About this cultivar:
Hosta 'Frances Williams' was discovered by breeder Frances Williams in the mid-1930s. It is STILL a popular cultivar! It features very large blue-green leaves variegated with irregular greenish-yellow margins. The flowers often have lilac hues. The species name honours German doctor Philipp Franz van Siebold (1796-1866) who introduced many Japanese plants into European gardens.
More colour? From plantsgalore.com:
This large size (26 inches high or more) cultivar was registered by Connie Williams, the daughter of Frances Williams of Massachusetts in 1986. It was "discovered" in a Connecticut nursery in 1936 and is considered a sport of H. sieboldiana 'Elegans'. This cultivar was once known as H. sieblodiana 'Aureomarginata' before being renamed.
According to The Hostapedia by Mark Zilis (2009), this cultivar "...is named for the most influential person in the modern history of hostas. Her correspondence with other collectors, hybridizers, and botanists from the 1930s until her death in 1969 fanned the flames of interest in hostas and let to the formation of The American Hosta Society. She also developed some of the first hosta cultivars including 'Green Piecrust', 'Louisa', 'Sweet Susan' and 'Frances Williams'."
This cultivar has been awarded the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit in the UK. It was the Winner of the 1986 Alex J. Summers Distinguished Merit Hosta Award.
- Position: Full sun, partial shade, full shade
- Soil: Almost any soil, grows well in Ballyrobert
- Flowers: June, July
- Other features: Grows well in Ballyrobert, Interesting Foliage or Fruit, Suitable for Container, Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit (RHS AGM)
- Hardiness: Fully hardy - grows well in Ballyrobert! H7 - Hardy in the severest European continental climates (< -20°C)
- Habit: Clump forming
- Foliage: Deciduous
- Height: 45 - 75 cm (1.5 - 2.5 ft)
- Spread: 75 - 105 cm (2.5 - 3.5 ft)
- Time to full growth: 2 to 5 years
- Plant type: Herbaceous Perennial
- Colour: Blue, green, white, yellow
- Goes well with: Cornus, ferns, allium
About this genus:
Hosta (hos-ta) is a genus of plants commonly known as plantain lilies, giboshi, or the old botanical name Funkia. The name Hosta is in honor of the Austrian botanist Nicholas Thomas Host. However most modern plants were introduced from Japan to Europe by Philipp Franz von Siebold in the mid-19th century. Don't worry about Philipp's legacy being forgotten though; he has a species named after him! (Hosta sieboldiana).
Hosta are often touted as the best shade-loving plants for the perennial garden, which is hard to dispute. In cultivation, Hosta readily mutate and have produced thousands of novel colours and leaf forms (blue, gold, and variegated are the most popular). Because of their great foliage Hosta are often thought of as foliage-only plants, but it is worth noting that many cultivars have fantastic flowers - see "Sum and Substance" and "Stained Glass" for example.
You will read that for best performance, Hosta prefer to be out of full-sun. However if you live on these islands it is doubtful you will ever get any full-sun; so you may try them in your brightest spot as long as they have some moisture. You may have had some experience with slugs and Hosta. So have we. We have found that cultivars matter (some are tastier to slugs than others) so we try to grow only slug resistant cultivars or ones that grow so many new leaves the slugs can't keep up. We've also found that by not using chemicals little mites that eat slugs eggs are allowed to multiply and keep the population down - let nature runs its course! Some slug-loving -predator should turn up eventually!
How to use Hosta? Well, if you are paranoid about slugs, place the plant in the middle or back of the border where you can only see the upper part of the plant. Slugs don't climb so high so the lower leaves that get slug damaged won't be seen! As for plant partners we put some red stemmed dog-woods near or through them (Cornus), or large leaf -ferns. It is common to put bulbs in and around Hostas; we do it with Allium. But we don't do it with Narcissi or Tulipa; they don't like the competition!