The Francee hosta (Hosta 'Francee') is a popular hosta cultivar. It is known for its dark green, arching, broad, heart-shaped leaves that feature white margins. The leaves stretch around 6 to 8 inches long on average, and their color generally doesn’t degrade throughout the growing season (spring to fall). While the foliage is the main star of this plant, during the summertime the Francee hosta also bears lavender flowers. The plant has a dense, mounding growth habit. And it has a fairly quick growth rate, taking around five years to fully mature. The Francee hosta is best planted in the early spring after the threat of frost has passed or early fall after the summer heat has eased up.
|Botanical Name||Hosta 'Francee'|
|Common Names||Francee hosta, Francee plantain lily, Francee funkia|
|Plant Type||Herbaceous, perennial|
|Mature Size||1–2 ft. tall, 1–3 ft. wide|
|Sun Exposure||Partial, shade|
|Soil Type||Loamy, clay, moist, well-drained|
|Soil pH||Acidic, neutral, alkaline|
|Bloom Time||June to August|
|Hardiness Zones||3–9 (USDA)|
|Toxicity||Toxic to animals|
Francee Hosta Care
In general, Francee hostas are low-maintenance plants. As long as they are situated in ideal growing conditions, they should come back year after year. The main care task typically is making sure they have enough water and watching out for pests and diseases.
Divide crowded mature plants as needed. Spring and fall are both good times to divide this perennial, though more people find it easier to perform this job in spring. That's because the leaves haven't unfurled yet, so the plants are less cumbersome to work with.
In the cooler parts of its growing zones, the Francee hosta can grow in partial shade. Morning sun or dappled light conditions are ideal. But in the warmer parts of its growing zones, the plant should be situated in full shade. Too much light can burn the foliage.
This plant prefers organically rich soil. Loamy or clay soils can work, as long as there is adequate drainage. Moreover, it can tolerate a slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soil pH.
The Francee hosta thrives in consistently moist but not soggy soil. Never let the soil dry out. Soil that is too dry can cause the leaf margins to turn brown. It’s ideal to water directly into the soil and not from above the leaves, as water sitting on the foliage for too long can create prime conditions for fungal diseases.
Temperature and Humidity
This plant is not overly fussy about temperature or humidity, as long as it has enough shade and soil moisture. In extremely hot weather, you’ll likely have to water more frequently. Also, aim to situate your hostas in a spot that’s protected from strong winds, which can damage the foliage.
One of the best ways to meet this plant’s need for rich soil is to mix a layer of compost into the soil of its growing site each spring as new growth starts. If you have very nutrient-poor soil, you also can apply a balanced organic fertilizer in the spring, following label instructions. But avoid getting any fertilizer granules caught in the leaves, as this can burn them.
Besides the Francee hosta, there are several other hosta varieties, including:
- Ground Sulphur: Rather than the typical green leaves, this variety features yellow foliage.
- Fire Island: This variety also has vivid yellow foliage that fades to chartreuse throughout the growing season.
- Blue Moon: This hosta features blue-green leaves and white flowers that bloom in the late summer.
Common Pests and Diseases
A small pest that delights in devouring hostas is the garden slug. Do not underestimate the severity of the damage slugs can cause. There are a number of ways to control slugs. One popular method is to sink a bowl of beer into the ground; slugs will be drawn to the beer, fall in, and drown.
Deer also can present a problem for hosta growers. You can try fencing deer out or driving them away with repellents. But if you have a bad deer problem in your area, you might simply want to grow deer-resistant plants instead. Furthermore, voles are rodents that do their damage to hostas at or under ground level. They eat the roots and crown. Use a vole repellent to discourage these pests from invading your yard.
On the disease front, hostas are susceptible to both leaf spot and crown rot. You can often prevent these problems simply by avoiding overwatering and staying away from watering overhead.