Hosta cathayana
Common Name: Chinese hosta
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asparagaceae
Native Range: Japan, China
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: August to September
Bloom Description: Purple-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. Tolerant of a wide range of soil conditions. Performs best in rich, moist, organic soils. Plants need consistent moisture during the growing season. 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.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Hosta cathayana is a medium sized hosta native to China (cathayana means from China). It typically matures in the form of a vase to 10” tall and to 18" wide over time. Ovate-lanceolate, glossy, dark green leaves (to 5” long and 2.5” wide) have acuminate tips and wavy margins. Funnel-shaped, purple-violet flowers in racemes to 8-10" long (10-20 flowers per raceme) appear in late summer on green scapes rising above the foliage mound to 24” tall. This hosta is very similar in appearance to Hosta 'Lancifolia', except it has smaller and glossier leaves, shorter flower scapes, later bloom time and viable seed. Japanese name for this hosta is Akikaze Giboshi (autumn wind hosta) in reference to its bloom occurring in the autumn wind. Maekawa 1940.

Genus name honors Austrian botanist Nicholas Thomas Host (1761-1834) and 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.

Specific epithet means from China.

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.

Garden Uses

Hostas are a mainstay of shade gardens. This hosta is effective in groups or massed. It is also effective as an edging plant. Mix with other perennials in shady borders, shade gardens or woodland gardens.