Q&A: Hostas Identity Crisis

I love hostas, which is why I took transplants from a friend and planted them in several locations around my yard. The funniest thing happened though—the plants looks different at almost every location, even though they started out from the same plant. It’s hard to explain, but some even differ in color. They all seem healthy, but It’s hard to tell if I have been doing something wrong (or right) from location to location.—A.G., Dayton, Ohio

Since they all came from the same species, this variegated plant has taken on variegated identities from location to location due to the individual growing conditions. In general, hostas thrive in fertile, moist, free-draining soil. They are often thought of as a shade plant, but many do best in a sunny spot, too.

While too much shade may limit color development, strong sun can damage some variegation. As a rule, shadier positions result in larger leaves and fewer flowers; sunnier sites produce more compact plants with small leaves and more flowers. Either leave the plants where they are if you like the variation, or find your favorite hosta and plant future ones in similar locations.

Strange growth, no blooms or are you wondering the best way to transplant? Just ask, and the Horticulture editorial team will take a stab at answering your ailment or query. E-mail edit@hortmag.com

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