Praying Hands Hosta
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… and lead us not into slugs, but deliver us from deer. Amen. What are they praying for? We have no idea, but that’s what Praying Hands Hosta is supposed to suggest—dozens of tiny hands folded in prayer. You may have to squint to get the reference, but in any case, this is one distinctive and cool little Spirit! It holds it foliage on long stalks, the wavy green leaves, edged in cream, pointing heavenward. Praying Hands makes a divine small specimen, whether in a pot on the patio or planted out in a shady nook in the garden.
- Hardiness Zone: 4-8
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In the late 1980s, Gerry Williams, a homeowner, was shopping at a nursery in Pequot Lakes, Minnesota, when he saw a Hosta he’d never seen before. The contorted little Spirit had no tag, and the nursery owner didn’t even know how it got there. Gerry bought it for $3.95. As it grew, he divided it and shared it with friends. Eventually, he realized he had something truly special; he officially registered the plant in 1996. His daughter suggested the name “Praying Hands” because she thought it resembled the famous Albrecht Dürer painting.
In 2011, the American Hosta Growers Association selected Praying Hands as their choice for “Hosta of the Year.” This award is a great honor—not bad for an unlabeled mutant plant found at the back of a northern Minnesota nursery!
How to Grow
Hostas love shade, but a little bit of sun doesn’t hurt Praying Hands. Morning sun is great and will help to bring out the variegation in its foliage. Provide regular moisture. Slugs can be problematic with Hostas, but because Praying Hands holds its leaves so high off the ground, it’s less susceptible than most. 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 Praying Hands, you can do it at any time, but late winter/early spring is best.
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