I first wrote about Hosta in March last year. We had purchased some Hosta tubes on spec late in Spring 2010 and having shuffled them around the nursery they were finally flowering. Sadly we discovered that was far too late in their season and no-one was interested. By good planning or dumb luck the pots were left and the herbaceous plants died back over winter and came back looking fabulous in the Spring. This is clearly a foliage colour plant, the flowers were pretty but not striking and they don't develop until the plant is about to die back for the winter.
So flushed with the success of the 2011 Spring Hostas we went back to the tube stock supplier. Now that single sentence glosses over the extended and at times heated debate that took place before we made the decision to try Hosta again, the plants we had just sold had been in the nursery for nearly 12 months. That's a life time in our terms, we are used to growing and selling Cucumbers in 2-3 weeks. Anyway I checked with the tubie if plants potted in Spring would be saleable in the same season.... never believe tubies they all appear to tell you what they think you want to hear or perhaps like me they just don't know what happens with all their plants once they have left their nursery. Obviously the plants were purchased last Spring were not saleable in the Summer/Autumn season and they died back over winter but as you can see they are emerging stronger than ever this week and we will have them available for sale in only a week or two.
I'm very keen on Hosta. We have grown larger batches of Osteospermum and Argyranthemum this Spring and sold effectively every pot but I see so many of these in Garden Centres it worries me that the market is very crowded. Growing Hosta for 12 months is relatively easy except for the constant weeding that Shaun has had to do (because we are not brave enough to use a pre-emergent herbicide on pots with dormant plants that we want to emerge come Spring time). The 12 month crop time is a concern but they do appear to be a plant that we can call our own, if we can work out how to propagate our own cuttings we might just be on a winner.
We will have the following Hosta varieties this Spring: Thunderbolt, Sum & Substance, Blue Mouse Ears, Loyalist, Krossa Regale and June. Apart from Blue Mouse Ears and Sum & Substance (below) I have no idea what they look like, I'm sure we'll work that out soon enough.