Patriot hosta

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If you are a gardener looking into fitting your flowerbed with some new plants, you may want to look into getting a Patriot Hosta. This little plant has some features that might surprise you!

The Patriot hosta is a shade-tolerant perennial plant that features variegated leaves with deep green centers and white edges. This cultivar is a medium-to-large-sized variety with a foliage mound reaching four feet wide and up to 2 feet high. These plants are known as low-maintenance landscaping plants that can brighten up low-light areas of the yard.

Read on for further details about Patriot hostas, their growing conditions, health concerns, and tips about giving them the best care!

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Introduction to Patriot hostas

The Patriot Hosta was developed by John Lee Machen Jr. of Mobjack Nursery in Virginia. This variety was introduced in 1991, and soon became one of the most popular hosta cultivars in the marketplace.

Patriot Hostas originated as a “sport” (mutation) of the popular Francee Hosta. The Patriot Hosta was named the 1997 Hosta of the Year by the American Hosta Growers Association, and went on to receive the prestigious RHS Award of Garden Merit in 2012.

Patriot Hostas are very visually appealing plants and are known for being fairly versatile. As mentioned above, they have deep green centers and creamy white or yellow margins. They are pretty easy to care for; they are usually known to be happy in partial shade, though they can actually tolerate full shade if needed. They can be used in landscaping, as ground cover, as an edging plant, in a planter pot, or as part of a woodland garden. There are no limits!

Patriot hosta leaf

Patriot Hostas tend to bloom in mid-summer. It is advisable to water them directly on the soil under the leaves. The Patriot Hosta is an excellent choice for a background plant due to its pleasing color and versatile uses. You can plant it in the shade and it will thrive just fine as long as it is well cared for. It can handle the conditions if the soil’s pH is anywhere from neutral to acidic, so that’s one thing you won’t have to worry much about.

Patriot Hostas are often used to develop new hosta varieties. Some hosta cultivars developed as sports from Patriot include Fire and Ice Hosta, Loyalist Hosta, Midnight Ride Hosta, Patriot’s Fire Hosta, Paul Revere Hosta, and Patriot’s Green Pride Hosta.

Patriot hosta plant at garden center

Planting Patriot hostas

Patriot Hostas are easy to plant. Plants are either sold as potted plants in the garden center during the growing season or shipped as dormant plants during the fall or early spring.

Choose a partially-shaded planting location with bright, indirect light. Patriot Hostas are somewhat tolerant of direct sunlight but will need frequent watering in those locations.

Patriot hosta plant being shipped
Dormant hosta plants are commonly shipped in autumn for fall planting.
Dormant patriot hosta plant
Some dormant hosta plants are shipped with soil around the roots (as above), while others are shipped bare-root with no soil at all.
Planting dormant patriot hosta
Plant your dormant hosta plant as soon as you receive it!

Hostas in small pots can be planted with the pot’s soil level even with the surrounding garden soil. Bare root hostas can be planted just below the soil level.

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Caring for Patriot hostas in the garden

The Patriot Hosta is a fairly hardy plant, that is, as long as you give it the care it needs and deserves. Here are some tips for caring for your hosta.

Patriot Hosta is a very shade-tolerant plant. If you plant it out in your flowerbed, make sure to place it in an area with plenty of shade and a little sunlight as long as it is not direct sunlight. As a matter of fact, gardeners living in extra hot climates could even put their Patriot Hostas in a full-shade area. Sunlight is good, but too much of it will dry out your hosta. This could result in less vegetation, dull coloration, and shriveled, browning leaves.

When choosing soil for your Patriot Hosta, choose one that has excellent drainage. Patriot Hostas tend to be tolerant of most soil types, but they do thrive particularly well in rich and fertile soil. If you so choose, you could add a bit of organic compost and mix that with your chosen soil blend. This will provide additional nutrients for your plant and help it to thrive. If you are growing your hosta in a pot, make sure whichever one you choose has plenty of drainage holes.

