The Q&A Archives: 2 questions

Question: #1 -- I really want to grow hostas and I can give them shade. Is this possible?

#2 -- I want to identify a plant given to me by a friend in the Tampa Bay area. She called it a 'Zipper Plant.' Stem is zig-zag, with little branchlets every few 'zags'. At the end is a small 4-petalled pink flower, petals look like a skinny pinwheel. I have had no luck looking in any tropical plant books. I can email a picture if that would help.

Answer: Nancy,

Hostas struggle in the combined heat and humidity of our southern summers. If you hope to make a success with hostas, you will need to give them a soil enriched with organic matter and keep them moist but not soggy. They need protection from the hot afternoon sun and in fact, do best with a dappled shade or maybe a little morning sun.

A trial in Northeast Texas identified several types that do better than others, and therefore may be your best bets if you are determined to try and grow hostas. Check out the following web sites for this information:

As far as replacements for hostas, there are not exact look-alikes for your area. A fairly close choice would be peacock ginger.

The only plants I know of by the name zipper plant are cacti. We are not set up to receive photos in the e-mail system. I suggest you send some or take them in to your County Extension Office or a local botanical garden to see if they can identify your mystery plant.

Thanks for the question. Please stop in again soon!

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