Hosta La Vista Baby!
With over 2000 varieties available the possibilities are endless with these leafy beauties! Originally from the Orient hosta plants, also known as the plantain lily, were introduced in Europe in the 1700’s. Until about 40 years ago hostas were not widely used in gardens but they quickly became a favorite in the hearts of gardeners. These shade loving, easy care plants are adored for their lush foliage, ranging in vibrant hues of deep green and gold to creamy white with the leaf varying in size, shape and texture. The flowers that emerge in the spring are funnel shaped and can be white or lilac/purple.
So perfect under shade trees, in rock gardens, on your dinner plate….wait, what?? Yes hostas are edible! The leaves, the buds and even the flowers! Though I’ve heard the leaves, before they unfurl, pack the most flavour. Just imagine how chic the flower would look draped on top of a pretty cake. Your friends will be so impressed! Oh and what about using the hosta leaf as a dinner plate like they do with banana leaves, so green and so trendy! Apparently the Japanese have been enjoying these greens for centuries (called urui)……we might be a little late to the party but there is still plenty of partying to do with hostas as the special guest. Some of you may find it difficult to start chopping off your lovely lush hosta leaves to add to your dinner menu but if there is ever a zombie apocalypse remember you can always eat your hosta!
If you don’t want to eat these remarkable perennials they will add character and dimension to your landscape design. With their size ranging from a few inches to 4 feet they are versatile in rock gardens, along borders or as a specimen plant. They are known as shade loving plants but most can tolerate some sun exposure, preferably in the morning. Hostas are gorgeous on their own, in fact you could devote an entire garden to them, but they show off well with ferns, azaleas, heuchera and astilbe.
Unfortunately gardeners (and chefs) are not the only ones who love these extraordinary plants they are a favorite among slugs too. Try sprinkling some sand around your hostas to deter these slimy creatures. If deer are present in your area they also love to chow down on hosta but, hey, if you can’t beat them join them….harvest these babies before the deer do! Bon appetite!
Some of the Varieties Available at Kato’s: