Master Gardener Sue Morris: Island Breeze is 2022 Host of the Year – West Central Tribune

Have you ever wondered who chooses the Hosta of the year? Let me tell you. It’s the American Hosta Growers Association. The members of this association each vote on the breed, which must be a daunting task as there are literally thousands of varieties of hostas on the market.

The winners are hostas which are good garden plants in all parts of the country, are widely available in sufficient quantity and retail for about $15 in the year of selection.

The 2022 winner is Island Breeze. This is a small hosta, reaching 12″ tall and 18″ wide. Its bold and substantial foliage brightens up the garden.

The thick, rounded leaves emerge bright gold with a medium green margin in spring. As summer progresses, the gold will fade to a softer yellow if the plant receives more sun; if the plant is more shady, the yellow will turn to soft lime green.

The leaves are thick and resistant to pest damage (a real plus). It is a sport (genetic mutation) of Paradise Island, which is an offshoot of Fire Island.

Island Breeze offers brighter color, wider leaf margins and thicker leaves than its ancestors. It has red leaf stalks, adding to the color show.

This variety grows in part sun or full shade and needs regular moisture. It grows well in zones 3-9. The flowers are lavender.

Sounds like the one I’m going to have to try.

Previous winners are:

  • 2021: The end of the rainbow
  • 2020: Dancing Queen
  • 2019: paisley print by the lake
  • 2018: World Cup
  • 2017: Brother Stefan
  • 2016: Curly fries
  • 2015-Victory
  • 2014: Abiqua drinking bottle
  • 2013: Sunrise over the rainforest
  • 2012: Freedom
  • 2011: Praying Hands
  • 2010: First frost
  • 2009: Earth Angel
  • 2008: Blue mouse ears
  • 2007: Paradigm
  • 2006: Stained glass
  • 2005: Striptease
  • 2004: Sum and substance
  • 2003: Royal Splendor
  • 2002: Guacamole
  • 2001: June
  • 2000: Sagae
  • 1999: Paul’s Glory
  • 1998: Fragrant Bouquet
  • 1997: Patriot
  • 1996: So Sweet

In this list, my favorites are Victory, Liberty, Striptease, Sagae and June.
Sum and Substance works in an area that receives more sun, but there is no problem with others either.

In my garden Victory is fast growing and has very large leaves and is a real show stopper. Some on the list I haven’t had long enough to review. Good little front-border hostas include curly fries, praying hands, and blue mouse ears.

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Master gardener Sue Morris has been writing this column since 1991 for Kandiyohi County newspapers. Morris has been certified by the University of Minnesota as an expert in gardening and horticulture since 1983. She lives in Kandiyohi County.

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