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Looking for low and wide with big leaves

Posted by amysrq 5 (My Page) on
Tue, May 12, 09 at 13:39

I am trying to cover a drainage swale at the edge of my lawn. I would like a hosta with large leaves that grows wide enough to overhang the swale but not get too tall. (I plan to put Siberian iris on the opposite side of the swale.) The nursery I buy from did not have any specific advice. They probably just don't know. I am optimistic that someone here will. Thanks!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Looking for low and wide with big leaves

i can not think of a single giant leafed plant.. that is squat ...

define how big you want the leaves...

and how tall you want the plants ...

there is one... a species.. that grows in the rock face of waterfalls.. but the name escapes me.. and i wonder if you could provide sufficient water ... it hangs down.. sags one might say ...


RE: Looking for low and wide with big leaves

Hey Ken, the one you're thinking of is hypoleuca . Quoting the Hosta Library, "According to Schmid it grows on sunny, south facing canyon walls clinging tenaciously to rock ledges."

As far as large hostas, some are definately more upright than others. However, I don't know of any that stay very low and get very wide. Maybe try Fat Cat . According to the HL, it gets 29" tall x 60" wide. (The Hostapedia says only 22" high x 52" wide.) It's a wonderful plant and I think it will take a lot of sun.

RE: Looking for low and wide with big leaves

I have one called Eventide,which hangs out wide and low. It is green with a white margin,and it might fit the bill. See pic... Phil

RE: Looking for low and wide with big leaves

amysrq- I think we are all just guessing at what you want. A diagram or more detail, like Ken suggested would be helpful. Planted along the side of swale or at top? Large leaf to cover more area - can be accomplished by a bit smaller leaf of a hosta that is more vigorous and thus has more eyes and leaves. Plant a taller hosta 6 or 12" down the slope of the swale will shorten the height.

To me it sounds like you've found a new location for Hosta, rather than something to cover - lol. Sunny side of a problem! Get some runoff and you have watering as well.

A couple of hosta thoughts that are good growers, 4 to 5 feet wide as matures, under 2 feet tall and readily available -

Gold Standard 22 x 60
Hosta 'Gold Standard'

Francee 21 x 50
Hosta 'Francee'

Fortunei Aureomarginata 23 x 52
Hosta 'Gold Crown'


RE: Looking for low and wide with big leaves

Okay, thanks for taking a shot in the dark, everyone. (Hey, that sounds like a new hosta variety, doesn't it?) Here is a photo of the area I am working with:


The small swale is to the right. It is for drainage and must be kept as it is. My thought was to put some hostas on the left of the swale and then start to plant some taller , maybe even grassy type plants, at the edge of the fence...iris, sea oats, verbena bonariensis, etc. up around the fence to soften the look a bit. Ideally, the hostas would remain roughly at the edge of the ditch but overhang it as much as possible.

At my last house (small townhouse) I had a hosta that formed a nice umbrella over my neighbors lovely black gutter extension. The plant was firmly on my property but did the job on his. It didn't get too tall (24" probably) and its growth pattern was more lateral....more like an umbrella. It was a deep, slightly blue-ish green with very large leaves. It might have been a sieboldiana elegans (I know those are readily available around here) but I am not certain.

It has been a long time since I have gardened in a temperate zone and I know I have a lot to re-learn. I used to buy hostas from a guy in NJ who had about 150 varieties. Around here (Western MA), we have the usual suspects in the garden centers. Not sure if there are any specialists.

So, is it all as clear as the mud in my drainage ditch now? :-) Thanks all!

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