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Hostas: The Focal Point in Your Shade Garden

If you're looking for low maintenance plants for a shady area of your lawn or garden, hostas are a great choice. These perennial plants boast large leaves in solid and variegated combinations of green, blue, yellow, and white. They also produce showy spikes of flowers ranging from white to lavender. Unlike some shade-loving plants, hostas are hardy and easy to care for.

Hosta Care 101

Hostas grow from corms or rhizomes that can be purchased in garden centers or nurseries. There are about 3000 cultivars, so you can assemble a great shade garden with varied colors and leaf shapes. Generally, the green and yellow hostas are more sun tolerant than the blue varieties, but all hostas need several hours of morning sun or filtered sunlight each day. Good news for your lawn care schedule--hostas are relatively pest resistant, but are susceptible to damage by snails and slugs. Your hostas will do well in slightly acidic soil with a pH reading of 6.5 to 7.5. Well mulched soil and plenty of water will keep hostas healthy, but avoid water accumulation.

Fertilize every few weeks starting in early spring and ending in mid to late July. In mid to late summer, your hostas will bloom. Their showy spires of lily-like flowers have earned hostas the nickname of August lily. Hostas rapidly deteriorate after the first frost, but will return in spring with a fresh display of lavish and brilliant foliage. Check out spring home and garden shows and nursery catalogs for the season's new hosta varieties. Collecting hostas can be a great hobby if you have plenty of shady areas in your lawn and garden.

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