Some people count hosta eyes. Hosta eyes you ask? Yes, the little nubs that poke through the ground in the spring. These little pointy darlings house the leaves that unfurl to create a beautiful hosta.
A serious Canadian hosta collector, Ghislain Seguin, frequently wrote on the online hosta forums about his hostas eyes. Each spring he counts and records the number of eyes each plant has to track the plants growth. The greater the number of eyes, the larger the plant would be that year.
Hosta can take many years to mature and show their true characteristics – sometimes as many as four to five years. This is a long time to wait for a plant to mature. Frequently I have questioned if a particular hosta was making any progress from one year to the next. I needed some proof that the plant was growing. Counting eyes seemed to be the answer. In addition to appeasing my impatience, I would better understand if a plant is a slow or fast grower.
Understanding plant growth rates and progress can also indicated if a plant is happy in its current location. Hostas are shade loving plants, however the amount of sun they receive can also impact their growth. Some varieties will shrink in size if they do not receive enough sun. If a hosta has fewer eyes two years in a row, it may be time to move the plant to new location.
Counting hosta eyes has become a spring ritual – something that gets me out in the garden early in the season before there is really much to do. It also helps me to plan for change each new season.