Wichita Hosta Society
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Hosta of the Year

With the increasing number of hosta ,cultivars being introduced each year it is increasingly difficult for nursery owners and gardeners to choose just the right hostas for their sales areas and gardens. To this end the American Hosta Growers Association established the AHGA Hosta of the Year in 1996. It is selected by a vote of AHGA members. Award winners are hostas that are good garden plants in all a regions of the country, are widely available and in sufficient supply, and will retail for about $15.00 in the year of their selection.

2019 H. 'Lakeside Paisley Print' (Chastain) grows 12" high by 24" wide with wavy green leaves and an irregular cream center. Lavender flowers on white scapes in mid-summer.

2018 H. 'World Cup' (Beilstein/Zillis) grows 30” high by 48” wide with deeply cupped gold corrugated leaves that reach up to the sky. It also has nice white backsides that stand out due to its upright habit. Pale purple flowers in summer.

2017 H. 'Brother Stefan' (Petryszyn) grows 22" tall by 36" wide clump of thick, heavily corrugated, golden foliage edged with a wide border of blue-green. 24" tall scapes topped with white flowers in late spring.

2016 H. 'Curly Fries' (Solberg) grows 5" high by 16" wide. Features very wavy, narrrow, super thick agave-looking leaves that give a "spidery" appearance. 24" tall scapes topped with lavender flowers.

2015 H. 'Victory' 
(Zilis/Solberg) grows 30” high by 70” wide. With leaves that have a s
hiny green center with a margin that changes from greenish yellow to creamy white by early summer. Smooth texture with thick substance. Near white flowers on tall scapes in mid-summer. An outstanding specimen or background plant. Vigorous.

2014 H. 'Abiqua Drinking Gourd' (Walden West) grows 22” high by 46” wide, with dark blue-green seer suckered leaves with heavy substance. Probably the most deeply cupped foliage of any hosta cultivar makes for a distinct and unique specimen. Near white flowers in mid-summer.

2013 H. 'Rainforest Sunrise' (Farms/Anderson) grows 10” high by 25” wide, with gold leaves that are margined with a nice dark green margin. Nicely corrugated even at a young age, the glossy cupped leaves also have thick substance. Pale lavender flowers in early summer.

2012 H. 'Liberty' (Machen 2000) grows 39” high by 39” wide this sport of the popular 'Sagae' features a wider more dramatic margin. Like 'Sagae' the margin changes from yellow to creamy-white by mid-season. Lavender flowers in mid-summer.

2011 H. 'Praying Hands' (G. Williams 1996) grows 14" high by 16" upright growing mound of intensely folded and rippled dark green leaves 7" long by 2" wide, surrounded by yellow. It flowers in August with lavender flowers on 18'' scapes.

2010 H. 'First Frost' (R. Solberg 2002) grows 16" high by 36" mound of intensely blue-green leaves 7" long by 5" wide, surrounded by yellow margins that become white as the season progresses. This sport of the ever popular H. ‘Halcyon’ flowers in July/August with lavender flowers.

2009 H. 'Earth Angel' (Hans Hansen 2002) grows 16" high by 39" wide, with hearth shaped, blue-green leaves 12" long by 9" wide, surrounded by creamy white margins. Pale lavender flowers arise on 30" scapes in July. This is a sport of H. ‘Blue Angel’.

2008 H. 'Blue Mouse Ears' (E. Deckert 2000). grows to 8" high by 19" wide, with thick substance, nearly round, blue-green leaves 2 1/2" long by 2 1/4" wide. In July the plant is topped with dense clusters of pale purple flowers on scapes that rise to 12".

2007 H. 'Paradigm' (Walden West 1999) grows 20" high by 46" wide, with corrugated gold leaves 11" long by 9" wide, surrounded by dark green margins. Near white flowers arise on 32" scapes in July-Aug. This is a sport of H. ‘Abiqua Recluse’.

2006 H. 'Stained Glass' (Hansen 1999). grows to 20" high by 45" wide, with heart-shaped leaves 9" long by 7" wide. The leaves are bright yellow with an irregular dark green margin. In August the plant is topped with 3" long fragrant, near-white flowers on scapes that rise to 30". It is a sport that arose from H. ‘Guacamole’.

2005 H. 'Striptease' (Thompson 1991) grows 20" high by 40" wide. Satiny, dark green leaves have a narrow ivory center approximately 1" wide. There is an irregular white stripe between the ivory center and the wide green margins. Pale violet flowers appear on 24" scales in July. This is a sport of H. 'Gold Standard'.

2004 H. 'Sum and Substance' (Aden 1998) grows 36" high by 80" wide. This is a huge mound of chartreuse leaves that can each become 18" long by 14" wide. Site in brighter morning light and the leaves will be a bright golden yellow. In July, lavender flowers appear on scapes 50" high.

2003 H. 'Regal Splendor' (Walters Gardens 1987) grows 32" high and 60" wide. This is a vase shaped mound of heavy substance, 10" long by 7" wide, blue-green leaves, with creamy white margins. Lavender flowers are produced on 60" scapes in August. This is a sport of H. 'Krossa Regal'.

2002 H. 'Guacamole' (Solberg 1994) grows 24" high and 54" wide. The 10" long by 81/2" shiny gold heart shaped leaves have irregular narrow green margins. Leaf color becomes a brighter gold with increased light exposure. Fragrant flowers 3" long are produced on 38" scapes in August. This is a sport ofH. 'Fragrant Bouquet'.

