Frances Williams Hosta
A Tried-and-True Classic Garden Hosta
If any hosta has stood the test of time, it’s Frances Williams Hosta (Hosta sieboldiana ‘Frances Williams’). This grande dame of the hosta world has graced gardens since the mid-1930s, while remaining consistently on gardeners’ popularity lists. Established plants can reach 5 feet in diameter, commanding attention in the shade garden by their sheer size as well as their bi-colored, heart-shaped leaves.
Huge Leaves and Pretty Flowers
Although hostas are primarily grown as foliage plants, Frances Williams Hosta blooms in summer to bring a double benefit to your garden.
1. Variegated leaves. The foliage is spectacularly colored in rich shades of bluish-green with creamy yellow edges. But the impact is not only colorful -- leaves are also textured, giving a corrugated or puckered appearance, and they can grow up to 12 inches long.
2. White flowers. Short flower spikes hold lily-like white flowers just above the foliage to add an extra burst of light to the shade garden in summer.
3. Hummingbird-friendly. Some hosta growers remove the flowers to have foliage-only plants, but watching hummingbirds fly from flower to flower on Frances Williams Hostas is a reason to keep the flowers intact!
Bold and Beautiful
If you want to make a bold design statement in your shade garden, put Frances Williams Hosta at the top of your must-have list. As a specimen plant, it will be a lovely focal point wherever you place it, but it’s even more breathtaking in a massed planting where individually spaced plants fill in bare garden spots. If you have a woodland garden, plant Frances Williams Hostas around trees or dotted along a walkway.
Planting and Care Tips
Once they’re established, Frances Williams Hosta plants are low-maintenance perennials that die to the ground each autumn before emerging even bigger and more beautiful the next spring.
• Planting. Carefully spread out the roots when you plant and keep the crown at, or slightly above, the soil surface. If you bury the crown, the plants may rot.
• Sun. Find a shady garden spot that receives a little morning sun and afternoon shade. If you plant in too much sun, the leaves may scorch.
• Soil. Rich soil is ideal; amended or top-dressed with compost.
• Water. New plants need regular watering to ease their root systems into their new “home.” Established plants prefer consistently moist, well-drained soil that never becomes soggy.
• Fertilizer. Plants need only a light application of an all-purpose, slow-release fertilizer once in spring.
• Pruning. Cut the flower spikes after the blossoms fade to return attention to Frances Williams Hosta’s foliage. After the leaves die back in fall, remove them while being careful not to damage the crown.