Some Late Fragrance

Hosta ' Cathedral Windows'

Hosta ‘ Cathedral Windows’


Starting in August, some cultivars of hosta start to display blooms that are overall larger than most and also quite fragrant. These plants not only add color to the garden, but are considered by some the only ones worth allowing to bloom (an opinion not shared by us). Like most hostas, the flowers range in color from white to shades of lavender and purple, but do tend to be somewhat larger and showier. The largest and showiest is all is H. plantaginea. With pure white flowers up to 6” long, strong fragrance, and being of fairly large size, it is a very impressive plant in the garden. Since it is the only species that is fragrant, all fragrant cultivars available today are sports of, or are hybridized, with the genes of H. plantaginea in them. Currently there are around 60 or so cultivars that are listed and registered as fragrant. The reality is that some of them are not great growers and some are certainly more fragrant than others. H. plantaginea is native to southern China and therefore is more tolerant of heat and sun. Here in the north it is a good idea to plant it and all of its derivatives in a warmer and sunnier spot in the garden than other cultivars. This promotes better growth and heavier flowering. Also keep in mind that pathways, decks, open windows, and patios are excellent choices to take advantage of the fragrance. The strongest fragrance is usually in the evening. With all of the work that has gone into hybridizing hostas, many of the fragrant ones combine exceptional foliage qualities as well and are very desirable even if not fragrant. Some of my favorites, besides H. plantaginea , are ’Fragrant Queen’, ‘Cathedral Windows’, ‘Stained Glass’, ‘Sweet Innocence’, ‘Austin Dickinson’, and ‘Royal Standard’.
Hosta' Cathedral Windows'

Hosta’ Cathedral Windows’

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