Shade-loving and easy to grow, hostas are one of the most commonly grown plants. But have you ever thought of trying out a pint-size version of this greenery? Step into hosta heaven with a selection of miniature hostas from our 2016 issue of <i>Mini Gardens & Terrariums</i>.
The American Hosta Society classifies mini hostas (they prefer "mini" to "miniature") as plants with leaf blades no longer than 4-1/2 inches and no bigger than about 4 square inches. Mature plants (five years old) must not be taller than 6 inches.
You don't need a shovel to plant tiny hostas—a trowel will do. Plant them in well-drained soil enriched with compost in a shady spot. (In pots, mix a little compost with the potting soil.) The crowns should sit at soil level. Mulch around mini hostas to conserve moisture, limit weeds, and show off the plants.
Generally, yellow-leaf hostas are the most sun-tolerant; hostas with white centers also need some sunlight. At Flying Frog Farms, Marsha Ansevics gives her hostas a balanced granular fertilizer once a month in summer. Fertilizer might burn hosta foliage, she says, so water well after applying it to knock the fertilizer off the leaves. She also feeds her hostas with a water-soluble fertilizer once a month from May through August.
Keep an eye on young plants, especially their first year when they might need a little extra watering. "If they seem to be going downhill, move them," Marsha says. Mini hostas are also susceptible to frost heaving in spring; a rock or a brick tucked near the crown of each plant should help to prevent heaving. Hostas are hardy in Zones 3–9.
Miniature hostas are perfect as border plants or to fill small spaces in a rock garden. We showcased some of our favorites in vintage McCoy planters to reveal their diminutive statures. Pair a mini hosta with other foliage in a container or let it make a statement on its own. Although these varieties are all pint-size, not all of them are technically "miniature."
1. 'Radio Waves'
2. 'Pandora's Box'
3. 'Silver Threads and Golden Needles'
4. 'Blue Mouse Ears'
6. 'Dragon Tails'
7. 'Frosted Mouse Ears'
9. 'Chartreuse Wiggles'
10. 'Baby Bunting'
11. 'Dixie Chickadee'
12. 'Faithful Heart'
13. 'Mighty Mouse'
14. 'Little Jay'
15. 'Tears of Joy'
16. 'Holy Mouse Ears'
19. 'Cracker Crumbs'