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Funkia (Hosta) Sieboldii - Hardy Perennial

Author: John Wood

Funkia (Hosta) Sieboldii - Hardy Perennials and Old Fashioned Flowers

Funkia (Hosta) Sieboldii Described.

Funkia (Hosta) Sieboldii - Siebold's Plantain-leaved Lily; Nat. Ord. Liliaceæ.

This is a grand plant; the lily-like flowers alone are sufficient to commend it, but when we have them springing from such a glorious mass of luxuriant and beautiful foliage, disposed with a charming neatness rarely equalled, they are additionally effective. The illustration gives a fair idea of the form and dimensions of a specimen three years ago cut from the parent plant, when it would not have more than two or three crowns, so it may be described as very vigorous; and, as if its beauties were not sufficiently amplified by flowers and form of foliage, the whole plant is of a rich glaucous hue, rendering it still more conspicuous and distinct. It is herbaceous and perfectly hardy, though it comes from the much warmer climate of Japan, whence are all the species of Funkia (Hosta). It is a comparatively new plant in English gardens, having been introduced into this country only about fifty years; still, it is pretty widely distributed, thanks, doubtless, to its exceptionally fine qualities. I know no plant more capable of improvement as regards size than this; if set in rich deep soil, it will in a few years grow to an enormous specimen. One so treated in my garden is 4ft. to 5ft. in diameter, and about the same height when the flower-stems are fully developed. I should, however, add that this is an unusual size, but it, nevertheless, indicates what may be done by high culture.

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Funkia (Hosta) Sieboldii

The flowers are produced on nude stems, 2ft. or 4ft. high, being arranged in somewhat short and irregular one-sided spikes; they spring singly from the axils of rather long bracts and have long bending pedicels, which cause the flowers to hang bell fashion; their colour is a soft pale lilac, nearly white. Size, 1in. to 2in. long, and bell or trumpet shaped. They are of good substance, and last a long time in fine form. The leaves have radical stalks, nearly 2ft. long in well-grown specimens, gracefully bending and deeply channelled; they are from 8in. to 12in. long, and about half as wide, long heart-shaped, somewhat hooded, waved, distinctly ribbed, and evenly wrinkled; glaucous and leathery. The outer foliage is so disposed that the tips touch the ground; it is abundantly produced, forming massive tufts. The long fleshy roots denote its love of a deep soil; a moist but well-drained situation suits it, and manure may be used—both dug in and as a top dressing—with marked advantage. The natural beauty of this subject fits it for any position—the lawn, shrubbery, borders, beds, or rockwork can all be additionally beautified by its noble form; grown in pots, it becomes an effective plant for the table or conservatory. The flowers in a cut state are quaint and graceful, and the leaves are even more useful; these may be cut with long stalks and stood in vases in twos and threes without any other dressing, or, when desired, a few large flowers may be added for a change, such as a panicle of Spiræa aruncus, a large sunflower, or a spike or two of gladioli. Leaves so cut may be used for weeks; after they have become dusty they may be sponged, when they will appear fresh, like new-cut ones.

In the propagation of this plant certain rules should be observed, otherwise the stock of young plants will prove stunted and bad in colour. Do not divide any but strong and healthy clumps, taking care not to damage more roots than can be helped; do not divide too severely, but let each part be a strong piece of several crowns, and after this they should be allowed to make three years' growth in a good, rich, deep soil before they are again disturbed, and thereby the stock will not only be of a vigorous character, but always fit for use in the most decorative parts of the garden.

Flowering period, July to September.

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