Why Choose Hostas?
There is no better way to brighten up a shady spot than by planting hostas. Although the plants bear tall spikes of white or lavender flowers in midsummer, hosta are planted primarily for the season-long show of their striking foliage. It takes more than good looks, however, to make a plant a world-class winner. Few perennials are truly carefree, but hostas come close. They never need dividing. Once established, they shade the ground so thoroughly that they reliably crowd out most weeds. Hostas are not fussy about soils, and many cultivars even do quite well with considerable sun. It's no wonder gardeners are planting them in record numbers.
Hosta leaves come in a broad range of solid colors, from blue-gray to deep green to light green or gold. Blue hostas often have a soft, waxy bloom (a powdery-looking coating on the leaves, also found on grapes), especially early in the season. Some green varieties have very shiny leaves; others have a matte appearance. Variegation can be white, cream, or yellow and can occur on the edges of the leaves, in the centers, or streaked throughout the leaf. The most common leaf shape is heartlike, but some cultivars have narrow, straplike leaves. The largest hostas are 3-4 feet tall; the smallest are under 8 inches. Mix all these factors together and you get an idea of why plant breeders are having such fun with this group of plants.
Hostas are among the most adaptable perennials. They do well from USDA Hardiness Zone 3 (-40°F minimum) southward as far as zone 9 (20°F minimum). Hostas need a period of cold weather, at the onset of which they turn a pleasing yellow and then go dormant. Insufficient winter chill and dry air, such as in western deserts, are the chief limiting factors.
Product Type: Starter Plant
Full-bloom Period: Spring, Summer and Autumn
Growing Difficulty Level: Easy