Thursday, March 24, 2011
Mad as it sounds I had to look Hostas up to find out anything about them. The name has been there, probably since childhood but I've never grown them or taken any interest. However amongst the assorted stuff I've been trying this year is Hosta undulata and we have some ready to sell.
We had them growing under light shade at first but found they preferred a darker position, so there's tip one. The first book I checked recommended well drained soil but Stirling Macoboy (always a great fallback) recommends "shady, moist positions" which fits better with my limited knowledge. I imagine them growing in moist shady gullies and planting around swimming pools seams to be popular. Hostas originated in Japan and China and are great for a tropical look. They will die down over winter and bounce back afresh in spring. The curvaceous, undulating leaves provide great colour over a long period and they are apparently very tasty to slugs.
Hosta undulata "Erromena"
We have small batches of H. undulata which has the very distinctive cream streaked foliage and H undulata "Erromena" which has the more solid green colouring. Both these plants have relatively insignificant mauve flowers on tall, slender stems through summer.
I went to check our Hostas prior to starting this Newsletter and had a very pleasant surprise. In our shady igloo under the gum tree we shuffled last year's complete failure, Kalanchoe Queen. By chance we purchased plugs around March last year but they were a disaster. The young plants just refused to develop any roots and very promptly started budding. The winter/spring flowers were stunning but the plants just weren't good enough to support them. Well surprise, surprise they are now luxurious and glossy and waiting to set a new set of buds. OK an 18 month crop in 125mm pots can never pay for itself, but my faith in our ability to grow has been renewed, just have to work out the proper timing now.