September 25, 2011

Plant of the month:
Hosta of the Equinox

I take Hostas for granted. I know I shouldn’t, but I do.

They’re so prolific here, sometimes I forget how spectacular they can be. People have said to me, “Don’t the rabbits eat your Hostas?” Well, they probably do, but there are so many plants, the rabbits can hardly make a dent.

If you want expert information about the thousands of varieties of Hostas, check out Carolyn’s blog: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens. So many to choose!

But the little beauty I’m focusing on this month is one I rarely thought much about until I started blogging. You see, it’s a late-bloomer. And before starting this blog, usually by this time in the growing season I was spending more time inside, letting the garden go to rest, watching football games, and starting my next big crochet project.

Then, for the September Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day I happened to notice this Hosta was in full bloom, while the others were long past their prime. Here’s what it looked like on the bloom day:

And here it is nearly two weeks later:

Since most of the Hostas in this garden were planted by the previous owners, I don’t know all the cultivars. So it took a bit of research to determine this late-bloomer’s name.

Searches for information on late-blooming Hostas revealed several options, including: Hosta densa, Golden Prayers, August Moon, Prairie Moon, Invincible. But none of them seemed quite right.

Then I started reading about another cultivar: small mound; medium-size, bright green leaves; lavender flowers (in some light they appear periwinkle blue); tall stalks. And then the kicker: According to the Hosta Library, they’re often referred to as “Hosta of the Equinox.” That would be about right, wouldn’t it?

Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe this plant is Hosta aequinoctiiantha. When 90% of the garden is dying back, it’s in full bloom. It might just be my favorite Hosta—at least for now.


  1. I love hostas that bloom late in the fall. I have H. lancifolia that looks similar to yours. The flowers are also a darker lavender than the summer bloomers. I also noticed a new hosta 'Blueberry Cobbler' blooms now and has sky blue, dense flowers that I really enjoy.

    Thanks for linking to me. Hosta lovers might also enjoy my posts on miniature hostas (my most popular all time post) and larger hostas, which they can find by searching my blog.

  2. What a great name - it reminds you when it blooms! I could never take Hostas for granted because they are very hard to grow here with our hot dry summers and alkaline clay soil. One of my ambitions is to successfully grow just one Hosta!

  3. They look very lovely. And it is very nice that they bloom late.
    Now I will remember not to take hostas for granted too

  4. I used to work for a flowerbulb company, and I always turned my nose up at hostas. I felt that they were too ordinary when compared to the beauty of a Tulip, or an Oriental Lily. However, as I've grown wiser (and have two kids underfoot), I've come to appreciate hostas for all their worth. They hide messy bulb foliage while it's dying back, they spread wonderfully, and they rarely need to be babysat! Love the purple blooms!

  5. @Carolyn: Blueberry Cobbler sounds delightful (the dessert and the plant)! I will definitely be checking back with your blog for more ideas. Thanks!

    @Lyn: I remember presenters poo-pooing Hostas at various garden workshops I've attended. And they are pretty basic around here. But Hostas provide the "bones" for my garden, so I need to sing their praises occasionally.

  6. @Fer: Thank you. I wonder which Hostas might grow well in a balcony garden? Do you see them quite a bit in Japan?

    @Denine: Yes, I agree with everything you said. One of my friends frequently uses the blooms in flower arrangements. Some are better as cut flowers than others, but the ones that work are fantastic.

  7. Lovely close-ups of the flowers, such a gorgeous colour. I also really like the combination in your first photo, great textures. If I ever wind up gardening somewhere that hostas stand a chance against the slugs and snails I will have to remember that some bloom so much later than most. Thank you!

  8. @Janet: Thanks! It's easy to overlook the late-bloomers especially because everything around them is turning brown in this time of year. But if you get close, they're lovely!

  9. Oh those late blooms are so gratifying. Hostas are tough. Slugs and voles might bring them down but not drought or cold. I can see why you love this one.

  10. Thanks for identifying this hosta--I have one of these, too! Whether the name is correct or not, I love the name, perfect for this welcome late bloomer. Although I have a few hostas that I've kept the tags for, most of mine are either divisions of passalongs or bargain purchases without any names. Still, I love them all. They provide a reliable sea of green even during a hot, dry summer like we just went through.

  11. If you want to be sure you need to send the pictures to He owns Made in the Shade Gardenes here in Kansas City and a fellow master gardener who I'm sure he will be happy help you.

  12. @Layanee: I think I really took it for granted until this year when I went out to photograph blooms for GBBD. So I'll appreciate it more from now on.

    @Rose: Yeah, they're the workhorses and bones of my back garden. I need to appreciate them more.

    @Patrick: Thanks for the tip. I'll check it out!

  13. So is that the secret to the rabbit vs. hostaproblem--just plant more than they can eat? Maybe I'll have to beg some off divisions off of friends next spring and give it a try! I have a perfect shady spot for them.

  14. I believe I have the same hosta, as yours with the late lavender blooms, small all-green leaves. It is in Mid-Coast Maine and blooming now (Sept. 3). I have another I am trying to identify, larger all green leaves, BIG long trumpets (six inches) white and fragrant. Also in bloom now. Do you know this other variety is called?