Hostas are large-leaved plants that add texture and color to the front of shady beds and borders. Spikes of blue, lavender or white trumpet-shaped flowers rise above mounds of leaves. Leaves may be heart-shaped, lance-shaped, oval, or nearly round. Foliage runs from lime to dark green, greenish-gold, gray, and blue with many variegated forms.
Most hostas love the shade, but some can tolerate the sun. Plants grown in sun will be more compact and produce more flowers. Hostas go dormant in winter in all regions; the leafy tops all by disappear.
Get to Know Hostas
- Plant type: Perennial
- Growing zones and range: 3-8
- Hardiness: Tender
- Height and width: 3 to 48 inches tall and wide depending on the variety
- Flowers: Spikes of blue, lavender, or white trumpet-shaped flowers
- Bloom time: Summer
- Uses: Shade garden, beds and borders, natural areas, shady courtyards, entries, and patio areas
- Botanical name: Hosta spp.
- Common name: Hosta
Where to Plant Hosta
- Plant hostas in partial shade; plant in full shade in hot summer regions. In general, the more yellow in the foliage, the more sun the variety will tolerate.
- Grow hostas in humus-rich, well-drained soil. Mix compost and mulch around hostas each spring.
When to Plant Hosta
- Set hostas outdoors in spring in cold winter regions; set container-grown plants out in autumn in mild to cool winter regions.
Planting and Spacing Hosta
- Space hostas 10 to 24 inches (25-61cm) apart or more depending on the variety.
How to Water and Feed Hosta
- Keep the soil evenly moist; in dry weather give hostas extra water.
- Fertilize hostas every 6 weeks with an all-purpose fertilizer or work a slow-release fertilizer into the soil in spring.
- Mulch around hostas in spring after the soil has warmed; mulch again in autumn.
- Trim spent flower stalks for a neater appearance.
- Hostas are susceptible to attack by slugs and snails.
Hosta Varieties to Grow
There are hundreds of host varieties.
- Hosta plantaginea is fragrant.
- ‘Sum and Substance’ grow 3 feet wide and has yellow-green leaves.
- ‘Blue Angel’ has oval, bluish-green leaves and grow 36 inches tall and 48 inches wide.
- ‘Blue Moon’ has blue-green leaves and grows just 4 inches tall and 12 inches wide.
- ‘Diamond Tiara’ has thin, wavy, olive-green leaves splashed with gray-green and edged with creamy white.
- ‘Frances Williams’ has heart-shaped, puckered blue-green leaves with yellowish margins.
- ‘Golden Prayers’ has deep yellow, slightly puckered leaves.
- ‘Kabitan’ has lance-shaped, bright yellow leaves edged with green.
- ‘Ryan’s Big One’ has heart-shaped, grayish-blue leaves that are deeply puckered.
- ‘Sugar and Cream’ has wavy, heart-shaped green leaves edged with cream.