Plant Spotlight on Hosta

Hosta (Hosta spp.) is a carefree herbaceous perennial plant desired for its lush leaves, as well as its love for the shade. Hostas (AKA: Plantain lilies) come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, textures, and colors. They are durable plants, easy to care for, and are happiest in shaded areas of your yard.

During spring to summer tubular flowers are produced at the end of long stems, yet their foliage remains at center stage. Foliage colors range from pale yellow, light to deep green, blue-green, as well as variegated patterns. Leaf shapes may be lanced, round, and everything in between with just as many textures.  Mature plants can be anywhere from 9” inches to 4’ feet tall depending on the variety.  

Plant Profile

Zones: 3-9

Sun/Shade: Deep shade for blue and green-leaved varieties/ Partial shade for the green or gold varieties

Height: 6” inches - 4’ feet

Width: 1 1/2’ feet – 7’ feet

Bloom Time: Late May to September

Bloom Color: Cream, white, pink, yellow, red, soft blue, lavender.

Wildlife: Bees, hummingbirds


The best time to plant hostas is in the early spring or early fall (before the first frost). Choose a shady spot that gets dappled sun or morning sun and afternoon shade. Research the hostas you’re planting, as some varieties can take more sun than others. For example, allowing variegated or yellow-leafed varieties some morning sun will enhance the yellow or cream colors on the leaves. Plant hostas 2-3 feet apart.

Hostas are tolerant of most soils, but they thrive in soil that’s well-draining and rich in organic matter. Dig a hole about one foot deep and add some compost to the hole. Place the plant into the hole so that it’s the same depth that it was in its container. You may need to add some of the soil you dug out back into the hole to make up for settling later. Fill the rest of the hole with the native soil and tamp it down gently. Add a well-balanced organic fertilizer and water them deeply.

Keep the soil around the plants damp (like a wrung-out sponge). Once hostas are established, they can tolerate the soil drying out a bit, but not for long. The best way to feed them is with an inch or two of compost every spring or by giving them an evenly balanced organic fertilizer.


With 70 species over 3,000 registered varieties, you’re bound to find the hosta of your dreams. Here are six varieties you’ll want to check out:

  • ‘Francis Williams’ has huge blue-green, puckered foliage that is edged with yellow-green. Lilac blooms come mid-summer. 18 inches tall, 48 inches wide.
  • ‘Daybreak’ has deep gold foliage that tolerates a little more sun than other varieties.  Daybreak blooms with light purple flowers. 22 inches tall, 36 inches wide.
  • ‘Sun Power’ has bright gold, upright leaves. Blooms with pale lavender flowers in the summer. Plant Sun Power where it receives morning sun and afternoon shade. 22" inches tall, 3' feet wide.
  • ‘Touch of Class’ has chartreuse leaves with a wide, powdery blue-green border. Light lavender flowers in mid-summer. 16” inches tall, 24” inches wide.
  • ‘Komodo Dragon’ is one of the largest hosta plants. Deeply veined, dark blue-green leaves with rippled margins. Blooms with light lavender flowers during mid-summer. 3’ tall, 7’ feet wide.
  • ‘Blue Ivory’ has deep blue-green leaves with yellowish margins, which turn bright white during the summer. Light lavender blooms in mid-summer. 16” tall, 30” wide.

Special Features

Often referred to as the “Queen of the Shade”, hosta brings the party to a normally difficult area of the landscape – the shade. Plant several varieties en mass and they will have the shadiest part of your yard holding its own against any flower bed.

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