If you like colorful, slug-resistant hostas, you’ll love the variety the American Hosta Growers Association has named hosta of the year for 2017, ‘Brother Stefan’.
This hybrid was developed by Indiana’s famous “hosta lady”, Olga Petryszyn, from a cross between ‘King Tut’ and a seedling of ‘Mildred Seaver’. Mrs. Petryszyn named the new variety for her brother Stefan in honor of his 50th birthday. ‘Brother Stefan’ has been on the market since 1998.
It’s a medium-sized hosta with thick, corrugated, deeply veined leaves, almost heart-shaped. They are yellow with a green margin and a chartreuse zone in between the yellow and green zones. The yellow spot in the leaf’s center often resembles a maple leaf. The yellow color tends to fade to chartreuse green over time, but remains quite visible all summer long.
The plant reaches about 18-21 inches (45-55 cm) in height and 31-35 inches (80-90 cm) in diameter. The 2-foot (60 cm) flower stem bears white flowers in late June or early July that are popular with hummingbirds.
What can I say? This is a typical hosta and just as easy to grow as any other. If you’ve ever grown a hosta, you know what to do. But for beginners…
‘Brother Stefan’ prefers partial shade or full shade, but is fairly sun-tolerant as hostas go and will grow perfectly in full sun in regions with cool, moist summers. As for soil conditions, it loves rich, humus-rich, well-drained soil a bit on the acid side… but will tolerate pretty much any soil as long as it isn’t totally waterlogged. It does well, although it grows more slowly, in spots with heavy root competition. ‘Brother Stefan’ is quite drought-tolerant once established, but still prefers watering when rainfall is rare. In the fall, just let the foliage decompose on the spot and you’ll have met all its mineral needs. And like most hostas, ‘Brother Stefan’ is very hardy: zones 3 to 9.
You shouldn’t have too much trouble finding ‘Brother Stefan’: in fact, your local garden center likely offers it. If not, here are some nurseries that sell it mailorder: