All About the Different Types of Hostas

Botanical Names: Hosta plantaginea, Hosta sieboldiana, Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans,’ Hosta ‘Halcyon’, Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears,’ Hosta undulata, Hosta ‘Albomarginata,’ Hosta ‘Undulata Albomarginata,’ Hosta ‘Sum and Substance,’ Hosta ‘Sagae,’ Hosta ‘Blue Angel’

Want to fill your landscape with undemanding perennials? Include hosta plants in the mix. A go-to perennial for shade gardens, hostas add season long color courtesy of eye-catching leaves. New hosta varieties include hostas for sun — plants that withstand a few hours of sun. Leaves aren’t the only show on hosta plants. Most varieties also offer color with spikes of pretty hosta flowers. You can even find fragrant hostas, like Hosta plantaginea.

In the landscape, hostas can serve as edging plants, specimen plants or even play the role of seasonal shrub. Miniature hostas, like Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears,’ are a great choice for edging, although even a classic like green and white Hosta undulata can fill in along a bed edge, provided it’s shorter than the plants behind it. Hosta undulata, by the way, goes by a host of names — Hosta ‘Albomarginata’ and Hosta ‘Undulata Albomarginata.’ No matter what you call it, it makes a reliable addition to any shady planting bed.

Many gardeners draft giant hostas to serve as specimen plants. Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’ is a traditional favorite among giant hostas. Its leaves can grow up to 2 feet across, and an individual plant can reach proportions of 4-feet high and 6 to 10 feet across. Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’ leaves tend toward gold to chartreuse tones.

For a giant hosta in blue shades, look for Hosta ‘Sagae.’ This beauty can grow up to 3 feet tall and nearly 6 feet across. One tip with giant hostas is that they take up to five years to achieve their oversize potential. For best results with these hostas, plant them where they can grow undisturbed — and wait for the show.

Quite a few of the oversize hostas stem from a parent variety Hosta sieboldiana. Probably the most widely available variety of this hosta is Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans.’ This is a beautiful blue hosta with heavily corrugated leaves. Use it as a specimen plant in a shade garden or place a pair on opposite sides at the start of a path.

Blue hostas often have some Hosta ‘Halcyon’ genetics in their heritage. Hosta ‘Halcyon’ unfurls thick blue leaves with good slug resistance. It’s a go-to blue hosta that doesn’t disappoint. A good giant hosta in the blue group is Hosta ‘Blue Angel,’ while a strong blue miniature is Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears.’

In the world of hostas, there’s easily something for everyone, including narrow leaved hostas like Hosta ‘Curly Fries,’ and even a white leaf hosta, Hosta ‘White Feather.’ You can choose variegated hostas, like Hosta ‘Francee,’ or hostas for sun, such as Hosta ