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Not for the fainthearted! Sum and Substance Hosta is a wildly over-the-top Spirit, and we love it in all its super-sized glory. When mature, this showstopper puts out giant, corrugated, chartreuse leaves, making a regal mound about 3 feet tall and 5 to 6 feet wide. Under optimal conditions, a single plant can reach NINE FEET WIDE. This is the state fair pumpkin of hostas—start a friendly competition on your block to see who can raise the largest one! In late summer, the fragrant, pale lavender flowers will attract hummingbirds, too. Choice.
- Hardiness Zone: 4-8
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Hostas are native to Japan, China, and Korea, but they have many passionate fans around the world. Over the years, plant breeders (along with some home gardeners) have introduced new Hosta selections whenever they’ve found a plant with unique traits. As a result, there are now thousands of varieties to pick from! Large, small, blue, green, gold, variegated, upright, or spreading—there’s something for everyone. Sum and Substance was introduced in 1980 by a prolific Hosta breeder, the late Paul Aden of Baldwin, New York. It is one of his finest selections.
Hostas are simple to grow, but one challenge Hosta growers do face is slugs. Slugs love these succulent Spirits. Because Sum and Substance Hosta has such thick, waxy foliage, however, it is largely slug-proof! They tend to shun it and go elsewhere in search of easier meals.
How to Grow
Take some care in siting Sum and Substance to achieve maximum wow factor. It needs some sun to bring out the yellow tones, but too much will burn the leaves. Morning sun is great. Give this specimen regular water for a lush effect. It will survive on less frequent irrigation, but will grow smaller in a dry spot. In deer-prone areas, treat with Plantskydd® to prevent grazing. Foliage will die back with the first frosts and can be cut back then. If you wish to dig and divide Sum and Substance, you can do it at any time, but late winter/early spring is best.
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