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From the lightest green to the deepest blue, hostas come in a wide spectrum of colors. (COURTESY NH HOSTA)

Hosta takeover: Add color to your New Hampshire landscape this fall

Adding a bit of color and texture to the garden is as simple as incorporating hostas into the landscape, and fall is the perfect time for buying and planting the durable and forgiving foliage.

Richard Merritt, owner of New Hampshire Hostas based in Seabrook, said October is a great time to incorporate hostas into the landscape.

&#';At this time of year, the soil is still warm and you need that for good root development,&#'; said Merritt. &#';You can plant hostas right up until about four weeks before the ground freezes and they'll do well.&#';

Hostas are a great plant for any kind of garden, said Merritt, because there are so many sizes, colors and varieties available.

&#';There's a big variation in the types of hostas that are available today,&#'; he said. &#';Some are as small as six inches, and then there are some that grow to span more than four feet.&#';

There are more than 7,500 registered varieties of hostas out there, and in Seabrook, Merritt's company has nearly 400 varieties available at any time. They come in colors that span the spectrum from the palest green to the deepest blue with both solid and variegated leaves. Some hostas have fragrant flowers, while others don't appear to flower at all.

&#';Our niche is the customer who wants something entirely different than what they could buy at a big box store,&#'; he said. &#';We like hostas that lend their own uniqueness to a garden and that are beautiful whether planted by themselves or surrounded by other plants.&#';

Though commonly thought of as a shade plant, Merritt said there are a number of varieties that like the sun, but all hostas need lots of water.

&#';They love moisture, they need moisture, and they're not going to grow to their fullest potential in a dry area,&#'; Merritt said. They also love organic matter, so mixing in lots of rich compost to the soil makes hostas happy.

Merritt's company also specializes in companion plants that grow well in the same conditions as hostas and provide some variety to the landscape.

&#';A lot of hostas tend to grow horizontally, so adding taller plants into the landscape creates some visual interest,&#'; he said.

Several varieties of ferns do very well growing with hostas, as do flowering plants like pulmonaria, dicentra and helleborus.

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