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Hostas: Plant This or That

Once summer hits its stride, it is great to have a couple of “workhorse” plants in your garden. These are plants that don’t wilt if we hit a dry spell and provide much needed color and texture;  flowers are a bonus. Hostas have been planted far and wide and it’s easy to see why. They tolerate shade, rarely get stressed and provide a bloom spike, often when it is needed most.

A great native alternative to the hosta, is hairy alum root  (Heuchera villosa ‘autumn bride’), above on the right and below. It tolerates dry shade wonderfully and provides a lovely white spire flower in late July that will often persist through late summer. In many spots, the foliage will stay green through the coldest months.  It’s a stellar performer and provides greater habitat value.

Autumn Bride Heuchera

Another great alternative is Christmas fern (Polystichum acrostichiodes) below. It is 2 feet or so when full grown; provides textural year-round interest and unfurling fiddleheads in spring. It also sways in the summer breeze, something hostas don’t usually do.

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We want you to be as excited about planting Chesapeake natives as we are. “Plant This or That” gives you a native alternative to popular plants. Other posts highlight really fabulous fauna native to the Chesapeake.

Nuts for Natives, avid gardener, Baltimore City admirer, Chesapeake Bay Watershed restoration enthusiast, and public service fan.

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