLEASED.

Heck, I've moved a lawn chair back in the "Fragrant Corner" so I can sit and watch the bees and HUMMINGBIRDS line up and fly all around the place.

My hosta are in containers, so I can move them as I wish...or as I am ABLE....and right now I have the ones you named in more sun than I've had all year. My thinking is, they will be growing roots at this time of year before they go dormant, and I want them to be out of the ground next spring like race horses. (If you wish to see my hosta pictures, I have beaucoup albums at Flickr under the MoccasinLanding screen name.)

This was my first full year as a hostaholic. Some of my hosta have not been here the whole year, but I'm happy with what I see. You will have a deliriously happy year from the beginning with those you are getting from Hallson. Stellar performers.

And if you really want to get Aphrodite, and Hallson is out, try which have a lot of fragrant hosta. Aphrodite will do you proud. While you're at Wades looking around, might as well get another similar one, H.plantaginea 'Japonica' which I got a couple of weeks ago....with a few more fragrant varieties. :)

I give you a link to Don Rawson's list of fragrant-flowered hosta.
For your wintertime (or is that halftime) entertainment.

Also, back on the thread topic, I keep my containers of related hosta together. I think even in the ground that this sort of arrangement helps me recognize the plants. I also like to put the ones with similar leaf patterns together, sorting the sizes so I can see every pretty face. Sort of reminds me of my glee club, with all the altos in one area and all the bass in another.

Here is a link that might be useful: Fragrant-flowered hosta...Don Rawson's List

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 10:17PM
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ConnieMay(6a - Canada)

Hi MsKitty,

I like the look of related Hosta's together - the foliage and leaf colours usually match and make the garden feel unified. You do need to consider heights though. Here is Halcyon, June & Touch of Class. Notice how they are all around the same height? In front is Heuchera Silver Scrolls (it has very nice flowers btw) and 2 small Hostas (Blue Mouse Ears & Gold Drop - well it was sold to me as Gold Drop anyway).

Give your idea a try. If you decide you don't like the look of your triangles you can move the plants to other spots in your garden.

Make sure to post the pictures.


    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 10:19PM
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I like the combination you have with those hostas and coral bells. To me, the height of the coral bell flowers adds a nice touch. Do you cut them down after they are done flowering? I am also thinking of adding pulmonaria in the mix. I am planting some taller astilbes for height.

I absolutely LOVE the little hosta especially Blue Mouse Ears! Thank you very much for posting the picture.

I'm wondering if I plant my groups of hostas back a bit from the border of my garden I can plant something along the entire edge in front of them that is short enough to not interfere with seeing them - sort of like you have done with the small hostas? The only thing is I am covering a lot of area with these hostas and I will have to purchase a lot of whatever I put in front of them. It would be nice to purchase some small hosta and place them in the front of my bigger hosta alternating with some other short groundcover that likes only a bit of sun.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 10:57PM
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ConnieMay(6a - Canada)

Hi Ms Kitty,

Removing the spent blooms on Heuchera Silver Scrolls makes them continue blooming. I purchased this one for the foliage and the flowers are a nice bonus. See closeup of the flowers below.

Since you seem to appreciate the flowers on the Heuchera, you might also consider Heuchera Rave On which is also a very long bloomer and a shorter Heuchera. See below.

If you think that you might become more of a collector, I recommend trying to find a variety of hostas that go together well vs. putting a hosta hedge of all the same variety in front. I've done the hedge, and although it looks good, I am now wishing I hadn't done that...

In addition to the small hostas mentioned previously, I highly recommend Maui Buttercups to put in the front if you don't already have it. It's the gold one in the pic below. BTW the pic below shows another family grouping - Maui Buttercups, Rainforest Sunrise & Tropical Storm.

How much space do you have?

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 8:27PM
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irawon(5a Ottawa)

Ms Kitty, I planted my Halcyon and June too close together when I first got interested in hostas. Halcyon is very slow growing and June got much bigger than I expected. I will have to do something about that next spring. Just allow enough room for their mature size or be prepared to divide or shovel prune your hostas.

