It Does Grow Here

“It Does Grow Here”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana


I am starting to doubt more and more the  “experts”, or maybe it is the conventional garden “wisdom” that I am beginning to see as not applicable.  I have been finding over the last few years that many plants that are not supposed to grow or do well in my area are actually thriving.  Case in point, hostas.  For the longest time, I wanted but did not plant any hostas.  Books and articles I had read said that they really did require a cooler summer than we had to offer.  I never saw any hosta growing in any gardens, so I believed this myth.  One day, while visiting a nursery a little farther north from where I live, I saw they had a few small hostas for sale.  I thought I would give one a try, and figured if the nursery was selling it, it would grow in my garden (foolish, inexperienced, trusting gardener).  I was surprised how well that hosta has done.

 

Big Hosta (redu)

 

Once this hosta survived a year, I started buying more.  I even grew some from seeds that I bought from Parks Seed Co.

 

Hosta from Park seed (redu)

 

They all have done very well.  Does this hosta look like it isn’t doing well? Please ignore damage to the leaves that happened a short time ago when a small hail storm came through.

 

Chartruse Hosta (redu)

 

Hosta and Metallica (redu)

 

I even tried a blue hosta which was reported not to last long in Deep South.  Blue Cadet has flourished.  It is bluer looking when it hasn’t been doused by rain.

 

Blue Cadet Hosta (redu)

 

I was convinced by now that hosta do survive here in the Deep South.  All this is leading up to the brand new hosta I found Sunday.  I went to Lowes to buy a trellis for my new Pandora vine, and, of course, I had to take a quick look around the plants for sale.  Here is where I found Red October ($2.98), a hosta with red stems.  I have seen this one in gardening articles and was happy to find it.  I figured this would do well in entry garden with all the red flowers there to help the red stems of this hosta to stand out.

 

Red October Hosta (redu)

 

I only bought two because that is all I could carry in one hand with the trellis in the other (I was NOT going all the way back out into the parking lot for a cart).  I am tempted to go back, though, for one more.

I am beginning to think that a great deal of gardening information that has been handed out for years, needs to be questioned.  Now, I know that there are some hard and fast rules, for example, chilling hours for certain plants to bloom and/or produce fruit, but maybe we need to push the limits a little to experiment.  We just may find, like I have with the hostas, that plants we have denied our gardens will survive and thrive.

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14 Comments

  1. June 3, 2009 at 8:28 pm

    Jan, as a (relatively) northern gardener with the opposite problem, I’ve found you can often cheat with zone hardiness.

    • Jan said,

      June 4, 2009 at 6:18 am

      Helen, I have pushed the limits of cold hardness, too. There are many tropicals that are marginal here or not supposed to winter over, but with a lot of mulching, they have survived. I think it is important that we push the limits so as to find new plants for our gardens.

  2. Janet said,

    June 3, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    Hostas are great! Lots of interest with lovely foliage.

    • Jan said,

      June 4, 2009 at 6:22 am

      Janet, I love hostas, too. I first saw them growing in Blowing Rock, N.C. about 25 years ago and wanted them so badly, but everything I read said they would not grow here or they would melt out in our heat. I am so glad that I tried them anyway even though it took me almost 20 years to finally try growing them.

  3. Cecila said,

    June 4, 2009 at 6:06 am

    I went to my local Lowes and they had Red October, too. I quickly picked up one to plant in a container with coleus for the summer. Thanks, Jan, for writing about this one.

    • Jan said,

      June 4, 2009 at 6:23 am

      Glad you found them, Cecila. I’m sure they will look great in your container. I can’t wait for mine to get bigger.

  4. donna said,

    June 4, 2009 at 9:09 am

    Jan, you know so much more about hostas than I do and I must have 30-40 of them growing in my yard….many different varieties. I know the names of only a few. That’s pathetic, isn’t it? Would really like to have a Red October. Very interesting post.

    • Jan said,

      June 6, 2009 at 4:45 am

      Donna, maybe you need to check out a Lowes for a Red October. It is only lately that I have become so interested in remembering plant names, though I guess it doesn’t really increase the enjoyment of your plants. It is just nice to know esp. if you want to look up info on them.

  5. June 4, 2009 at 9:42 am

    They will grow in our area. My neighbor has them all in her front yard. The ones in the sun are DOUBLE the size of the ones in the shade…how weird is that!

    • Jan said,

      June 6, 2009 at 4:51 am

      It is only recently that I see hostas in gardens around here and even then it is rare. I have found that hostas can take a lot more sun, even here, than I was led to believe. As long as they are well watered, they don’t need a lot of shade.

  6. Ken said,

    June 4, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    Hostas have become one of our favorite perennials. We now have over 20 varieties in our own gardens. A common myth is they are only shade loving plants and unfortunately why many people do not experience the ease and beauty in growing these amazing plants. The truth in the matter is that there are 100’s of full sun tolerant hostas, such as Blaze of Glory; Fire and Ice; Gold Standard; June; Katie Q; Lemon Lime; Plantagenia; Sum and Substance; and 24 carat Gold. The American Hosta Society (AHA) website is an excellent resource on everything to do with hostas.

    • Jan said,

      June 6, 2009 at 4:54 am

      Thanks for more info on hostas, Ken. I have found that the hostas I grow can take a lot more sun than I thought they would. After Katrina, when we lost some very big trees that shaded the garden, I thought I would have to move all the hostas, but that hasn’t been the case. Some even are getting some afternoon sun and are still doing beautifully.

  7. Jake said,

    June 5, 2009 at 10:08 am

    After seeing your success and someome else’s here in FL, I think I will try some Hosta’s in the future. I left some awesome ones in KY because I was told they wouldn’t live.

    Jake

    • Jan said,

      June 6, 2009 at 5:00 am

      Jake, I think you should try some hostas. My experience has been that they do well here. I just wish I would have tried them earlier.


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