The Q&A Archives: Hosta hardiness

Question: We want to plant Hostas in a partial shade (North side).
Will the Hostas die back in the winter?
What can we mix with Miniature Gardenias?
We will have Mother ferns in the back row.
Depth is about 5 feet.
Thanx DaveK

Answer: In general, hostas prefer shade. However, with well prepared soil amply supplied with organic matter plus ample watering plus a summer mulch, it is possible to grow some hostas in increasing amounts of sun. Morning sun is of course gentler and cooler than afternoon sun, and your chances of success are best if the plants are protected from the hot noon sun and hot afternoon sun. A number of golden hostas with the word "sun" in their names such as "Sun Power" and "Sun Flare" seem to tolerate sun better and "Sum and Substance" is said to tolerate full sun; H. plantaginea is also tolerant of at least a 3/4 dat of sun; in my experience the "blue" hostas tolerate sun the least. It is also possible to create shade, for example by planting flowering shrubs and trees or even erecting an arbor, lattice or trellis panels covered with a flowering vine. Hosta foliage will die to groundlevel when hit by frost but new foliage will grow when the weather warms.

Hostas and ferns will make delightful companions to your miniature gardenias. How about adding some bright splashes of color? Primroses in the winter; forget me nots in the spring, impatiens in the summer.

Enjoy your new flower bed!

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