Patriot Hosta Plant Profile

And How It's Different From Minuteman

Patriot hosta leaves.
David Beaulieu

Like other types of hosta, the Patriot cultivar is grown mainly as a foliage plant. It is popular in shade gardens but takes a surprising amount of sun in the North. Discover the myriad of uses to which you can put this two-toned plant in your landscape.

  • Botanical Name: Hosta 'Patriot'
  • Common Name: Patriot hosta, Patriot plantain lily, Patriot funkia
  • Plant TypeHerbaceous, with a perennial life cycle
  • Mature Size: 1 to 2 feet tall, with a width approximately twice that
  • 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
  • Flower Color: Light lavender
  • Hardiness Zones: 3 to 8
  • Native Area: Species native to eastern Russia, China, Japan, and Korea

How to Grow Patriot Hosta

Patriot hosta is typically listed as a plant for partial shade (and it can even tolerate full shade). But it is able to take more sunlight than a green or a blue type of hosta.

Divide Patriot hosta in early spring to get more of it for transplanting or if you feel that it is outgrowing its space. If you do not care about the flowers, go ahead and deadhead them and let all of the energy go to the rest of the plant.

This short ground cover is eaten by the same garden pests that plague the genus as a whole. The smallest pests that attack its leaves are slugs and snails. Making or buying a slug trap is a necessity if you wish to grow undamaged hosta and live in slug country.

In terms of larger pests, all hostas are infamous for being deer food: Not only do deer eat the leaves, but they are a favorite food of these big, mammalian pests. Hosta growers in rural areas overrun with deer should seriously consider erecting deer fencing.

If your Patriot hosta is dying yet you see no leaf damage, the mouse-like pest known as a "vole" may be to blame. They tunnel underground and eat the roots and crowns of hosta plants. Do not confuse voles with moles; the latter do not eat plants.

Light

Grow Patriot hosta in partial shade in the North and in full shade in the South.

Soil

Provide this ground cover with a well-drained soil.

Water

Keep the ground moderately moist.

Fertilizer

Patriot hosta will thrive in rich earth, so work some compost into the soil.

Foliage Patriot Hosta's Chief Feature

Patriot hosta is a variegated plant and medium-sized when mature. It has a mounding habit. White-colored edges surround each leaf's green center. The ovate leaves have a wavy edge that, combined with the somewhat rippled surface (on mature plants), gives them quite a bit of character.

In mid-summer, it produces lavender flowers, which some people find appealing. Other gardeners grow the plant purely for its leaves and may even remove the flowers so that they do not get in the way of appreciating the leaves.

Landscaping Uses for Patriot Hosta

As versatile and visually appealing plants, Patriot hostas boast a number of potential functions in your landscaping, including as:

Due to their shade tolerance, another possible use for them is in the woodland garden. You can also take advantage of the coarseness of their leaves' appearance to inject contrasts in texture into your plantings.

A Sporting Breed

Patriot hosta is a popular sport (mutation) of a plant that was (and is), itself quite popular: Hosta 'Francee' (not to be confused with Hosta 'Frances Williams'). The American Hosta Growers association puts out an award every year for the best plant of the year, and Patriot hosta scored the victory in 1997.

The Difference Between Minuteman and Patriot

'Minuteman' is another variegated specimen with a green center and white margins. It is very similar to Patriot hosta: Both are Francee sports, and they reach a similar mature size. The color of Minuteman's leaf centers may be a slightly darker green, and the white color of its margins may be slightly more intense than those of 'Patriot.' The leaves may also be a bit thicker. But unless you are a die-hard collector of this genus, the differences are so slight that it probably is not going to make a difference to you which one you end up growing.

But such differences matter to some gardeners. If you are going to begin a collection of hosta plants, you may want to grow both Patriot and Minuteman. Moreover, if you will be putting time and energy into keeping all of the different types of hosta straight in your collection, proper plant labeling becomes critical. The importance of buying plants that have labels and of maintaining a close association between each plant and its corresponding label (at least until you have exercised your identification muscles enough to wing it) can't be emphasized enough.

Veteran collectors will tell you how frustrating it is to realize, after the fact, that you really do not have a precise identification on a variety that you have been growing for years. Making sure the plant that you are buying has a label (and that the seller is a reputable source) is step one, at least. Step two is keeping track of that label during the process of bringing the plant home and transplanting it into your landscaping. Step three is securing a label such that it will remain as firmly rooted in the soil over the years as your plant is.

The tiny labels plants are sold with at the garden center are flimsy and can easily become dislodged over time and blow away. You may want to make your own plant markers once you get your plants home. Something more rugged that will stand the test of time.

The importance of being fussy about labeling must be emphasized because it is notoriously difficult to identify many of the varieties of this genus. There are just too many varieties that resemble each other too closely. 'Minuteman' and 'Patriot' hosta provide just one of the many instances of this fact.