Hostas are useful for planting in damp or shady borders, where many other plants might struggle. Grown for their wonderful, lush foliage, they’re perfect for brightening a gloomy corner.
Herbaceous perennials, hostas become dormant in winter, then grow from new shoots in spring. They will live for years when planted in the right spot, and gradually spread into larger clumps.
Hostas do produce flowers, but are usually grown for their foliage. The flowers emerge during summer, and range from mauve through to white in colour. Although many people remove the flowers to preserve the quality of the leaves for longer, others enjoy them for a splash of extra colour.
More on growing hostas:
There are many hosta varieties to choose from, all with different leaf patterns, colours and sizes. With so many types, it’s possible to create a bright and unusual display of contrasting foliage. We’ve picked 15 gorgeous hostas to grow, below.
Hosta ‘Cracker Crumbs’
Hosta ‘Cracker Crumbs’ is a miniature, fast-growing hosta. 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.
Height x Spread: 20cm x 50cm
Hosta ‘El Niño’
Hosta ‘El Niño’ is a medium-sized hosta. The broad, pointed leaves appear thick and cushioned, and are an intense, smoky blue, with striking white margins. Lilac flowers appear in summer.
H x S: 40cm x 60cm
Hosta ‘Frosted Mouse Ears’
Hosta ‘Frosted Mouse Ears’ is a miniature hosta with thick, curled smoky-green foliage. This variety produces a dense cluster of small leaves, each with a contrasting lime green, irregular margin. The flowers are purple.
H x S: 20cm x 35cm
Hosta ‘Hanky Panky’
‘Hanky Panky’ is a medium-sized hosta. 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.
H x S: 40cm x 90cm
‘Kikutii’ is medium-sized, 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.
H x S: 40cm x 60cm
Hosta ‘Love Pat’
Hosta ‘Love Pat’ is medium in size, with broad, thick foliage. Each leaf is an attractive smoky-blue colour – almost round – while the flowers are lilac.
H x S: 60cm x 60cm
Hosta ‘One Man’s Treasure’
‘One Man’s Treasure’ has broad, yet pointed leaves, which are lush green in colour. It’s a great variety for pots, where its unusual red stems can be used to full effect.
H x S: 30cm x 60cm
‘Revolution’ is large hosta 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.
H x S: 50cm x 60cm
Hosta ‘Sunshine Glory’
Hosta ‘Sunshine 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.
H x S: 50cm x 60cm
‘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
H x S: 50cm x 20cm
Hosta ‘Golden Tiara’
‘Golden Tiara’ has neat, rounded, dark green leaves edged in gold, with masses of purple flowers on upright stems in July.
H x S: 50cm x 50cm.
Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’
‘Blue Mouse Ears’ is a slug-resistant hosta with cupped, blue leaves and lavender-blue flowers from July to August.
H x S: 30cm x 30cm
Hosta ‘Frances Williams’
Hosta ‘Frances Williams’ has 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.
H x S: 60cm x 1m
Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’
This huge hosta bears very large slightly cupped leaves in chartreuse to gold. Lavender flowers appear in July.
H x S: 75cm x 1.2m
- 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