Welcome back to Sunday morning in the garden, grab some coffee and let’s talk about hostas.
I know some gardeners turn their noses up at hostas because they are just too easy. And while I agree that just planting a row of them spaced 5′ apart in a foundation garden with rocks around them can be pretty unimaginative, there are also plenty of amazing ways to use them in a garden.
Not only that, but there are also countless varieties to choose from. There are very small hostas … like the baby blue eyes that I just purchased for my fairy garden …
and very big hostas, like Sum & Substance or Empress Wu which can grow 4′ tall and 6′ wide.
There are also lots of different leaf textures. Shiny, matte, puckered, smooth, or curly like this Stiletto.
I love the ones with really puckered leaves, they remind me of the seersucker fabric that my mom used to make summer clothes for me.
The shape of hosta leaves can be more rounded, like the one above, or more pointy like the leaves on this Lakeside Dragonfly…
Some hostas may have an upright growth habit with more vertical stems …
while others grow in a lower mound with their stems more horizontal to the ground.
Let’s talk about color for a minute too. My sister always corrects me when I call a hosta ‘blue’ by telling me they are green. Sure, all hostas are technically green but in the gardening world some shades of green have more blue in them …
and some have more yellow like this Sun Power hosta.
and some have what is considered ‘white’ in them also.
The colors of some varieties of hosta can vary depending on how much sunlight they get. I find that this May hosta is much more yellow if it gets more sunshine (and isn’t it gorgeous next to the dark purple of that Purple Palace Heuchera?).
However, in a full shade situation the color is much more subtle.
If you’re planning to plant a vibrant, bright yellow hosta, make sure it gets a little morning sunshine to bring out that bright color. I just planted three of these Sunset Grooves hostas and I hope they get enough sun where I put them to maintain this gorgeous color.
And on the other hand, if you plant a beautiful blue hosta make sure it is mostly in shade to avoid scorching the leaves.
There’s nothing more disappointing than buying a gorgeously colored hosta from the nursery, and then planting it in your garden only to find that the color has totally faded. So pay attention to the light requirements when deciding what hosta is right for you.
Hostas can have solid colored leaves or beautifully variegated leaves like those on this variety called June.
That’s one of my all time favorites, FYI.
Here in my shady, zone 4b garden I find hostas are exceptionally easy to grow. They don’t require much maintenance during the growing season other than cutting off the flower stalks. I cut off the spindly, less attractive flowers right away, but I leave the bigger, prettier flowers until they are spent. I have noticed that the bees really love the hosta flowers, so if you like to attract pollinators hostas are a good choice for the shade.
As I was reminded this spring, one downside to hostas is that they can be very susceptible to hail damage.
Coincidentally, two of my favorite garden vloggers, Garden Answer and Linda Vater both recently mentioned that they struggle to grow hostas. Both live in hot, dry climates and find that their hostas burn out in the heat. Garden Answer is planning to replace hostas with plants more suitable to her climate, like Brunnera. Linda Vater mentioned that she’ll only grow hostas in containers now.
All I can say is, finally, something I can grow in zone 4b that gardeners in warmer climates find difficult! I must say that usually it is the other way around. There are all kinds of plants that simply won’t survive our harsh winters.
How about you? Can you grow hostas successfully in your garden? Leave a comment and let me know.
23 thoughts on “so. many. hostas.”
Living in southern Ontario my hostas become giants so I split them three or four ways every spring before the leaves unfold. I only grow them in well shaded or semi shaded areas and water them daily. Even in the north they burn without shade and plenty of water. The variety of hostas make them an ideal plant for where other plants struggle to grow and a great background to any garden. I do not find them good in planters. I prefer the wide variety of choleus for that job.
Wowza, you are ambitious dividing every spring. I wish I could say that I divide my hostas that often, but the truth is that I put it off until I absolutely have to do it. I think partly because I don’t have anywhere to put the divisions right now, but mostly because it’s such heavy work!
