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ecomike1
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When Are Hosta Leaves Fully Emerged & Hardened Off? Zone 6

Hi everybody, I'm a gardener from a Zone 6b, New England region, and I have a question for an observing gardener.

I'm currently designing a garden and am trying to create a successional planting with Hostas, Ferns, Bleeding Heart, Astilbe (it's a shady corner) and a few others. Anyway, I'm wondering when the Hosta leaves are fully emerged and close to hardened off?

Basically, I'm wondering if I plant bleeding heart in between the Ferns and Hosta's if the bleeding heart will be up before the hosta or not? I would love to have some early colour, after the bulbs, to keep grabbing my eye.

Thanks,
Mike

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rainbowgardener
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I'm in 6b also, even though south and west of you. The bleeding heart is an early spring plant so yes, would appear before the hosta is very leafed out and would bloom well before the hosta blooms. But in my garden at least the bleeding heart needs a lot of encouragement (my soil isn't acid enough for it) where as the hosta grows rampant. So you'd have to be a bit careful about the hosta crowding the bleeding heart out.

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ecomike1
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Great!

What if the soil is acidic, would the growth of the Hosta be a little restrained? The garden is beneath an Austrian Pine so the Bleeding heart should grow well.

Thanks,
Mike

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rainbowgardener
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Nothing much restrains hostas! (except full sun) They thrive anywhere from fairly acid to fairly alkaline. Just need to keep an eye on them and cut them back some or divide frequently.

tahota
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I would avoid putting Dicentra between your Hostas, unless you give them plenty of space and bright light. ...most Dicentras (bleeding hearts) like more sun than Hostas.

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Rose White
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Re: Hosta question...Zone 6

ecomike1 wrote:Hi everybody, I'm a gardener from a Zone 6b, New England region, and I have a question for an observing gardener.

I'm currently designing a garden and am trying to create a successional planting with Hostas, Ferns, Bleeding Heart, Astilbe (it's a shady corner) and a few others. Anyway, I'm wondering when the Hosta leaves are fully emerged and close to hardened off?

Basically, I'm wondering if I plant bleeding heart in between the Ferns and Hosta's if the bleeding heart will be up before the hosta or not? I would love to have some early colour, after the bulbs, to keep grabbing my eye.

Thanks,
Hostas are my favorites for my woodland garden. My other house had a lot of grass (which I do not like to mow) so I outlined all the walks and trees with hostas and kept them divided so that they formed nice 3-foot circles. In the woods I plant a shorter varigated variety along both sides of my long drive and they light up the area. I planted the aphrodesia hosta next to my deck so that I can appreciate their sweet fragrance every time I walk by.

I like to plant spring bulbs between my large hosta plants. When the early spring bulbs die back the hosta leaves cover them nicely.

Enjoy. :flower:

Turbosaurus
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I will reiterate the idea you need to give the bleeding hearts plenty of room.

They do begin to come up earlier than the hostas, and they bloom much earlier. ( iwant to say the bleeding hearts are in bloom almost immidiately when they come up, just after the tulips die off, but the Hostas don't bloom until July) They grow 2.5-3' tall, you have a little more wiggle room if they are going in with a low growing hosta- I wouldn't put them next to a very large leaf variety.

I have also never had luck with them in full shade, they stay pretty ratty if they don't get some sun.
The plural of anecdote is not data.
Yonkers, NY Zone 7

MaineDesigner
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We need to get a little more specific about the plants involved. What is usually called Old-fashioned or Common Bleeding Heart is Dicentra spectabilis. These are fairly good sized plants typically 2-1/2 to 3 feet tall and they do show a strong tendency toward foliage decline in mid to late summer, especially if they aren't getting consistent moisture or too much heat. They are native to Korea and NE China. There is also a group of lower growing (10" - 16") Bleeding Hearts including the North American native species Dicentra eximia (Fringed Bleeding Heart) and Dicentra formosa (Western Bleeding Heart) as well as some close relatives from Asia. In my experience these species and their hybrids continue to look good much later in the season than D. spectabilis typically does. I wouldn't put any of these in really deep shade but most of them do well in light to moderate shade. Under an Austrian Pine (Pinus nigra) the biggest issue may be maintaining adequate moisture for the Dicentras. Hostas will tolerate dry shade better. You might want to consider Epimedium species as they are earlier than Hostas and fairly tolerant of dry shade once established. Most of them are small plants so don't plant them where large Hostas will engulf them as they leaf out. Other good options for dry shade (likely under an Austrian Pine) are Polygonatum species (Solomon's Seal), Geranium phaeum, Filipendula vulgaris, Iris cristata, Vancouveria hexandra (American Barrenwort, a close relative of Epimediums from the Pacific NW), and maybe Brunnera macrophylla, Helleborus or Heuchera. Almost all of these do best in light shade. If you want to use ferns I would suggest either Dryopteris filix-mas (Male Fern) or its relative Dryopteris marginalis (Marginal Wood Fern) as they tend to be among the more drought tolerant ferns.

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