Hosta is the name given to a species of plants also known under the name plantain lilies or giboshi. They are some shade-tolerant foliage plants that are largely cultivated. Originally, they grew in northeast Asia, in countries such as Korea, Japan, China or the Russian Far East. Some taxonomists claim that there are 45 different Hosta species, but the number can differ. Today we are going to look at some valuable tips and ideas about landscaping with hostas.
There are a couple of simple rules you should keep in mind when deciding on landscaping with hostas. Though they aren’t that strict, it’s a useful start for those who are not so experienced in gardening.
1. Don’t Get Too Many Colored Hostas
One of the most common mistakes people do when including hostas in their garden or backyard is to combine different colors. Though in itself is not a bad idea, it can ruin the entire aspect of the garden if you don’t know how to mix them. Balance the design by using blue, green or other varieties with subtle shades. The best thing about these options is that you can use them anywhere.
2. Use Flowers
Maybe the best thing when designing a garden is working with colors. You have absolute freedom to combine, include or take out different shades to get to the result you want. A great thing you should remember about landscaping with hostas is the fact that they offer a huge variety of leaves.
From brilliant yellow to near-black green, sharp white or silvery blue, they’re a great solution for anybody who’s out of ideas. For this reason, they’re the perfect background for a lot of different types of flowers. For example, you can combine a gold hosta with yellow flowers or a blue one with pink and purple colors. But more about plants you can combine with hostas later.
3. Adapt the Hosta to the Location
If you have a large backyard or garden, it’s important to adapt the hosta to the location where you want it to grow. Here you have a couple of useful suggestions if you’re not sure what and where to plant:
- On slopes, next to a pond or a stream
For these areas, it’s ideal to choose a cascading form. This will draw your eye down the hill or the water. At the same time, you can go for hostas that have leaves with white undersides. Check out the following varieties:
- Green Fountain;
- Niagara Falls;
- Permanent Wave;
- Jade Cascade;
- Azure Snow;
- Near trees or posts
When landscaping with hostas near trees or posts, you should go for ones that have a vase shape. This will help you place an accent on the vertical elements found in your landscape. The upright form is great for making a smooth passage from the lower-growing plants to the tall structure. Choose from:
- Sun Power;
- Hosta nigrescens;
- Regal Splendor;
- Krossa Regal.
- Areas that are slug-prone
It can happen that you have in your backyard wet areas infested with slugs. However, you shouldn’t quit landscaping with hostas because of this. On the contrary, being thick-leaved makes them more resistant to the damage slugs may deal. Try one of the following:
- Sum and Substance;
- Hosta sieboldiana elegans;
- Blue Angel.
- Next to a path or a bench
Take advantage of an area that allows any guest to closely observe your plants and use appropriate varieties. Small ones are a great idea, and so are the fragrant-flowered ones. Check out the list below:
- So Sweet;
- Fragrant Blue;
- Hosta plantains;
- Fragrant Bouquet.
4. Complement the Hostas
Regardless of the varieties you prefer, it’s important not to overdo it. However, often they can clash with each other, or make up an interesting corner of your garden. If you plant two of them together, you should make sure one complements the other. For example, take advantage of a solid-colored one to mirror the color of a variegated one, such as a combination of gold in both plants or green and green-and-white-variegated plants.
5. Choose Companions Based on Textures
When landscaping with hostas, it’s important to play with fine textures. As we previously mentioned, they provide a dense background, which leaves room for fine-textured companion plants. The resulting interaction is quite interesting for any viewer. Among the companions you can choose under these circumstances there are:
At the same time, you should keep in mind the medium-textured plants. This help you pass smoothly from the fine-textured plants to the hostas. Feel free to choose from the following:
- Solomon’s Seals;
- Bigroot Cranesbills;
- Martagon Lilies.
Remember the two essential keywords when landscaping with hostas: balance and accent.
Landscaping with Hostas Design Ideas
Now that you know the basic notions you should follow when landscaping with hostas, we also bring you a couple of ideas for your backyard. Check out the suggestions below and see which ones would match your own plans for decorating your garden.
1. Line Walkways
This is a great idea for a backyard that has plenty of walkways. But even if you only have one, you can take advantage of it and line it with hostas. In this case, it’s a good idea to use a Lemon Lime variety. It’s a mini type that makes for a clean border. Moreover, the best thing about it is that it allows you to use other hosta varieties behind it. Use a taller one, such as the Pineapple Juice, to make it stand out.
2. Put them in Containers
Growing hostas in containers isn’t a bad idea. You can keep them in your backyard and take them in when it’s cold outside. However, since they are quite large in general, you will have to choose a miniature variety. Here you can mix any type of hosta you want. The more, the better. The result will be an interesting mosaic of different colors, leaf shapes, and shades. One suggestion is the Alakazaam variety, with tapered and ruffled leaves. It has green centers and yellow margins, while the flowers have a lavender color.
You can also combine this variety with the Gemstone cultivar. The latter can grow to 10 inches high and presents wavy, rippled blue leaves. Moreover, it has lavender flowers placed on stems that reach 22 inches in height.
3. Go for a Silver-Blue Combination
Long way back, people struggled to find a blue hosta variety that would last in the summer. Luckily, now you can find the Silver Bay one. It presents silvery-blue leaves that stay like that all the season. There’s also another option, the Blue Mouse Ears, which lets you play with some blue-gray leaves. Combine these two with silver or purple flowers for a great effect.
4. Repeat the Varieties
Repeating the same colors and patterns can draw the eye to a certain area if you’re doing it correctly. Don’t limit yourself to planting hostas only in a certain place or just in a row. Play with the seeds and mix them around. If you’re feeling lucky, you can throw in a bunch of seeds randomly. However, you risk obtaining a ugly final design. Ideally, you should repeat similar variegations in the same planting bed. Don’t forget to let the plants stand on their own by playing with contrast. Choose different sizes, leaf shapes, or sheens.
5. Divide the Lawn
Just like the borders you can create next to walkways, you can also use hostas to divide your lawn. Whether you want to create separate areas for children or adults, plant different types of turf or simply play with the geometry, hostas are the plants you need.
6. Plant Them Strategically
A good idea is to plan the hostas depending on their blooming season. For example, you can have early spring bulbs (like anemones or daffodils) planted next to a border. When they die out, the hostas will spread their leaves and cover up the spent foliage of the former. It’s great if you love landscaping with hydrangeas as well since they are perfect companions.
7. Elegant Designs
One thing we know for sure is that hostas are great for creating elegant designs. The idea here is to choose elegant colors, not only for them but for the companion plants as well. Go for a luscious look of the leaves and a dark green shade. Complete the aspect with some deep purple flowers, for example. The choice of colors depends entirely on you, but make sure you consider the rest of the design as well.
Landscaping with hostas isn’t as hard as it may seem. Given that they have a lush green foliage, they make up the perfect background for plants with big or colorful flowers. Moreover, they are perfect for lining walkways and other paths in your backyard. Remember to be careful with the crazy color combinations, otherwise, the result won’t be the one you expect.
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