2001 H. 'June' (Neo Plants 1991) grows 30” wide, and 12” high. The gold centered, blue-green margined, heart shaped leaves are 6” long, by 4” wide. Lavender flowers appear on 20" scapes in August.

2000 H. 'Sagae' (Watanabe 1995) grows 30” high and nearly 70” wide. The leaves are 13” long, by 10” wide, and are blue-green with a yellow margin that fades to cream. They are slightly cupped with an undulating margin. The plant has an interesting upright vase shape.

1999 H. 'Paul's Glory' (Ruh/Hofer 1987), grows 17" high and 26" wide. It has pointed heart-shaped, leaves 7" long by 5" wide. The leaves emerge a golden yellow, then later in the season, turn a parchment white with an irregular blue-green margin. Lavender flowers arise in midsummer on 24" scapes.

1998 H. 'Fragrant Bouquet' (Aden 1982) grows 18" high by 36" wide. Heart-shaped leaves 8" long by 6" wide, that emerge a golden yellow, then turn apple-green with an irregular cream margin. The crowning glory of this Hosta is that in August the plant is topped with 3" long fragrant near white flowers on scapes that rise to 36".

1997 H. 'Patriot' (Machen 1991) grows 23" high by 50" wide. Dark green leaves are 8” long by 6" wide with a wide, creamy white margin. Lavender flowers appear in July on 30" scapes.

1996 H. 'So Sweet' (Aden 1986) grows 22" high by 50" wide. Leaves are 9" long and 7" wide with a white margin. Large numbers of fragrant near white flowers open on 35" scapes in August.

Tips For Growing Hostas

Hostas are easy to grow, shade-tolerant, hardy herbaceous perennials. They are grown mainly for the ornamental effect of their foliage, which is diverse in size, shape, texture and coloration. Hostas have become the number one selling perennial according to the Perennial Plant Association and the American Nurseryman magazine. A large number of different varieties, ease of cultivation including low maintenance, many uses and values with other plants in the landscape, and wide availability in garden centers and nurseries contribute to their popularity. As a general rule, if other plants can grow in the soil, hostas are sturdy enough to grow there, too. The ideal soil is one that is enriched, moist but well drained, and slightly lower than neutral pH, that is, just on the acidic side. Hostas benefit from large additions of organic matter, such as garden compost, leaf mold, well rotted manure, composted pine bark and peat moss in the planting hole, especially if the soil is heavy clay or light and sandy.   Planting. To plant a hosta, dig a hole about 9-12” deep; the depth depends upon the size of the hosta. The width also depends on the size of the hosta being planted. Hosta roots generally spread out horizontally, so be generous with the width of the hole. Add soil with up to 50% organic matter (peat moss, leaf mold, compost, etc.) to the hole to plant the hosta properly, tamping it firmly to help prevent air pockets and settlement later. Plant the hosta so the area where the leaves and roots meet is level with the soil. Add and gently firm the soil, but do not pack the soil around the plant. Water well.

Watering. Although hostas have been known to tolerate severe drought conditions, they prefer an abundant amount of water throughout the growing season. About one inch of water per week is recommended, whether from rains, hand watering or an irrigation system. It is best to water early morning so the leaves will dry out, thus discouraging disease and insects. Hostas have a very high transpiration rate due to their large amount of foliage. Too little water can cause mild burning of the leaf tips. The leaf tissue farthest from the roots becomes stressed from low water availability. This condition is increased if a large amount of fertilizer is present. Short-term water stress will cause some hostas to show drooping leaves, but because hosta leaves are so resilient, they may not show any long-term symptoms. If the drought is severe, the hosta may go "drought dormant" and stop growing. Following application of large volumes of water, the plant usually will start growing again. Winter damage can occur if new growth begins too late in the fall and does not get a chance to go properly dormant for winter. The best program is to make sure your hostas have plenty of water all season long.

Fertilizing. Hostas respond well to fertilizing. Regardless of the fertilizer type or method of application, most hosta growers apply a balanced ratio of nitrogen, phosphate, and potash such as 10-10-10 in the spring. Either chemical or organic fertilizers can be used depending on personal choice. In highly enriched soils, an annual application of leaf mold or garden compost in autumn is sufficient.

Mulch. Mulches have three major advantages for the hosta garden. They help by reducing evaporative water loss from the soil, they assist in weed control, and have decorative merit as an attractive background for the plants. Regardless of the type mulch chosen, do not mulch heavily. One to one-and-one-half inches is sufficient. Most important, do not pile the mulch up against the divisions (shoots) as this can invite insects such as slugs. It is best to keep the mulch two to three inches from the petioles (footstock of the leaf).

Containers. Most hostas will do well in containers. There should be no more than 2 - 3" of space between the outside wall of the pot and outer-most roots of the plant. Plastic pots are better at retaining moisture. Good advice is to place a small square of fiberglass screening over the drainage holes to keep pests from entering and soil from falling out. Use a high quality potting soil to promote good drainage, moisture retention and resist compaction. Hostas in containers require more frequent watering than those grown directly in the ground.

To learn more about growing hostas: please plan to attend our Wichita Hosta Society meetings on the third Tuesday night of the month at Botanica.  
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