Even though Francee hosta does flower, it is grown mainly as a foliage plant: Its two-toned leaves are attractive in their own right and also provide a coarse texture that contrasts nicely with more delicate plants such as forget-me-not (Myosotis scorpioides). This member of the asparagus family is a must-have for gardeners with lots of shade and an appreciation for what interesting foliage brings to a landscape.
- Botanical Name: Hosta 'Francee'
- Common Name: Francee hosta, Francee plantain lily, Francee funkia
- Plant Type: Herbaceous, with a perennial life cycle
- Mature Size: 1 to 2 feet tall, with a slightly greater spread
- Sun Exposure: Partial shade to full shade
- Soil Type: Moist, well-drained, and fertile
- Soil pH: Neutral to slightly acidic or slightly alkaline
- Bloom Time: July or August
- Flower Color: Light lavender
- Hardiness Zones: 3 to 9
- Native Area: Species native to eastern Russia, China, Japan, and Korea
How to Grow Francee Hosta
Hostas are known for their cold-hardiness, and the Francee cultivar is no exception. Install this popular perennial in a location where it will receive at least partial shade. It needs an adequate water supply, but make sure its soil drains well so that the roots are not sitting in water.
Spring and fall are both considered good times to divide this perennial, although more people find it easier to perform this job in spring. Unhappily, watering and dividing are minor care tasks compared to the hosta care that gardeners dread the most: pest control. Creatures both great and small esteem it as a gourmet salad green, and most of the hours of care you put into your hosta plants will consist in trying to outwit these pests.
A small pest that delights in devouring hosta is the garden slug (depending on where you live, you may have to do battle with a similar garden pest: snails). Do not underestimate the severity of the damage that these lowly pests can cause. Happily, there are a number of ways to kill slugs. One popular method is to sink a bowl of beer into the ground; slugs will be drawn to the beer, fall in, and be drowned.
A great pest (in size) that presents a problem for hosta growers is the deer. You can try fencing deer out or driving them away with repellents, but if you have a really bad deer problem in your area, you may find it best to take the path of least resistance and simply grow deer-resistant plants, instead.
In between slugs and deer in size is another pest that can wreck your hostas: the vole. Voles are rodents that do their damage to hosta at or under ground level: They eat the roots and crown. Buy a vole repellent to discourage these pests from invading your yard.
On the disease front, hosta is susceptible to both leaf spot and crown rot. You can often avoid these problems simply by avoiding overwatering your hosta and staying away from watering overhead (keep your irrigation at ground level so that water does not get all over the leaves).
The further north in its range you are, the more sunlight Francee hosta can stand. Give it partial shade in the North and full shade in the South.
The Hosta genus is very hardy, but you increase your plant's chances of surviving winter in zones 3 and 4 if you furnish it with good drainage.
The soil in the root zone of your hosta must be kept evenly moist at all times. The leaf margins, otherwise, will turn brown, robbing the plant of the foliar beauty for which it is grown.
While not overly demanding in terms of soil fertility, the plant is most likely to thrive in rich soils. Work compost into the soil around your hosta plant annually.
Its Leaves the Chief Feature of Francee Hosta
Francee bears light lavender flowers during the summertime, but it is as a foliage plant that it has bragging rights. The leaves of this variegated plant have white margins with green centers and can attain a length of 8 inches.
Uses in Landscaping for Francee Hosta
Given its preferred growing conditions, Francee is, of course, a natural for shade gardens. But, more specifically, use it:
- As a shade ground cover
- As an edging plant (for use along shady paths, for example)
- For woodland gardens
The Parentage and Offspring of Francee Hosta
Hosta 'Francee' is part of a proud line of hostas. Francee came from H. 'Fortunei Albomarginata' as a sport (the name, Albomarginata bespeaks the characteristic white leaf margins of this line of hostas). Francee, in turn, also produced a sport that has become a favorite with growers: H. 'Patriot.'