The Hosta grower generally knows about Divisions, Clumps, and Rounds. Many ignore the other two stages that occur in the natural cycle of hosta. The Fairy Ring, and the Re-Rounding stages. Very few growers let their hosta pass through the later two stages generally because of space, and the appearance of how the plants look.
To understand these to stages one must understand how hosta grow. Hosta grow circularly. From the center out; or even from a single point and towards favored lighting condition In our landscaping understanding we let hostas 'mature' or become their biggest and 'best' but then gardeners divide them - forcefully. Hosta can divide themselves if they are left alone!
The growth stage after maturity is known as Fairy Ring. In archaic, times past it was believed that enchanted beings (including fairies) lived and guarded the areas of those empty, circular clearings. Ferns, mushrooms, and some grass' create rings which all were believed to have fairies near by. The phenomenon was known from Ancient Europe to Asia, and in to Africa. Hosta no doubt can call for fairies when they become rings. Most fairies were highly defensive but on rare occasions the presence of a Fairly Ring produced can bring good outcomes.
But after a year or two the Fairy Ring appears it can break, and as it brakes it redevelops into new individual rounds again and the cycle continues again and again - if they are left alone. Hosta also can also go from Maturity to rounding without going into Fairy Ring stage. The hosta in my garden that reached or past this stage are:
- Lemon Lime (collapsed 2014; manually moved 2014)
- 'venusta' (separated 2014, re-rounded 2015)
- T-Rex (Collapsed 2014)
As a general rule most hosta mature every 7 to 8 years. So this will happen more and more often as a gardener has more and more successes. The gardener must not panic and think something traumatic is occurring when they are observing normal conditions and growth. We from time to time read about 'venusta' growing to 3 feet in diameter and wonder how this is achieved this gardener suspects that what is happening is hat the owner of the plant is permitting the plant to grow naturally .. and adding a bit of fertilizer along the way.
X-Axis The length of the leaf - base to tip
Y-Axis The width of the leaf - left / right
Z-Axis The depth of the leaf - front to back
This gardener recognizes 10 hosta sizes from 6 inches in diameter over to 1 foot intervals there after up to 9 feet. At this time I am unaware of a 10 foot diameter Hosta. Note: I normally would offer metric equivalents but since were looking at my system of classification this is omitted.
Part 1: The Characteristics From My Own Hosta.
- Flat Surfaced Leaf
- Corrugated Surfaced Leaf
- Smooth Edged Leaf (z-axis)
- Wavy Edged Leaf even (z-axis)
- Wavy Edged Leaf uneven (z-axis)
- Pie Crust Leaf (z-axis)
- Smooth Edge Leaf (y-axis)
- Grass Like Leaves
- Lance Like Leaves
- Spear Like Leaves
- Oval Like Leave
- Round Leaves
- Serrated Edge Leaf (y-axis)
- Leaf Swings Left or Right (y-axis)
- Solid Coloration
- Example of White
- Example of Yellow
- Example of Chartreuse
- Example of Light Green
- Example of Green
- Example of Green Black
- Example of Blue
- Two Color Coloration (outside to center)
- White / Green
- White / Green Black
- Yellow / Green
- Medium Green / Light Green
- Green / White
- Green / Yellow
- Three Color Coloration (outside to center)
- Green / Yellow / White
- White Backed Leaf
- Petiole Green
- Petiole Red
- Scape Green
- Scape Black
- Scape Over 3 feet tall
- Seasonal Color Transition: White to Green
- Color Feathering: Smooth Transition
- Color Feathering: Near Pattern
- Hosta Pair that have reversed coloring to each other
- Purple Flower
- White Flower
- Red Seed Pod
- Potential Diameter:
- 6 inches
- 1 foot
- 2 Feet
- 3 Feet
- 4 Feet
- 5 Feet
- 6 Feet
- 8 Feet
- 9 Feet
- Tallest known Hosta
- Smallest in diameter On Retail Market (suspected)
- Hosta that changes due to Maturity
- Reputation of being highly Rhizomatous
- Growth Rate:
- Known Hybrid Offspring of another in this garden
- Known Sport Offspring of another in this garden
- Post Millennium Asian Discovered (these identified by Asian Names)
The reader must remember that my hosta collection only has 34 varieties in it! The reader might believe that it is an exhaustive list of hosta characteristics … it is NOT. To put this into perspective; a characteristic is a viewable feature of the plant that is controlled by the DNA of the plant itself. IF I thought hard enough I might be able to list another 100 characteristics found in hosta. Readers are encouraged to submit other characteristics that I have missed so that maybe that exhaustive list can be formulated for reference. What follows is the beginning of those +100 characteristics that are NOT in my garden - yet.
- Iridescent Leaf Edge
- Red Hosta Leaves [non-existent to date; soon to be coming]
- Red Mid-Rib Vein
- Bronze Hosta Leaves
- Blue Flower [announced but not on market; soon to be coming]
- Red Flower [non-existent to date; soon to be coming]
- Largest Known Leaves
- Multiple Season Bloom
- Forked Scape
- Striped Leafed (Warning: many of these are infected plants; chose with extreme care)
- Specked Leafed (Warning: some of these are infected plants; chose with extreme care)
- Spiraled Leaf (x-axis)
- Folded Leaf (y-axis)
- Curled Leaf (x-axis)
- Searsuckered (concaved)
- Searsuckered (convexed)
- Leaf Thickness
- Random Feathering (Warning: Some of these are infected plants; chose with extreme care)
- Ruffled Edge
- Flower has more than 6 petals
- Grass Resistant
- Afternoon Blooming (As far as I know there's only one!)
- Emerges White
- Two colors extend from leaf to the crown.
- White Backed
So we have this list of hosta characteristics. How do they relate back to the available list of 9 hosta options in the posted question? Well let's go thought them one by one.
- Corkscrew: This hosta has leaves that spiral on the X-axis. On rare occasions one might see leaf that spirals 360º!
- Embroidery: This hosta has a deeply ruffled edges and a smooth centered leaf. At one time it commanded prices over $1500.
- Empress Wu: The Empress has the reputation for being both the tallest Hosta and the Hosta with the largest leaves. Reports suggest leaves can reach 28 inches long by 23 inches wide; with a height of 4 feet 6 inches.
- Lemon Lime (In My Collection)
- This is a small hosta with lightly wavy leaves.
- Liberty: This medium hosta has highly distinctive leaves that have a very wide white or cream edge and a dark green center.
- Masquerade (In My Collection)
- This smaller hosta that has lance like leaves that are green and white, with a light wave to them
- Sum and Substance (In My Collection)
- A classic chartreuse colored hosta that has fairly large leaves. Reports say that it can have a diameter of 9 feet; making this one of the largest in diameter.
- The Razor’s Edge (In My Collection)
- This hosta is probably becoming the standard for red petiole. It may even set the standard for what red is in hosta leaves down the road.
- Zebra Stripes: This plant emerges with green veins in the spring and then slowly changed over to solid green as the summer progresses.
Now that you have a thumbnail description of the hosta, which three would you add to your garden? Go ahead tell the world! In July I'll tell what I chose to add in my garden!
[Notes to this edition ended here]