Hosta ‘Christmas Tree’
Hosta plants are among the most popular for shady areas. This Christmas Tree variety is stunning and a great contrast to another that you may already have. Hosta ‘Christmas Tree’ has a sturdy mound of large, puckered green leaves with a streaky white margin, topped with lily-like Pale lavender flowers on tall, leafy stalks. The corrugation on the leaves brings texture to your garden and adds to the beauty of this large hosta. To quote Van Wade: “…flowers in July produce a flower with vestigial leaves in the shape of a Christmas tree, hence its name.” It makes a very nice pod parent, passing along a number of desirable characteristics. Grows to 50cms high. Frost hardy and prefers part shade to deep shade.
Hostas go completely dormant in Autumn and the dying foliage can be removed any time before mid spring and then easily divided in spring or Autumn, or they may be left alone for years.
Useful companion & ground-cover
Hostas are exceptionally good companions with early bulbs such as daffodils, as they have their timing just right to emerge with their glorious Hosta foliage, and cover up the dirty tea towels that the bulb foliage has become as it dies back.
They look spectacular mass planted, in either single or mixed variety, or as edges in the shade.
Keeping them in raised big tubs in the shade also gives you the opportunity to keep the snails at bay easily, as well as have a spectacular feature.
Both the flower spires and the leaves make lovely cut flowers and vase specimens.
Surprisingly dry tolerant
Hostas are surprisingly dry tolerant once established.
So despite an incorrect reputation, they are not thirsty plants once they have got their roots down.
Consequently drying out a little between waterings is actually to their taste.
They are reliably frost hardy, enjoy average to fertile soil with compost, and are happiest in a pH range just on either side of neutral.
So not hard to please at all.
Growing: Hosta ‘Christmas Tree’
– Height with flowers: Spires of trumpets to 45cm. approx.
– Width: Will quickly make a circle of 80cm. diameter approx. It makes an excellent groundcover.
– Position: Part Shade to Full Shade. It can take gentle Dappled Sun and Morning Sun.
– Soil: They enjoy average to fertile soil, and are happiest a pH in a range just on either side of neutral between 5.5 and 7.5. They love humus and organic matter in the soil. Clay soil will need to be opened up with compost for them.
– Frost: Very frost hardy to well below minus 10C.
– Growth: Herbaceous perennial clump. Deciduous in the winter and giving a colourful autumn foliage colour change.
– Fragrance: Not particularly for ‘Christmas Tree’, though some Hostas are deliciously fragrant.
Delicious culinary treat – if you can spare them from the garden
– Beneficial to wildlife: Bees of all breeds and small honey-eating birds love foraging the trumpet flowers for nectar. Holes bored in the base of the trumpet mean a big bee was too fat to get in the front door.
– Beware: Hosta leaf shoots and flowers are prized as delicious food in Japan, and they are not toxic to humans. However they are very toxic to dogs, cats and horses if they eat them. Sadly deer follow the Japanese, and eat them with enthusiasm and no upset tummies.
– Care: Easy care once established, and protected from slugs and snails (and deer).
– Deer & Rabbit resistant: Sadly rabbits and deer love eating them.
An interesting history
– Origin: Ground zero for Hostas was the shady forests of China. But even over 2,000 years ago gardeners in China, Japan, and Korea were collecting, trading and breeding them. They had taken European gardeners by storm by the 1830’s, when they began to be traded out of Japan.