- 01 November 2012
So many new hostas appear each year that it's hard to keep up with them all. Some are much the same as existing varieties but a few are both distinctive and useful in the garden.
'Purple Heart' (above, click to enlarge) is the culmination of a programme designed to create new hostas with a red leaf stem and with red colouring at the base of the foliage. Each leaf is about 7in/18.5cm long and 4.5in/11.7cm wide, dark green at first then becoming slightly paler green and yellowish green underneath.
The special feature is that the leaf stems are very dark maroon in colour, almost black, and the red colouring extends up into the leaf itself as dense spotting along the base of the midrib and also into the base of the side veins. The rather open habit of the plant shows off the colouring well.
Compared with two existing, widely grown, red stemmed forms 'Purple Heart' makes a significantly larger plant than 'Little Red Rooster', which reaches only about 6in/15cm in height, and it is also taller than the 10in/25cm 'Red October' and with red colouring which is noticeably more intense.
In addition to the attractive foliage, the flowers of 'Purple Heart' are also a good feature. About thirty flowers are held on reddish stems about 15in/38cm long, each flower is flower is pale mauve, darker at the base. The flowers set no seed and may last as long as eight weeks. Plants reach about 15in/38cm high and 30in/90cm wide.
Hosta 'Purple Heart' was developed by Gary Gossett at Terra Nova Nurseries in Portland, Oregon