Hosta ‘Dancing Queen’: spring color. Photo: www.perennialresource.com
A lot of hosta lovers look towards the American Hosta Growers Association’s Hosta of the Year program as a guarantee of good quality hostas that will thrive in any home garden. And hostas of the year are never untested new introductions, but rather cultivars that have been on the market for a number of years and have proved themselves stable and sturdy. Such is the case of this year’s hosta of the year, Hosta ‘Dancing Queen’, which some growers have called one of the best yellow-leaved hosta ever introduced.
A lot of gardeners appreciate hostas with yellow foliage: they really light up shady corners and perk up your garden. However, while their leaves generally start clearly yellow in the spring, most turn apple green in the summer, even mid-green by fall. Not H. ‘Dancing Queen’. It stands out from the crowd in that it remains yellow from spring through fall. Sure enough, its color does change. Its spring coloration is bright almost golden yellow, then it turns a softer shade of yellow from summer through fall. But still, it remains yellow, not apple green or even chartreuse.
The leaves are large and deeply veined, with a prominent pie crust edge. The flower stalk, about 28 inches (70 cm) high, rises above the foliage and bears lavender trumpet-shaped flowers in mid-summer. The plant itself will be about 18 inches (45 cm) high and 30 inches (75 cm) wide at full maturity. The thick leaves are highly slug resistant.
‘Dancing Queen’ was selected from among seedlings from H. ‘Split Personality’ by Alttara Scheer and was introduced and registered by Kent Terpening in 2005. It had already won multiple awards for its garden performance before being named Hosta of the Year for 2020.
For best color, grow this cultivar in partial shade: somewhere it will get a few hours of sun each day, ideally in the morning. Otherwise, it is a typical hosta, doing well in most garden soils. It will be 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, it’s very hardy: zones 3 to 9, although it may not show its best coloration in hot summer climates.
You shouldn’t have too much trouble finding ‘Dancing Queen’: in fact, your local garden center likely offers it. If not, here are some nurseries that sell it by mail order: