Growth Habits
My H. ventricosa 'Aureomaculata' turned all green -- what's wrong with it?
Some of your hosta are in full afternoon sun -- why don't they "melt away"?

My H. ventricosa 'Aureomaculata' turned all green--what's wrong ?

Many hostas are chameleon-like in their behavior. The plant world has given this behavior, often referred to as color instability, a variety of names depending upon the nature of the change. H. ventricosa `Aureomaculata' is an example of "viridescence"; emerging with a yellow center which turns progressively greener as it gets closer to summer. Viridescence also applies to a white leaf color turning green. "Lutescence" refers to a condition where the plant starts out green and turns to a shade of yellow as time passes. "Albescence" refers to a plant that has yellow areas that turn white. Interestingly, another member of the H. ventricosa family, H. ventricosa `Aureomarginata', has an edge that is albescent. Albescence is not the same as "sun-bleaching" of a leaf.

Many people also become concerned when they have a blue hosta that turns green. This "condition" is most often due to the loss of the pruinose epidermal wax that gives the leaf the bluish appearance. Most often, this occurs as the result of the foliar application (spraying) of pesticides or other chemicals. Some have indicated this has occurred to their leaves from overhead watering or heavy rains. However, many who advocate foliar feeding indicate that they have not experienced this effect. (See also W. George Schmid's The Genus Hosta, Chapter 2)


Some of your hosta are in full afternoon sun--why don't they "melt-away' ?

As discussed above, hosta are shade tolerant and many, like H. plantaginea, have been known to do well in 3/4 to full day sun. Although not foolproof, a general rule of thumb that can be used is "the greener the leaf, the less sun necessary for the plant to grow well." The corollary to this "rule" also seems to work well for many hosta growers; "the more yellow and white in a leaf, the more sun necessary for sufficient photosynthesis to allow the plant to thrive." In addition, some hosta growers have discovered that additional moisture will help a hosta survive in higher light levels!


Why do the pictures from the National Hosta Convention in Columbus
show hosta that are so much larger than seen in my local area ?

Even the "experts" that attended the convention in Columbus were astonished at the size of the clumps and of individual leaves. First, many of the clumps have been left untouched (not divided) for as long as 12 years. Further, as is readily apparent from some of the other material discussed herein, light, soil culture, and fertilizer are purported to be nearly ideal in the gardens visited.


Why is my H. 'Tokudama Aureonebulas' growing so much
more slowly than H.'Gold Drop' (and it cost so much more) ?

Certain hostas, by nature, maintain a very slow growth habit. The H. tokudama family is renowned for its slow growth habit, but, largely as a result of the substance and appearance of the foliage, members of the H. tokudama family remain high on the popularity poll and often are used for breeding purposes to obtain the substance quality. Regarding cost, the slow growth habit has kept supply well below demand and, therefore, the price remains proportionately higher than might otherwise be the case if a more robust growth habit existed.


What makes a hosta sprout and immediately send up a flower scape,
flower and all? Yep, I have two ready to open... and it's a late Spring!

This is a common phenomenon. It's caused by hostas that seem to get so far along in their growth cycle and the come to a screeching halt when cold weather sets in. Their flower buds/scapes were already formed when they went to bed last fall. The plant had already finished growing all the leaves it was going to for the season. Then, when it restarts in the spring it pops up with just this voodoo lily-like scape and no leaves. It's probably best to just pick this out and let the plant send up some of the lateral side buds. This most frequently happens to young, recently divided, or small tissue cultured plants.


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