Growth rate in hostas does not refer to how fast they come up in the spring and develop their new leaves. Rather, it relates to how rapidly they add new buds i.e. divisions, to the crown so that the clump can enlarge. As discussed previously, the size categories deal with mature clumps after 5 or 6 years of growth. That clump size, especially its width, will be determined by the number of new buds the plant has added each year since first being planted.

The registration form refers to three growth rate categories; Slow, Medium and Fast. Of course, in the individual garden, these are relative classifications, since how a particular hosta responds may be governed by local growing conditions. So, to guarantee that Cultivar A will always add 5 new divisions during a growing season would be impossible to insure. However, in any garden, a slow growing type should expand at a rate that is slower than that of a medium growing plant which, in turn, should be slower than a fast grower.

Fast growing cultivars such as H. 'Potomac Pride' may put on 20 divisions or more over a 5 year stretch while a slow grower like H. 'Aspen Gold' may only add 4 or 5. There are a few generalities that relate to the rate at which a hosta will grow. For instance, many of the smaller hostas such as the Tiara Series that are used for the front of the border or for ground covers mostly grow at a fast rate. Often, you can plant a single bud division in the fall and by the following autumn there will be 3 or 4 new divisions that have been generated.

Another generality might be that hostas with a high level of variegation will put on divisions more slowly than similar hostas that are fully green. Having a lot of white or yellow variegation in the foliage means a lack of chlorophyll. This can lead to "delicate" plants that are more easily stressed by lack of water or too much hot sunlight late in the summer resulting in slower growth and expansion.

1. Fast Growing Hostas - Plants in this category will multiply quickly in landscape which means that they produce large numbers of buds each season which result in a larger clump in the following year. These plants will grow into a mature clump very quickly and may require division more frequently.

2. Moderate Growing Hostas - This group of hostas expands at a rate slower than the fast growers and faster than the slow growers...wow, what a definition. Actually, that relative description is as good as any since we are not aware of any specific measurements that would make the definition more precise. The vast majority of hostas fall into this category so we have not separated them into a category like we have for fast and slow growers.

3. Slow Growing Hostas - Generally, these are hostas that add buds to the crown very slowly. It takes several years for these to reach their mature clump size.

 

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