Hostas are useful for planting in damp or shady borders, where many other plants might struggle. Grown for their wonderful, lush foliage, they can really enliven a gloomy corner of the garden.
They’re hardy perennials, meaning they go dormant throughout winter, then unfurl through the soil in spring. Perennials live for years when planted in the right spot, and they gradually spread into larger clumps every year.
Browse our image gallery of hostas.
Hostas do produce flowers, but are usually grown for their foliage. The flowers emerge during summer, and range from mauve through to white. Although many people remove the flowers to preserve the quality of the leaves for longer, others enjoy them for the extra colour.
There are many hosta varieties, all with different leaf patterns, colours and sizes. With so many to choose from, it’s possible to create a bright and unusual display of contrasting foliage. Browse our choice of 10 gorgeous hostas, from the Bowdens stand at BBC Gardeners’ World Live, below.
Hosta ‘Cracker Crumbs’
Hosta ‘Cracker Crumbs’ is a miniature, fast-growing variety, growing to around 15cm. It has small, delicately pointed leaves in a vibrant shade of lime green, and each leaf has an attractive darker green edge. The flowers are dark mauve.
Hosta ‘El Niño’
Growing to a height of around 25-45cm, ‘El Niño’ is a medium-sized variety. The broad, pointed leaves, appear thick and cushioned, and are an intense, smoky blue, with striking white margins. Lilac flowers appear in summer.
Hosta ‘Frosted Mouse Ears’
A miniature hosta with thick, curled smoky-green foliage. This variety grows to approximately 15cm, and produces a dense cluster of small leaves, each with a contrasting lime green, irregular margin. The flowers are purple.
Hosta ‘Hanky Panky’
‘Hanky Panky’ is a medium-sized hosta, growing to approximately 20-35cm. The leaves are elongated and delicate, with thick white margins at the beginning of the season, then changing to a yellowish-green later in the summer. Also grows well in a sunny position.
‘Kikutii’ is medium-sized, growing to approximately 30-40cm, with attractive narrow, pointed leaves in a lush mid-green colour. Ideal for creating a contrast among broad-leaved hostas, it bears lavender-coloured flowers.
Hosta ‘Love Pat’
Hosta ‘Love Pat’ is medium in size, growing to approximately 30-40cm, with broad, thick foliage. Each leaf is an attractive smoky-blue colour – almost round – while the flowers are lilac.
Hosta ‘One Man’s Treasure’
A new variety, this ‘One Man’s Treasure’ grows to a height of around 25-45cm. The leaves are broad, yet pointed, and lush green in colour. ‘One Man’s Treasure’ is a great variety for pots, where it’s unusual red stems can used to full effect.
This new, large variety grows up to 60cm in size, with broad, pointed foliage. It produces a bright contrast in shady areas, as the deep-green leaves are variegated with a cream-coloured central flare. The lilac-mauve flowers appear in summer.
Hosta ‘Sunshine Glory’
Hosta ‘Sushine Glory’ is a medium variety, growing to around 40cm in height. It has very dramatic, large heart-shaped foliage in a fresh, spring-green colour, brightened with irregular white margins.
Hosta ‘Touch of Class’ is a medium-sized cultivar, growing to 30-40cm. It has blue heart-shaped, powdery leaves, each with a bright mikle-green flash in the centre. Pretty mauve flowers are produced in summer.
Thanks to Bowdens for help with creating this feature.