Hosta 'Sum and Substance'

15 of the best hostas to grow

Choose hostas for your shady-spots from our showcase of 15 beauties.

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.

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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.

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.

More on growing hostas:

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 15 gorgeous hostas to grow.


1

Hosta ‘Cracker Crumbs’

Miniature Hosta 'Cracker Crumbs': pointed lime-green leaves edged with dark green
Miniature 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.

2

Hosta ‘El Niño’

Hosta 'El Niño': smoky-blue broad leaves with white margins
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.

3

Hosta ‘Frosted Mouse Ears’

Miniature Hosta 'Frosted Mouse Ears': curled smoky-green leaves with an irregular pale-lime border
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.

4

Hosta ‘Hanky Panky’

Hosta 'Hanky Panky': elongate bright-green leaves, fringed with white/yellow
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.

5

Hosta ‘Kikutii’

Hosta 'Kikutii': elegant elongate mid-green leaves
Hosta ‘Kikutii’

‘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.

6

Hosta ‘Love Pat’

Hosta 'Love Pat': round smoky-blue leaves
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.

7

Hosta ‘One Man’s Treasure’

Hosta 'One Man's Treasure': broad, yet pointed, lush green leaves on red stems
Hosta ‘One Man’s Treasure’

‘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 its unusual red stems can be used to full effect.

8

Hosta ‘Revolution’

Hosta 'Revolution': lush green leaves variegated with a cream midline flare
Hosta ‘Revolution’

This 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.

9

Hosta ‘Sunshine Glory’

Hosta 'Sunshine Glory': heart-shaped leaves of spring green with white margins
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.

10

Hosta ‘Halcyon’

Hosta 'Halcyon'
Hosta ‘Halcyon’

‘Halcyon’ makes a dense clump of blue-green, oval foliage with pale lavender flowers in July to August. This is also a slug-resistant hosta variety. This medium-sized variety reaches a height and spread of around 50cm x 20cm.

11

Hosta ‘Golden Tiara’

Hosta 'Golden Tiara'. Photo: Getty Images.
Hosta ‘Golden Tiara’. Photo: Getty Images.

‘Golden Tiara’ has neat, rounded, dark green leaves edged in gold, with masses of purple flowers on upright stems in July. It reaches a height and spread of 50cm x 50cm.

12

Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’

Hosta 'Blue Mouse Ears'
Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’

‘Blue Mouse Ears’ is a slug-resistant hosta variety with cupped, blue leaves and lavender-blue flowers from July to August. It reaches a height and spread of around 30cm x 30cm.

13

Hosta ‘Frances Williams’

Hosta 'Frances Williams'
Hosta ‘Frances Williams’

Hosta ‘Frances Williams’ heart-shaped, blue-green leaves, edged gold in summer. It then bears white flowers from June to July. It’s also a slug-resistant hosta variety. This is a fairly large variety reaching a height and spread of around 60cm x 1m.

14

Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’

Hosta 'Sum and Substance'
Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’

This huge plant reaches a height and spread of 75cm x 1.2m and bears very large slightly cupped leaves in chartreuse to gold. Lavender flowers appear in July.


Growing hostas

Dividing a hosta clump
Dividing a hosta clump
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  • Position – best in humus-rich soil in partial or dappled shade. Many will take more sun if the soil is consistently moist
  • Care – fully hardy everywhere but new shoots may be damaged by frost. Protect from slugs, especially early in the season
  • Propagating – allow to develop into specimen plants and do not lift and divide every three years as recommended for other perennials, unless you want more of the same variety. Prepare well before planting and give them a spring feed