Compost is quite possibly the best fertilizer you will find for a Patriot Hosta. If compost is your fertilizer of choice, you should work some into the hosta’s soil several times a year. This will maximize nutrition. Slow-release fertilizer is also an option. Apply it once a season to your Patriot Hosta. As with watering, you should be careful to only apply this fertilizer to the soil/roots. Be careful not to get any fertilizer grains on the leaves as that could cause them to burn and shrivel up.

Patriot Hostas typically require fairly moist soil at all times to be happy. Once a hosta has been established in your landscape, it can tolerate dry spells a tad better, but it certainly will not last long through periods of drought. It is advisable to water a Patriot Hosta at least once a week and even more during dry or extra-hot periods of time. As mentioned before, you should make sure to water the hosta directly on the soil under the leaves rather than on top of the leaves. Getting the top of the vegetation wet could potentially attract snails and slugs.

As far as temperature and humidity go, the Patriot Hosta is not an overly picky plant. They are usually happy with any temperature and can even withstand temperatures as low as -40˚F. It will usually take about six weeks of a temperature like that before the plant will go dormant. The Patriot Hosta is tougher than it looks!

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Growing Patriot hostas: Pests and problems

The first problem you’re likely to have with a Patriot Hosta is actually less of a problem for the plant than it is for you. All hostas are actually toxic to pets such as cats, dogs, and horses. They are completely safe for humans, but if your hosta is in a place where one of your furry friends might get to it, you should definitely exercise caution. If your horse, cat, or dog, is exhibiting any worrying symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea, bloating, lethargy, loss of appetite, abdominal pain), seek the help of a vet right away.

As far as pests go, slugs and snails are probably the worst culprits. It is generally a good idea to treat your hosta with some sort of bait or deterrent (and of course, pick off any snails or slugs you might happen to see). If the hosta has a snail problem that goes unattended, it could cause your hosta some serious damage. You will know you have a possible infestation if you start seeing brown or holey leaves.

Additionally, deer and rabbits might find their way into your flowerbed every once in a while to munch on your hostas. If this happens, your best bet (if possible) is to move the Patriot Hosta closer to the front of your house. Woodland creatures are far less likely to venture there and that might be enough to keep your plants safe.

As far as diseases go, there is only one you need to worry about for your Patriot Hosta and that is the Hosta Virus X (HVX). This is a virus that affects pretty much every variety of hosta and any other plant if it is allowed to spread. The thing about HVX is, it can’t be cured. If you suspect one of your hostas has it, the best thing you can do is pull it up and destroy the plant/burn it.

Similar hostas to Patriot hostas

Here are some hosta cultivars with green and white variegated leaves similar to the Patriot hosta:

  • Fire & Ice Hosta
  • Francee Hosta
  • Liberty Hosta
  • Moon River Hosta
  • Regal Supreme Hosta
  • Minuteman Hosta
  • Percy Hosta
  • Queen Josephine Hosta
  • Bold Intrigue Hosta
  • Lakeside Kaleidoscope Hosta

Companion planting with Patriot hosta

Patriot Hosta is a fantastic option for pairing with other foliage and flowering perennials and shrubs in the shade garden. These shorter hostas are lovely in front of flowering bushes like different types of Hydrangeas, or rhododendrons/azaleas. Flowers like Cranesbill Geraniums and Astilbe add some blooms into low-light areas. You can add some texture with angular foliage like the leaves of Japanese Forest Grass or Japanese Iris. Here are some more ideas for hosta companion plants.

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Mary Jane Duford
Mary Jane Duford

Mary Jane Duford is a Master Gardener and founder of the gardening website Home for the Harvest. She has been featured by Better Homes & Gardens, Real Simple, Good Housekeeping, Mother Earth News, and the National Garden Bureau. Mary Jane lives with her family in the Okanagan Valley.