10 Types of Hostas You Should Consider Planting

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Hostas, also known as Plantain Lilies, are herbaceous shade-tolerant plants with leaves that broad-sized leaves. They come in all sorts of different sizes, colors, textures, and growth habits. Depending on the cultivar, it can range from being four inches to as wide as six feet. While the stereotype is that the foliage is a dark green, some species have gold-colored leaves or even have variegated leaf patterns.

With so many types of hostas varieties available, which should you choose?

Below you will find some of our favorite varieties that will grow well in any garden. Regardless of how your garden is situated, there is likely a type that will suit your needs. Don’t be inundated by the thousands of different varieties. We’ll help you find the correct cultivar for you.

Different hostas species have different growing properties.

1.   Blue Mouse Ears

“Blue Mouse Ears” is a sweet miniature variety that grows to 8 inches tall.  The lavender flowers grow about 4 inches above the rounded, thick blue leaves.

This miniature species will fit in any type of garden and is great because it has a high slug resistance. It will also frequently attract butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden.

2.   Great Expectations

Great expectations has puckered leaves with golden centers.

“Great Expectations” grows 2 feet tall by almost 3 feet wide.  Its large puckered leaves have blue-green margins with white centers that start out gold.  It has white flowers, and it’s slug resistant.

It works well as a focal point of a garden. Since it is larger, it can help center the garden and catch the eye. It can also fill the empty space under a tree. You can even plant it in containers so that it can moved from one area of your garden to another depending on the time of the year.

3.   Sum and Substance

Sum and substance is a popular large species of hostas

“Sum and Substance” is one of the most popular large species, and for a good reason!  This plant can get six feet across or more and can take some sun, especially further north.  It has large, heart-shaped gold leaves and pale lavender flowers.

Because it is so big, it creates a bold statement when planted in a yard or garden. Plant it near some other vibrant colors like bleeding hearts to bring some more flare.

4.   Empress Wu

“Empress Wu” is the largest hosta, growing up to 72 inches across and 48 inches wide with dark green glossy leaves and purple flowers.  It takes several years to reach maturity but is well worth the wait.

This species is named after the only female emperor to rule China and it lives up to its name. It will be quite the spectacle because of how big it is. Pollinators also love Empress Wu.

5.   Halcyon

Halcyon is fast-growing and an excellent choice for deep shade.  18 inches tall and up to 3 feet wide with lavender flowers over a dense mound of blue heart-shaped leaves.

It is a true shade-lover and is very low maintenance. Make sure to plant it in either a partial shade, or preferably, a full shade area that as well-draining soil.

6.   Frances Williams

“Frances Williams” has white flowers and beautiful blue-green foliage with golden yellow margins. It can reach a size of 2 feet high by 5 feet wide.

It is very easy to maintain and care for and it attracts pollinators. Protect it from direct sun and very wet conditions to avoid spring burn. The best way to water is to water directly under the foliage at the base of the plant with soaker hoses.

7.   Red October

This hosta is a medium size and a great choice for a large container.

Sporting strappy green leaves with red stems, this medium size hosta (24 inches wide by 16 inches tall) has lilac-colored flowers and works well in large containers.

8.   Tokudama Flavocircinalis

Tokudama has blue centers and lavendar flowers.

Blue centers and wavy chartreuse margins make this one outstanding.  It grows 2 to 3 feet high and wide and has lavender flowers.

9.   Revolution

The revolution is a type of hosta with dark green margins.

18 inches tall and 24 inches wide, this smaller hosta has leaves with cream-colored centers and irregular dark green margins.  It positively glows in the shade and the flowers are purple.

10. Queen Josephine

Queen josephine is an excellent variety with a slightly wavy habit.

These glossy dark green leaves have white margins that start our gold in the spring. Grows 18 inches tall and slightly over 2 feet wide with lavender flowers.  The leaves have a slightly wavy habit.

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About the author: Alaine has been working way too hard in horticulture since 1992, beautifying golf courses, resorts, and hotels. She is a part time landscape designer who works full time caring for a 28,000 square foot public garden. At home, she maintains her own 400 square feet plot. Alaine lives in northern Illinois - zone 5b.

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