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Top 10 Perennials for the Midwest


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Hostas
There are more than 500 varieties of hosta.
There are more than 500 varieties of hosta.
©iStockphoto.com/HKPNC

If your garden is covered with shade, don't despair -- there's a perennial that's perfect for your yard. Hostas can grow in shaded, well-drained, moist soil in zones three and above. They can vary in size from 6 inches to 6 feet (15 cm to 1.83 meters) and pair nicely with ferns, another good shade-happy choice. They're often grown for the foliage -- it's thick and available in a variety of colors and shapes, including circular, oval or heart-shaped leaves.

You probably won't be the first in your neighborhood to plant hosta -- this perennial is one of the most popular plants in the Midwest. This is due largely in part to its easy nature. All around, hostas are low maintenance and shade tolerant, which are great qualities for any garden, especially those in a Midwestern climate. But the plant does need a healthy mix of sun and shade. While full-on sun will bring a full color bloom, it will dry out and kill most of the foliage. This is why you should try to plant your hostas in an area that will receive a few hours of morning sun but be protected by shade the rest of the day [source: Hosta Guy].

Most people plant hostas from potted plants, making establishment that much easier. By using this approach, you have more freedom with timing, as they should be quick to establish whether planted in late spring or early fall. During the early stages, it is important to provide the plant with consistent water and some sort of compost or organic material to add nutrients to the soil. After it's fully established, the plant should support itself. Although, it's ideal if your hosta continues to receive consistent amounts of water.