Praying Hands Hosta

I can’t get enough hostas in my garden. I also feel that way about Hellebores, Pulmonarias, Epimediums, dwaft conifers, ferns and Japanese Forest Grass. Like the color black, hostas go with just about anything and look good just about anywhere. To help us select excellent varieties, the American Hosta Growers Association established the Hosta of the Year in 1996. Varieties must perform well in all regions of the country and be widely available. I have some of their past selections—Mouse Ears (2008), Sum and Substance (2004), Guacamole (2002), June (2001) and Paul’s Glory (1999)—and love them more each year as their clumps grow in size. [As an aside, unless the size of the plant is getting unmanageable or they are begging to be shared with a friend, I can’t image why anyone would divide their hostas. Their impact in the garden just gets better as they get bigger.]



A few hostas to choose from.
Photo courtesy of Sebright Gardens.



This year’s Hosta of the Year is ‘Praying Hands’, has an upright form with tightly folded dark green leaves with a narrow gold margins that resemble hands folded in prayer. In the words of Tony Avent, Plant Delights Nursery, “Hosta ‘Praying Hands’ is the most un-hosta looking hosta to ever hit the market.” Seems it was introduced by Jerry Williams in 1996. It grows 14-18 inches tall. Late-summer flowers are shades of purple and attract hummingbirds. It’s hardy from USDA Zones 3-8 or 9 and will grow in part to dappled shade.


Photo Credit: Bowdenhostas.com

Most garden centers offer good selections of hostas and I suspect ‘Praying Hands’ will be on their shelves this year. Or visit Sebright Gardens north of Salem, Ore. They have an extensive selection in their catalog (you can download a copy of it from their Web site), in their shade house and in their display gardens. They also offer an extensive selection of hosta companion plants—many of the plants I can’t get enough of—so it’s worth a visit. The nursery opens again in April.