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  • July/August 2013 Web Special 1

    Experts from around the country share their favorite hosta cultivars for their region.

    July/August 2013 Web Special 1

    Regional Hosta Recommendations

    REGIONAL HOSTA RECOMMENDATIONS

    The following cultivars are favorites suggested by experts from across the country. The size category, as well as height and spread in inches, follow each description.

    NORTHERN CALIFORNIA & PACIFIC NORTHWEST

    Kirk Hansen and Thomas Johnson, owners of Sebright Gardens in Brooks, Oregon, offer this list of dazzling performers:

    • 'Curly Fries' - forms an open mound of long, rippled and thick, tapered yellow leaves that age to near white. Hansen recommends planting in partial sun for best effect. (mini, 5 x 16)
    • 'Blueberry Muffin' - dimpled, round powdery blue leaves and red speckled petioles. (medium, 15 x 30)
    • ‘Wheee!' - a tight corkscrew spiral of foliage unfolds into long straps of thick, wavy leaves with bright gold centers and blue-green margins. The thick leaves add extra pest resistance. (medium, 15 x 30)
    • 'Dancing Queen' - brilliant lemon-yellow, wedge-shaped leaves with  ruffled edges; provide morning sun for best coloration. (large, 20 x 30)
    • ‘Komodo Dragon' - very thick and rounded blue-green leaves with evenly rippled margins. Very vigorous and pest resistant. (giant, 30 x 60)

    MIDWEST

    Rob Mortko and his wife Sheri own and operate Made in the Shade Gardens in Olathe, Kansas. His regional recommendations include the following:

    • 'Pewterware' - cupped and corrugated, soft blue, heart-shaped leaves. (small, 10 x 30)
    • 'Rainbow's End' - dark green leaf margins and a flared center pattern that starts bright yellow then turns white by summer. (small, 11 x 21)
    • 'Stitch in Time' -  wide gold margins and an irregular dark green center. Morning sun brightens the color and increases vigor. (small, 12 x 24)
    • ‘Paradise Island' -  bright gold leaves framed by a dark green edge; red petioles flow into the leaf base. (medium, 15 x 30)
    • 'Bridal Falls' - dark spinach-green leaves with  creamy white margins; rippled piecrust edging. (large, 26 x 44)

    GREAT LAKES

    Tom Micheletti, the immediate past president of the American Hosta Society and owner of The Hosta Patch in Deer Park, Illinois, shares these regional favorites:

    • 'Chain Lightning' - thick, corrugated leaves with creamy white centers and chartreuse and dark green margins. (small, 9-12 x 18-24)
    • ‘Hidden Treasure' - pointed, oval, dark green leaves with white margins. (small, 12 x 22)
    • ‘Azure Waves' - a dense, mounding plant with slightly corrugated, blue-green leaves and heavily rippled margins. (medium, 16 x 42)
    • 'Victory' - large, heart-shaped, green—10 inches wide and 14 inches long—with creamy white margins and lavender flowers that open on five-foot scapes. (giant, 30-36 x 70-80)

    NORTHEAST/NEW ENGLAND

    Sue Andersen, owner of Mason Hollow Nursery in Mason, New Hampshire, and president of the New England Hosta Society, recommends the following for her region:

    • 'Snow Mouse' - very thick leaves with a white center surrounded by a blue-green border. The leaf center stays white all season, but shows some green flecks later. This sport of 'Blue Mouse Ears' is Andersen's favorite, but there are many to choose from, including 'Mighty Mouse', 'Dancing Mouse', and 'Holy Mouse'. (small, 8 x 12)
    • 'Summer Squall' - rich blue color and nicely folded leaves. It holds up to slugs, with good substance and sturdy leaves. (medium, 14 x 32)
    • 'Rhino Hide' - slug proof and one of the heaviest textured leaves Andersen has seen. The rugged, blue leaves are cupped and highlighted by a dark gold edge that ages to cream. (large, 20 x 30)
    • 'Frank Lloyd Wright' - forms an upright vase-shaped clump, with large steel-blue wavy leaves that come to a point turning downward and held horizontally atop strong petioles. (giant, 36 x 36)
    • ‘Humpback Whale’ - forms a massive, dome-shaped mound of blue-green corrugated, heart-shaped leaves. (giant, 36 x 48-72)

    SOUTHEAST

    Bob Solberg, owner of Green Hill Farm in Franklinton, North Carolina, shares his picks for the Southeast:

    • 'Mouse Trap' - leaves have a pure white center and rich blue margin that does not "melt out." (mini, 6 x 14)
    • 'Mango Salsa' - the result of a long line of hybridizing for yellow hostas with red leaf petioles and red scapes. Plant it in morning sun for best effect. (medium, 12 x 20)
    • ‘First Frost' - a great variegated hosta that looks perfect until the first frost. Its blue leaves with wide yellow margins bleach to white in bright light. (medium, 16 x 36)
    • 'Winter Snow' - rounded leaves larger than dinner plates. Golden yellow leaves are bordered by a wide, white wavy margin. Fairly sun tolerant, it requires consistent moisture for best growth. (giant, 30 x 60)

    MOUNTAIN WEST

    Burton S. Johnson, owner of Hosta House Utah in Salt Lake City, names the following favorites for the area:

    • 'Blue Mouse Ears' - grows into a very tight mini mound and has very thick, rounded, mouse-like, blue-green leaves. Johnson says that is the strongest and most dependable ‘Mouse’ variety, though not a fast grower. (mini, 6 x 12).
    • 'Rainforest Sunrise' - the 2013 Hosta of the Year; absolutely dynamite in terms of vigor, color, leaf shape, and texture. Rounded and cupped leaves are thick, leathery, and corrugated, in colors of medium to bright yellow with a dark green edge. (small, 10 x 14)
    • 'Dancing Queen' - rippled edges on leaves of bright yellow. With morning sun they will hold their yellow color into summer. (medium, 18 x 30)
    • 'Cathedral Windows' - large, rounded- to heart-shaped leaves patterned with bright golden centers surrounded by wide, medium- to dark-green borders. The rather large summer flowers are very fragrant. (large,19 x 34)
    • 'Empress Wu' - huge, heart-shaped, upright-growing green leaves that are deeply veined, ribbed, and puckered. Be patient as it takes up to five years to really come into its own. (giant, 36-48 x 60-72)

    --Kris Wetherbee