Horticultural Highlight: Hosta 'Kiwi Full Monty'
In this series, the staff of Duke Gardens highlights plants you’ll find within our 55-acre living collection. This week assistant horticulturist Mandy Cuskelly features one of her favorite hostas.
Botanical name: Hosta 'Kiwi Full Monty'
Common name: Hosta
Family name: Asparagaceae (Asparagus Family)
Plant type: Herbaceous perennial
Native range: Japan, Korea, China and eastern Russia
Location in Duke Gardens: Walker Dillard Kirby Perennial Allée in the Historic Gardens
Site requirements: Part shade to full shade
USDA Hardiness Zones: 3-8
We have many cultivars of hostas in the Historic Gardens, but ‘Kiwi Full Monty’ is my favorite at the moment. This hosta is a step above the others for me right now because of its striking color contrast. ‘Kiwi Full Monty’ has a dark green/blue outer region and a light green center, with white streaks in between. As if those colors weren’t good enough, the entire leaf is covered with wax! Fun fact: did you know that the dusty blue appearance some hostas have on the top and bottom of their leaves comes from wax? This wax tends to fade as the summer goes on, which leads the colors underneath to show differently. It’s fun all season long.
This hosta is a vigorous grower. Small divisions I have taken have spread to several eyes within a season. This plant does well in our perennial border and man-ages to hold its own against anemones—if you’ve ever grown an anemone, you know what kind of a feat that is.
When siting this hosta, a part sun location is ideal. A good rule to follow with hostas is the sunnier the location, the more water they need. Go for morning sun and afternoon shade if you can. Hostas also do well in containers, so don’t be afraid to place them in pots in your garden for added interest.
If you’re a fan of hostas, we have a new pot display at the entrance to the Memorial Garden that features many different cultivars. We hope you enjoy it!
Photos by Mandy Cuskelly (above) and Beth Hall Hoffman (below).