So you think you’ve created the perfect look for your garden? Think again! You probably don’t have any Praying Hands Hosta plants, do you? If not, your garden is just a shell of what it could be with one or more. Here’s what you need to know about this increasingly popular plant and why it will complement just about any garden.
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The Praying Hands Hosta is well named. The leaves create a very dense and folded appearance, creating what appears to be praying hands. This look makes them popular in many churches and also in the gardens of many religious followers.
At its best, this hosta has dark olive-green leaves with a rippled appearance and a shiny bottom with a glossy top. Along with its golden-yellow margins, the Praying Hands Hosta is a gorgeous plant that looks entirely unlike any hosta you’ve likely seen.
It is particularly handsome in the summer when it comes into full bloom. The pale lavender flowers open at the top of a green scape that reaches 12-18 inches tall. They are tubular and hummingbirds and songbirds love them. They form mid to late summer.
Praying Hands Hosta’s History
The early history of Praying Hands Hosta is unknown. The exact breeder who created it is shrouded in mystery Gerald Williams of Minnesota found it bent and scraggly at a nursery.
It didn’t have a tag, but he purchased it and planted it in his garden. It grew into a beautiful and unique hosta that we know today as Praying Hands.
Its striking looks caused Williams to register it in 1996.
Since then, it has won several awards, including the American Hosta Growers Association Hosta of the Year in 2011 and the Award of Merit by the Royal Horticultural Society in 2012.
In The Garden
The Praying Hands like most hostas is relatively easy to manage and doesn’t require a lot of maintenance.
The biggest demand that it’ll place on you is a need for regular watering. Weekly watering should be more than enough, thankfully. The soil should be moist but not soaked when you’re done watering. If it is hotter or they’re planted in pots, you may need to water them two times a week or more.
For sun, you need to plant them in partial or complete shade. Though they are relatively strong and resist UV rays well, total sun exposure may damage their leaves or even their flowers. Shade from other, larger plants may be a good choice. They plant well next to coral bells, ligularia, fern, lungwort, and bleeding heart.
Praying Hands Hosta can be used several ways. It can be a focal point or specimen plant, or a shade border plant. It will grow in containers as a thriller or filler. It also makes a very interesting cut foliage display.
The plant at maturity becomes a 14-18 inch tall by 18-24 inch wide clump
Praying Hands is relatively resistant to slugs, however, slugs and snails can still be a serious problem with young plants.
As a houseplant, it will attract a lot of attention.
Praying Hands Hosta is readily available from many online sources, including many reputable nurseries. In addition, some areas may provide Praying Hands Hosta in standard retail nurseries, though availability will depend on the season and your community.
Praying Hands is a diploid (2-2-2). It is listed as being completely or nearly completely sterile. That means it does not reproduce from seeds at all. Some plants do have pale green pods on occasion, but they are rare, and the seeds are not viable. If anyone has successfully produced seedlings they are staying very quiet.
The plant is usually propagated in two ways. The first way is by tissue culture in the lab when large quantities are needed. The second, much simpler way, is by division. That is the division of large plants into several smaller plants.
Hands Up Hosta
The Hands Up Hosta is a sport of the original Praying Hands. You can tell the difference by looking at the leaves: they’ll be darker green with more varied yellow and white margins. The leaves fold together more fully, going past the folded-hands look.
Likewise, the Cowrie Hosta has a similar yellow to whitish margin. However, its leaves have a wavier or cupped appearance. You might even see some corrugation on the leaves. This plant is not registered but is available in a few online nurseries.
Hands Up is a popular Praying Hands sport that is a colchicine-induced tetraploid that matures as an 8-10 inch tall by 12-16 inch wide clump. It is also patented in the United States and cannot be propagated commercially without the patent holder’s permission.
It has long green leaves with a well-defined creamy-white border. We love the thick leaves because they last longer and they also resist slugs better.
Pale lavender bell shaped flowers appear on 16-20 inch scapes in the summer.
It is also not registered with the American Hosta Society.
Hosta Wings of a Prayer
Wings of a Prayer emerges in spring with a pure-white margin, creating a rather striking look. The Flowers also are pale lavender on flower scraps about 24 inches tall.
This sport is an excellent option for those who want to keep the white margin year-round.
Wings of Prayer is another hosta that is not in the AHS database.
Hosta Bohemia Praying Clown
Bohemia Praying Clown features yellow leaf edges and streaks through its leaves that catch the sun and produce an eye-catching look. Like the original plant, it is very resistant to sun and slugs. We recommend it for those who want to create varying looks and feels in their garden.
Registered with the AHS in 2016 by V. Mirka
Hosta Devil’s Delight
Devil’s Delight is similar to Bohemia Praying Clown, featuring yellow leaf edges and streaks as well as lavender flowers. However, the flower takes on a unique bell-shape that is very appealing. We think this sport goes well in just about any garden, as long as it gets a good amount of sun.
Registered with the AHS in 2013 bt R. Danik
Why Grow Praying Hands Hosta
This is a really unique Hosta. Actually, the foliage is unique for any plant. It was found unloved in a nursery and went on to win awards from AHGA for Hosta of the Year in 2011 and the Award of Garden Merit form the Royal Horticultural Society. You can’t beat the backstory on this one. It is a must-have for any Hosta grower.