Your Hostas gardens are lovely! I miss them as living in central Florida is not kind to these beautiful plants. Growing up in the Northeast my parents and grandparents had lovely gardens full of these. Thanks for sharing!
Hostas do like to go dormant in the winter. And now that I think about it, so do I … we all need a little down time 😉
I LOVE Hostas and you definitely have some gorgeous ones! So many varieties, too.
Yes, I have many of them on my 1/4 acre lot, but am still jealous, lol.
I often wish we lived on a larger property like yours! But then I realize how much more space there would be to take care of. I bet I could fill it up with hostas eventually though 😉
I love hostas (as do the deer, but that’s ok) and have branched out into so many different varieties! (Of course, I’ve lost their name tags :0 ) I even bought some at a garage sale a few months ago, a beautiful variegated one that so far has transplanted really well. Years ago (like 25+) I bought some hostas that do well in either sun or shade, and I have divided those babies up all over the yard in different areas, including a large walkway area in a corner of the yard. Love them!
Oh gosh yes, those deer will enjoy a hosta or two won’t they? I don’t get a lot of deer activity in my garden, but I do get the occasional visit. For some reason they prefer a row of plain green hostas that I have edging a garden out in the back. They’ve been munching away on that all summer. But so far (knock on wood), they leave the more fabulous varieties alone (maybe because they prefer the daylily buds right now).
Last month a deer (only a couple feet from our front window) was standing right in our (slightly) elevated bed eating my hostas for breakfast! Only stems remain on those 5 plants as she/he was very efficient! Argh!
Efficient, or very hungry!
The Deer definitely love mine !!!!
I’ve always try and plant deer resistant perrinals. Good to know what your planting. Tips : I use small buckets like target dollar section toss in gold bar dial soap leave all summer, skewers pointed up in you’re pots or ground
Always good for a nose poke hopefully not an eye.
Well, you live right there across the street from their native habitat, I’m not surprised that they come and munch away on your gardens! Good to know about the Dial soap, I may have to give that a try.
I went through my “hosta” stage. I love them, but here in Texas it’s hard. I love their lushness. Zone 9.
Lantana is really hardy most of the time. Looks like I need desert plants. We have had a brutal summer. I’ll just enjoy yours. 🌱
There are certainly some gorgeous varieties of lantana, and I can’t really grow it because I don’t have enough sun. So you’ll have to enjoy your lantana, and I’ll enjoy my hostas 😉
Well, Miss Quandie, this was very informative! I’m going to pin this post for future reference! Thanks (-:
LOVE hostas!!!hosts!!!! Having come from the south, I find them amazing. They are so resilient and send their leaves up even after our worst winters. I love pulling the leaves off of them in the spring and seeing the beautiful little tips all sticking up. With respect to your sister….I too, call them Blue😊 and seersucker is exactly the right description! Yay for hostas!
Gotta love ’em!
Ron told me about “Liquid Fence.” You spray it on your plants and it smells really bad for a couple hours, then you can’t smell it anymore. Animals can smell it, and won’t go near it. Last about half a season before you have to re-apply.
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I can grow beautiful ones, but come about July, middle or end of, the DEER help themselves to them, and I mean ALL of the ones I have are chewed down to the ground….any suggestions on ones that the DEER don’t like?
Yikes! Well, as I mentioned the deer only munch on a couple of my varieties, but that being said I think they like all hostas. It may just be that the ones they eat in my garden are simply the easiest ones to get to.
Well I did not read the other comments first unfortunately, so I will try the DIAL soap next year, thanks! Sorry this posted as it seems to be the same in many places…..
No worries Kris, hopefully you have a couple of ideas to try. If you need one more, my neighbor across the street says her brother swears by peeing on them. Ewwwww … and a little bit easier to accomplish if you live in the country like he does. It could be a little awkward if you live in the burbs like me 😉