I love Connie May's Halcyon/June/ Touch of Class combination. She's steering you in the right direction by suggesting smaller hostas and heucheras as fillers while the other larger hostas mature. Ferns and hakonechloa grasses ('Aureola' and 'All Gold') are also lovely additions to the hosta garden. Notice the fern in Connie May's second hosta arragement.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 9:45PM
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ConnieMay, I love all the bed ideas and hosta, especially the dark green and cream hosta in the right rear. The gnarly tree at the back is really cool!
Such pretty heuchs, too ;-)


    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 9:56PM
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irawon(5a Ottawa)

To answer your question about how long it takes a hosta to reach maturity it depends on the hosta and its growing conditions (your "other factors"). 'Wolverine' is a fast growing hosta for me whereas 'Remember Me' is reputed to be a slow grower.

The other factors you mentioned: The more sun a hosta gets (without burning) and the more it is watered, generally the faster it will grow. The amount of water a hosta requires is determined by the amount of sun it gets and whether it is competing with other roots for nutrients.

To repeat a longstanding saying in hosta forums:" In its first year a hosta sleeps, in the second year it creeps and in its third year it leaps." Depending on the mature size of the hosta, it can take anywhere from 5 to 8 years for a hosta to gain maturity.

I have found that if you have problems with your hostas or require advice, the GardenWeb members are very helpful. Members who have been helped before as I have been, try "to pay it (the help) forward".

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 10:25PM
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Love the pictures!
Connie, have you had any trouble with the hosta growing under your Harry Lauder Walking Stick?

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 7:15AM
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I thought that was a Walking Stick...looks like something from Alice In Wonderland...crazy neat.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 8:09PM
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Connie, I believe I have close to a 30 foot border that is about 4-5 foot deep. I am planning on doing 4 triangle groups with the three hostas - june, halcyon, and english sunrise - in the triangle group. In the middle of each triangle group I am thinking of alternating pulmonaria, jack frost brunnera, and/or coral bells(for a bit of a pop in color). I am also going to be planting some a grouping of Japanese Painted Fern in this same area with some Wide Brim Hosta and some Brunnera and Coral Bells. I also have a couple of Bressingham and Elegans Hosta that I may throw in the general area somewhere. And I have some taller astilbe that will go behind the hostas. I think that after I get what I've mentioned all planted I will see what space I have left to plant additional things, around the hosta triangles, that are a bit taller than the hosta. I am still thinking about setting the plantings of hosta triangles back a bit from the garden border so that I can plant a short ground cover and/or smaller hostas in front.

How old are the June, Halcyon, and Touch of Class Hostas you posted in your first picture? I am just curious as to how big they were when you first planted them and how long it has taken them to get to the size they are now.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 10:12PM
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ConnieMay(6a - Canada)

Ms Kitty,
I recommend buying the largest hostas you can find. If you buy in the late fall you can usually buy huge plants for the same price you would normally spend on a small plant during the summer. Most garden centers have 1 yr guarantees - so don't be too afraid of losing them because of planting too late in the season.

Left undisturbed, I would estimate that the Halcyon family members each will eventually be 2 or 3 feet wide (maybe more)...if they are happy. Hopefully some members with old plants will chime in and let us know how big their plants are.

My garden is young buy I tried to buy mature plants when possible.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 11:07PM
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ConnieMay(6a - Canada)

I love the walking stick. Unfortunately it has a fungal disease (this is common) and is not likely going to make it. This year it had a lot of leaf buds just die. We like the way the branches look - even when they don't have leaves on them - so I don't think we will remove it. I don't have any problem with the hostas planted in the same bed.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 11:18PM
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You said you are thinking about becoming a hostaholic. Be careful,mskitty,your garden may look like this some day! Phil

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 9:21AM
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Phil, that garden is fantastic! The light greenish/goldish Hosta; what is that? It's not a Mr. Watson, is it?

Don B.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 12:27PM
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hosta_freak(z6 NC)

If you're talking about the one in the lower left hand corner,that is Rich Uncle,a hosta that my wife actually picked out for me. A good grower,and gets nicer every year. The others in the pic are,Two Stripteases,and at the upper left is a Kiwi Full Monty,and the big leafed one at the right corner is Clifford's Forest Fire. Thanks for looking! Phil

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 12:35PM
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Don, I got Rich Uncle earlier this summer, and here is what a new one looks like.

I'm sold on the way it looks now, and look forward to it coming up next year. Unidentified in the lower left corner is a piece of Gold Standard, another favorite gold too.

And here it is beside a pot containing 2 each of Midas Touch and August Moon, more yellow golds.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 4:44PM
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Great thread. One thing I like about hosta is that its hard to get a bad combination. A bed featuring contrasting hosta is as interesting as one containing similar hosta. I have a combination featuring June as well: June, High Society and May.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 12:54PM
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