Late on TimeFriday, September 06, 2019
|Hosta tardiflora 6 September 2019|
At last count there were at least 4000 hosta cultivars. A species is a term used to denote plants that are found in the wild that have not had human interference (tough!). Cultivars or sports are plants that change for no apparent reason and may look different. They could have larger or smaller flowers. They could have variegated leaves. Most plants grow in particular zones. But some plants can adapt to cold weather or hotter weather or survive and then even thrive in drought.
Hostas are considered by some of us enthusiasts as the white mice of the plant kingdom. You may have a nursery with 100 hostas of a particular variety. Suddenly in their midst you spot one that is different (a lot or only in detail). It would be impossible to have all those “selections” in one garden. Nursery people will select that different plant (it could even be a rose) and then propagate it by division or by cloning.
One thing hostas are pretty good at is in having a pattern as to when they bloom. Most do so in June, July. The sometimes called August Lilly is a species hosta, Hosta plantaginea which flowers in August. It is the only hosta (plus its sports) to have white fragrant flowers.
An English plantsman, Eric Smith sometime in the early 70s noticed that a species hosta Hosta
tardiflora, which blooms in early September was in bloom at the same time as blue leaved Hosta sieboldiana “Elegans”. He quickly played like a bee and pollinated the two. The result was a slew of hostas now called the Tardianas. They have the blue colour of the sieboldiana but instead of having large rounded leaves they are long and narrow (lanceolate is the correct term) leaves.The two most famous are Hosta 'Halcyon' and Hosta 'June'.