Thriving Hostas for Southern Louisiana Landscapes

Yan Chen, Bracy, Regina P., Owings, Allen D.  |  4/17/2013 9:07:08 PM

Iron Gate Delight is one of the 10 hosta varieties recommended for southern Louiaiana based on a four-year landscape evaluation.

Blue Angle hosta having brown leaf edges as a sign of heat stress.

Pineapple Upsidedown Cake is an example of hostas that do not return well from winter dormancy and died out over two to three years.

A hosta trial has been conducted at the LSU AgCenter Hammond Research Station to select hostas adaptive to the climate in southern Louisiana. We evaluated landscape performance and overwinter success of most hostas having H. plantaginea ancestry, which are more heat-tolerant and require less chilling hours, and also selections from H. sieboldians (blue foliage) cultivars that are locally grown and top varieties from the American Hosta Society popularity poll. Two raised beds were established in 2009 with 35 cultivars planted, and more were added over the years for a total of 61 varieties (Table 1). Five plants of each cultivar were planted as a group. The majority of varieties were bare-root divisions at planting. The beds were fertilized every year with Osmocote 14-14-14 (3-4 mo.) at 1 lb N/1,000 ft2 in April, and chicken manure (4-2-1) at 1 lb N/1,000 ft2 in June. Irrigation was provided with overhead micro sprinklers.

Plants were evaluated for overwinter return (survival %) each spring, and growth (size) and quality (visual rating) each summer. Emergence date, color differences between young and mature leaves, flower scape height, flower color and environmental stress symptoms, i.e. leaf burn and chlorosis, were noted.

Top 10 cultivars selected from this trial include: Iron Gate Delight, Fragrant Bouquet, Guacamole, Stained Glass, Krossa Regal, So Sweet, August Moon, Royal Standard, Albo Marginata and Francee. All of these cultivars established easily and returned reliably every spring for three years. Use these dependable and versatile hostas in your garden with the peace of mind that they will provides color, contrast and texture to the landscape with little care.

1. Iron Gate Delight: one of its parents is H. plantaginea. Introduced in 1981 and has 5-inch-long oval leaves with a very dramatic border that emerges gold and then changes over to cream, this is an improved So Sweet and a vigorous grower that matures into a 3-foot-wide clump, further enhanced with extremely fragrant lavender flowers on 2-foot scapes in midsummer.

2. Fragrant Bouquet: H. plantaginea. Vigorous grower. The wavy, heart-shaped leaves are apple-green variegated with a creamy margin. Large, fragrant, funnel-shaped, near white 3-inch-long flowers appear in summer on scapes rising above the foliage mound. 4 feet wide x 2 feet tall.

3. Guacamole: Reverse variegated sport of Fragrant Bouquet. Leaves are 11 inches long x 8 inches wide, very shiny with chartreuse-gold center and a wide dark green margin. Forms large, dense clumps. In late summer, 3-foot-tall flower stalks emerge, bearing fragrant, large, white blooms. The plant will flourish with some direct sun and is one of the last to go dormant.. Great size and gorgeous contrasting colors with fragrant flowers in August. 4 feet wide x 2 feet tall.

4. Stained Glass: A sport of Guacamole. Heart-shaped, gold-centered leaves with puckered texture. Midsummer blooms are sweetly fragrant. A slower grower, 3 feet wide x 20 inches tall.

5. Krossa Regal: The heavy, leathery, blue-green leaves are slug resistant. It is the most planted large blue hosta. It has continually ranked near the top in U.S. popularity for many years. 6 feet wide x 36 inches tall.

6. So Sweet: Small and upright. Features a vase-shaped clump of flat, glossy, lance-shaped, medium-green leaves with white margins. Racemes of funnel-shaped, fragrant, white flowers show up in midsummer on 14-inch scapes. 2 feet wide x 8 inches tall.

7. August Moon: Heart-shaped, cupped, puckered, pale green leaves provide interesting color and attractive texture. Large and vigorous mounding hosta. Bell-shaped, grayish white flowers are borne on 28-inch-long scapes from mid-July through early August. Can take more direct sun than green leaf hosta. 3 feet to 4 feet wide x 1 ½ feet to 2 feet tall.

