Hosta ventricosa
Common Name: hosta
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asparagaceae
Native Range: China
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: August to September
Bloom Description: Purple to violet
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Hummingbirds
Tolerate: Heavy Shade, Black Walnut

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Tolerates full sun in cool summer climates. Elsewhere it is best in part shade (some morning sun). Plants are tolerant of a wide range of soil conditions. Plants perform best in rich, moist, organic soils, with a preference for consistent moisture during the growing season, but plants have tolerance for some dry shade once established. Water is best applied directly to the soil beneath the leaves. Divide plants as needed in spring or autumn. Division is usually easiest in early spring before the leaves unfurl. Hosta ventricosa is one of the few hostas that will come true from seed. Seeds are produced without fertilization by pseudogamous apomixis which is a form of vegetative reproduction known as agamospermy. Species plants cannot be used in hybridization as seed parents because the seedlings are simply vegetative clones of the mother plant. Species plants can serve as pollen parents however.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Hosta ventricosa is a large, naturally occurring tetraploid hosta that is native to China and North Korea. It grows in a rounded mound to 22" tall spreading to 36" wide. Thin, smooth, shiny, cordate, broad-ovate, dark green leaves (9" by 8") have widely spaced veins, undulate margins and mucronate tips. Leaves develop strong ribbing as they mature. Bell-shaped, purple to violet flowers bloom in late summer to early autumn on upright, leafy, burgundy-spotted, pale green scapes (32-38"). Stearn.

Genus name of Hosta, in honor of Austrian botanist Nicholas Thomas Host (1761-1834), was first established in 1812. The genus was subsequently renamed in 1817 as Funkia in honor of botanist Heinrich Christian Funk under the belief at that time that Hosta was an invalid name. Hosta was finally reinstated as the genus name in 1905 by the International Botanical Congress.

Funkia remains a popular common name today in some areas. An additional common name for plants in this genus is plantain lily (foliage is somewhat plantain-like and flowers are somewhat lily-like in some species).

Problems

Slugs and snails are attracted to the foliage, chewing jagged holes in the leaves, and if left unchecked, can cause serious damage over a fairly short period of time. Leaf spots and crown rot are less frequent problems. Otherwise, hostas are virtually pest-free and are considered ideal low-maintenance garden perennials. Leaves, particularly of exposed plants, can be severely damaged by hail storms. Leaves of Hosta ventricosa are thin and may scorch along the edges in the hot summers of the deep South even when grown in full shade.

Garden Uses

Hostas are a mainstay of shade gardens. This large mounded hosta makes an interesting garden specimen. It is also effective in groups or massed. It can be mixed with other perennials in shady borders, shade gardens or woodland gardens. Edging.