Hosta densa
Common Name: hosta
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asparagaceae
Native Range: Japan
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to August
Bloom Description: White with purple tinge
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Heavy Shade, Black Walnut

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Best in light shade with some morning sun. Tolerant of a wide range of soil conditions. Performs best in rich, moist, organic soils with a preference for consistent moisture during the growing season. 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.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Hosta densa is native to wooded slopes and moist bottomland along rivers in southwest Honshu, Japan. It is a clump-forming perennial that typically matures in a spreading foliage mound to 26" tall and to 22" wide. Ovate-elliptic, dark green leaves (to 9” long and 5” wide) with acuminate tips have evenly rippled edges and closely ribbed veins. Funnel-shaped, mostly white (sometimes purple tinged at the base) flowers (each to 2" long) bloom in early to mid summer in dense (as noted by the specific epithet) racemes located atop inclining leafy scapes rising to 25" tall. Each raceme may include up to 40 flowers.

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 compact or dense.

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.