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Looking for the best hosta to plant? If you’ve got a shady spot that needs brightening up, the classic Francee Hosta just might be the right plant for you.
The Francee Hosta is a medium-sized variegated hybrid hosta cultivar from Nebraska known for its dependable green leaves with thin white edging. Grown for its quick growth, low-maintenance upkeep, and tolerance of shady locations, this plant takes about five years to fully mature into that dense, picturesque hosta everyone loves.
From basic gardening tips to knowing which pests to watch for, take a look below for the ultimate guide on keeping your Francee Hosta healthy and happy!
Francee hostas: The basics
The Francee Hosta was developed by Minnie Klopping of Nebraska in the 1970s and introduced through the American Hosta Society in 1986. The Francee Hosta originated as a naturally-occurring “sport” mutation of Hosta albomarginata.
Since its introduction, Francee has become one of the most popular varieties of hosta ever introduced. This variety has also been used in the development of other popular hosta varieties. The Francee Hosta was awarded the prestigious RHS Award of Garden Merit in 1993.
With its large heart-shaped, dark green leaves (outlined in ivory), the Francee hosta is a medium-sized hosta plant. An individual clump tends to grow about 3′-4′ wide and just under two feet tall. On top of the beautiful green and white contrast of the Francee, tall, bright lavender flowers are sure to bloom somewhere around July, which only adds to the appeal of this hosta breed.
Planting Francee hostas
Francee hostas are easy to plant. They like rich, slightly acidic soil, often enriched with organic compost. Francee hostas need a spot of ground with medium shade and partial sun (anything more than morning light might be a little too harsh). Aside from that, hostas need moist soil, constantly. If the dirt goes dry, so will they, and the white margins on their leaves can start to turn brown.
Hostas can be planted using dormant bare roots or with potted hostas from the garden center. Hostas are best planted in the spring. Bare-root hostas are slightly more difficult to plant than potted ones, but still very manageable, even for beginners.
For the best results, hosta-owners suggest digging a hole that is wider than it is deep. Another thing to keep in mind is whether or not you’re planning on planting more than one hosta. If that’s the case, be sure to plant your hostas with enough space in between them so your garden doesn’t get too cramped or crowded. Francee Hostas are medium-sized hostas and are generally planted about 18-24 inches apart. Here are some more tips for how to plant hostas.
Francee hostas tend to grow most vigorously when planted in partial shade to partial sun. Harsh afternoon sunlight can cause scorching of the leaves. That said, most Francee plants appreciate some full sun in the morning, especially if the plants are young and growing rapidly. These hostas can tolerate short heat waves (even in the temperature range around 100°F (38°C), provided they have adequate water and shade.
“In an experiment conducted by the author, H. ‘Francee’ was grown for several years in a pot standing up to its crown in a pot in sunlight all day long without so much as a scorched margin. In normal soils, the same Hosta has to be grown in dappled shade to prevent leaf burn.”The New Encyclopedia of Hostas, by Diana Grenfell and Michael Shadrack
Caring for Francee hosta plants
Caring for Francee hosta plants generally involves making sure the plants have enough water, particularly when planted in hot climates, during heat waves, and when planted in naturally dry spots.
A good rule of thumb for watering hostas is to give them about 1” (25mm) of water each week. If the hostas receive this much rain that week, they likely don’t need to be watered, but any shortfall should be made up with supplemental watering. Try not to water the leaves of the Hosta, and instead apply the water directly to the soil overtop of the roots (drip irrigation works very well for hostas). Hostas are best done early in the morning (evening watering can encourage overnight slug and snail damage)
Pesky pests around Francee plants
Next on the agenda, are pests. These poor plants have got some enemies.
Some hosta pests include:
- Leaf Spot/ Crown Rot
Though these guys are common in any garden, slugs will go after your Francee hosta with a vengeance, (they must taste pretty good). And the best way of getting rid of them is pest control.
Though, if you’re looking for a little DIY way out of this, experienced gardeners suggest beer or sugar water traps. Fill a tuna can about halfway with some beer and bury it in the ground a bit (leaving it uncovered) near where the slug population is most prevalent. They’ll slip right into the bowl, with no way of getting out.
Sadly, the prettier the plant, the more enticing it is to wildlife. In this case, that wildlife includes deer. Deer love green and flowery plants, and they go crazy for Francee hosta. If it becomes a big problem, there’s repellent out there, and if you really want to put up a defense, fences.
Like the deer, voles are entranced by the plant, but unlike deer, voles will go for the surprise attack, (under the ground). Really, the best bet on avoiding vole damage to your hostas is repellant.
The easiest way to avoid spots and rot is to make sure you get that watering-to-sun ratio on the head. Too much water and too much humidity can cause rotting, so if you stick to the proper amounts, you should be in the clear.
Similar ornamental hosta varieties to Francee hostas
Here are some other similar hostas to the popular Francee hosta:
- Patriot Hosta (descended from Francee)
- Fire and Ice Hosta (descended from Francee)
- Frosted Jade Hosta
- Sarah Kennedy Hosta
- Ginko Craig Hosta
- Platinum Tiara Hosta
- Gloriosa Hosta
- Lakeside Cha Cha Hosta
- Great River Sonata Hosta
Whichever you choose, hostas are sure to brighten up your day and any garden!