10 August 2008

Concrete Hostas

The green hostas are finished blooming, but at least they are not growing in concrete the way they were found. While visiting some friends in May two years ago, the entire foundation along their summer home on Staten Island (they live in Manhattan, so their Staten Island house is considered a summer vacation home) was thick with plain green-leaf hostas. Hostas are known for being a tough plant, but concrete? I was given permission to dig up a few and haul them back to Virginia on the train. After clearing away some leaves to begin digging them up, no soil could be found. Moving away large chunks of concrete yielded smaller and smaller concrete pieces until eventually roots were found thriving in sandy gravel. These were growing in construction debris. Needless to say, if plants survived concrete soil, they survived the train ride a day later and summer transplanting.

Two plants were placed in shade, and one in partial shade. The sunnier location yielded lighter colored green leaves that tended to dry out and burn a little around the edges. But this plant also grew larger than the shady two, and produced twice as many flower stalks this summer. And, it also formed seed pods pictured here, whereas the shady siblings did not. One gardener offered an explanation that being in so much sun, the plant was stressed and through it was doomed, so it rushed to reproduce, growing more flowers and seed pods.

There are three other hosta varieties growing in the backyard garden, but only this no-name variety is doing well. The others are 'Gold Standard' and two unknown varieties obtained in our local plant swap brunch. All hostas are relative newcomers to the garden, and their sun and soil requirements still need some tweaking (and a year or two more to really fill in.)

Some Online Hosta Resources
  • Growing Hostas Fact Sheet
  • The Hosta Patch Store
  • New Hampshire Hostas Store
  • Green Mountain Hosta Nursery
  • Hosta Library
  • Bridgewood Gardens Hosta Store
  • American Hosta Society

For The Record:
  • Heavy clay soil
  • Partial shade / full shade
  • Peat and humus manure fertilizer

Garden Calendar:
  • Blooming: silver salvia, nicotiana, cosmos, sunflowers, canna, zinnias, castor, basil
  • Harvested: 12 tomatoes


Bobbi said...
I love hostas! They are the perfect plant for a shade garden because they come in so many different colors and sizes!
Upstate said...
Wow, I could use these hostas in my yard - under my big ol' shade tree where nothing else seems to grow. Never thought of hostas there.
nancy said...
Thanks for all the good hosta links.