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Hosta plantaginea

Phonetic Spelling
HOSS-tuh plan-tah-jin-EE-uh
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

The name Hosta, honors an Austrian botanist Nicholas Host.  Plantain lily is an herbaceous perennial in the Asparagaceae (asparagus) family, native to China. It grows in clumps from 1 to 3 feet high and wide.  

Plantain lily thrives in sites with deep to partial shade and moist soils with good drainage and high organic matter.  Locations with full sun can be a planting site in cooler climates, providing proper moisture is maintained.  

Maintenance should include removing discolored leaves at ground level.  After blooming has occurred, cut the stems off to encourage new plant growth.

It is considered to have the best flowers in the Hosta genus due to their showy appearance, fragrance, and use as a cut flower. The flowers attract hummingbirds and the plants are slightly salt tolerant. 

As well as its flowers being the most fragrant of the Hosta varieties, they are also among the largest, up 3 to 4" long.  These showy trumpet shaped blooms open in the evening, showing off their waxy white blooms.  

Plantain lily is an excellent plant for locations such as walkways, slopes, banks, and small spaces. Plant it in mass in perennial beds or naturalized areas, as a border or edging, or in pond, rock, pollinator, or shade gardens. 

Propagation is done by division in either the spring or fall, however, the take is easiest in the early part of the spring prior to the unfurling of the foliage.  

Its dense habit can help to keep weeds at bay.  

Quick ID Hints:

  • Acaulescent herb with parallel-veined leaves
  • Petioles sheathing, sulcate, subpeltate
  • Inflorescence scapose raceme, leafy-bracteate
  • Corollas tubular abruptly bell-shaped apically

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Monitor for snails, slugs, and nematodes. Deer enjoy the foliage. Leaf spot and crown rot rarely occur. Plants may become infected with the Hosta Virus X, tobacco rattle virus, or tomato ring spot virus. If any of these are detected, the plant should be removed and destroyed. Voles may destroy the plant by eating the roots. Hail storms may damage exposed leaves.

All parts of this plant are toxic to cats, dogs and horses.

 

VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Annuals, Perennials, Vines, and Groundcovers" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens. 

Profile Video:
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Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#hummingbirds#showy flowers#fragrant flowers#white flowers#wildlife plant#shade garden#low maintenance#mass planting#herbaceous#deer browsing plant#herbaceous perennials#rock garden#cutting garden#border front#butterfly friendly#nectar plant mid-summer#nectar plant late summer#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses#black walnut toxicity tolerant#heavy shade tolerant#showy#butterflies#butterfly#butterfly garden#birds
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#hummingbirds#showy flowers#fragrant flowers#white flowers#wildlife plant#shade garden#low maintenance#mass planting#herbaceous#deer browsing plant#herbaceous perennials#rock garden#cutting garden#border front#butterfly friendly#nectar plant mid-summer#nectar plant late summer#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses#black walnut toxicity tolerant#heavy shade tolerant#showy#butterflies#butterfly#butterfly garden#birds
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Hosta
    Species:
    plantaginea
    Family:
    Asparagaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    A perfect plant for a shady garden.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    China
    Wildlife Value:
    Flowers attract hummingbirds as well as birds and butterflies.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Easy to Grow
    Fragrance
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Dense
    Erect
    Mounding
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    Produces a loculicidal capsule, which is a dry fruit that opens in the middle.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Good Cut
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Trumpet
    Flower Petals:
    6 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    3-6 inches
    Flower Description:
    Considered the best flowers in the Hosta genus due to their showy appearance, fragrance and use as a cut flower.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Other/more complex
    Leaf Shape:
    Cordate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The bright green-yellow round to heart-shaped glossy basal leaves have parallel veins and a quilted surface.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Slope/Bank
    Small Space
    Walkways
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Cottage Garden
    Cutting Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rock Garden
    Shade Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Pollinators
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Black Walnut
    Heavy Shade
    Problems:
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Vomiting, diarrhea, depression.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Saponins
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No