Hosta elata
Common Name: hosta
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asparagaceae
Native Range: Japan
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 2.00 to 5.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 2.50 feet
Bloom Time: June to July
Bloom Description: Pale purple to white
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Hummingbirds
Tolerate: Heavy Shade, Dry Soil, 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 elata is a large hosta that is not known to exist in the wild. Confusion exists as to the correct description for this plant. Botanical specimens as well as plants sold in commerce today vary in characteristics to the point where some authorities (including W. George Schmidt) recommend calling this plant Hosta 'Elata'. In general, this hosta grows to 30" tall by 30" wide. Heart-shaped green leaves (12" long by 8" wide) on long upward petioles have deeply impressed veins, wavy margins and pointed tips. Flowering scapes tower above the foliage mound to 4-5' tall in summer (June - July) bearing 20-30 funnel-shaped pale purple to white flowers with yellow anthers.

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 tall.

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 large hosta is effective as an accent or in small groups. Mix with other perennials in shady borders, shade gardens or woodland gardens.