Hosta longissima
Common Name: hosta
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asparagaceae
Native Range: Japan
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: August to September
Bloom Description: Pale purple
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy, Good Cut
Attracts: Hummingbirds
Tolerate: Heavy Shade, Black Walnut

Culture

Easily grown in evenly moist, organically rich, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Best in part shade (some morning sun or sun dappled conditions). Established plants have some tolerance for dry shade (particularly plants with thick leaves), but soils should never be allowed to dry out. Full size and quality form are best achieved with consistent moisture. 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. Plant in locations protected from wind.

Tolerates wet, boggy soils.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Features a mound of strap-shaped, arching, glossy-green leaves which appear to arise directly from the crown, with racemes of funnel-shaped, pale lavender flowers on 20" scapes. A dependable and versatile perennial requiring little care. Grown primarily for its beautiful foliage which provides color, contrast and texture to the landscape. Dense foliage crowds out most garden weeds.

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 very long.

Problems

Although slugs and snails can be serious problems, and leaf spots and crown rot lesser problems, hostas are otherwise virtually disease and pest-free and are ideal, low-maintenance garden perennials. No special culture is required.

Garden Uses

Hostas are a mainstay of the shade garden. This small hosta can be mixed with other perennials in the border front, rock garden or woodland garden, or used as an edging plant, or massed and divided to create a ground cover for small areas. Also effective in wet, boggy areas along a stream or pond.