Hosta of the Year 2012: 'Liberty'
Each year the American Hosta Growers Association chooses one plant to feature as the Hosta of the Year. For 2012, this honor is bestowed on ‘Liberty', a slow-growing, mid-sized plant with dramatically vareigated leaves. It is a patented sport of another very popular variety, 'Sagae'. Find out more about this cultivar in this article...
Hosta are among the most popular of perennials for shady areas, with hundreds of varieties now readily available. Each year the American Hosta Growers Association selects its Hosta of the Year to recognize hosta plants that are good garden plants in all regions of the country, are widely available, and retail for no more than $15 in the year of selection. Since 1996 they have chosen great varieties that have exceptionally decorative foliage, showy or fragrant flowers, and perform well throughout USDA hardiness zones 3-9. Their choice for 2012 is ‘Liberty’.
‘Liberty’ is a patented sport of Hosta ‘Sagae’ with heavy, blue-green leaves that was introduced by Plant Haven in 2000 (PP12531). This variegated beauty has lightly twisted leaves with wide, dramatically-streaked yellow margins that fade to creamy white by mid-season and a medium green center. The strong color contrast makes this a particularly appealing choice for brightening up any garden that has the space for this good-sized plant.
The slow-growing, vase-shaped plants form semi-upright clumps up to 2 feet tall and 3½ or more feet across. It takes a few years to mature and really show its stunning colors.
Being more upright and with more substantial leaves than other mid-sized hostas means they are more resistant to slugs than many other varieties. This variety does best in full shade in moist soil but will tolerate full sun in cool climates.
The white to very pale lavender flowers are produced on tall (40") scapes in early to midsummer.
This is a popular variety – it is the third most popular Hosta variety in polls by the American Hosta Society – that some consider the finest hosta ever introduced, so it is readily available from many sources.
- American Hosta Society – aims to promote, encourage, and foster the development, improvement, and enjoyment of the genus Hosta with information for everyone from beginners to long-time hosta-philes.
- Hosta ‘Liberty’ – on the Missouri Botanic Garden’s Kemper Center for Home Gardening website
- The Hosta Library – a reference library, with photos, discussion forums, and lots of links related to the genus
- The Hosta Network – offers 150 hosta varieties through Bishop’s Farms, but also has links to numerous societies, books and more
- The Hosta Forum on Garden Web – offers an opportunity to connect with other hosta lovers
- Ten Top Hostas – by Dr. Leonard Perry, Extension Professor, University of Vermont
– Susan Mahr, University of Wisconsin - Madison