8. Royal Standard: A cross between H. plantaginea and H. sieboldiana, patented in 1986. A large hosta that grows into a mound of 5 feet wide x 26 inches tall. Narrow, oval, bright medium green leaves (9 inches by 5 inches) with a satiny sheen and faint marginal undulations, distinctive veining, acute tips and cordate lobes. Highly fragrant, funnel-shaped, white flowers bloom in late summer to fall on leafy, pale green scapes rising well above the foliage mound to more than 3 feet tall. It’s one of the earliest to emerge.

9. Albo-marginata: H. undulata. Bold, large, shield-shaped leaves with a deep green center and creamy-white margins turn white with age. Funnel-shaped mauve flowers borne on leafy scapes 32 inches long appear in midsummer. Plants are medium size, 2 feet wide x 20 inches tall.

10. Francee: The dark green, heart-shaped leaves have a clean white margin. The funnel-shaped flowers are lavender and the scapes are 36 inches tall. This plant makes a choice white-edged hosta for every garden. 51 inches wide x 21 inches tall.

Cultivars that were able to establish and return from winter but grow fairly slow under our summer conditions include Christmas Tree, Eternal Flames, Gold Standard, Hoosier Harmony, June, June Fever, Night Before Christmas, Patriot, and Sum and Substance. They will need additional one or two years to reach the variety-specific mature sizes.

Cultivars exhibiting heat stress (leaf edge turns yellow or brown during summer) include Captain Kirk, Cherish, Frances Williams, Golden Tiara, Last Dance, Minuteman, Paradigm, Paul’s Glory, Sea thunder and Wide Brim. However, Captain Kirk, Cherish, Last Dance, Paradigm, Paul’s Glory,and Frances Williams grew well in containers under a shade structure.

Cultivars that did not return from winter dormancy the second year or died out gradually over three years include Blue Angle, Blue Mouse Ear, Gingko Craig, Hadspan Blue, Mini Blue, Moon River, Samual Blue, Sun Power,and Wheaton Blue. However, Blue Mouse Ear, Gingko Craig and Moon River were able to grow and return when planted in containers.

Table 1. Hosta cultivars that have been evaluated at the LSU AgCenter Hammond Research Station.

Variety

Year Planted

Variety

Year Planted

Variety

Year Planted

Albo-marginata

2010

Gold Standard

2010

Paradigm

2010

Ann Kulpa

2011

Great Expectations

2009

Patriot

2010

Antioch

2010

Guacamole

2010

Paul’s Glory

2010

August Moon

2010

Hadspen Blue

2009

Pineapple Upsidedown cake

2011

Aureo-marginata

2010

Hoosier Harmony

2009

Potomac Pride

2009

Blue Angel

2009

Hyacinthina

2010

Praying Hands

2013

Captain Kirk

2010

Iron Gate Delight

2009

Queen Josephine

2009

Cathedral Windows

2013

June

2010

Red October

2010

Cherish

2009

June Fever

2010

Royal Standard

2010

Cherry Berry

2011

Katsuragawa Beni

2011

Sagae

2009

Christmas Tree

2010

Krossa Regal

2009

Sea Thunder

2009

Dream Queen

2011

Lakeside Cupcake

2011

Shade Fanfare

2009

Elegans

2010

Lakeside Looking Glass

2010

So Sweet

2010

Elvis Lives

2009

Lakeside Paisley Print

2013

Spices

2010

Eternal Flame

2009

Last Dance

2009

Stained Glass

2009

First Frost

2011

Mama Mia

2010

Sugar & Spice

2010

Fragrant Blue

2013

Medio-variegata

2010

Sum & Substance

2010

Fragrant Bouquet

2010

Minuteman

2009

Sun Power

2009

Fragrant Queen

2013

Moon River

2009

Thunderbolt

2011

Francee

2009

Night Before Christmas

2009

Wide Brim

2010

Francis Williams

2010

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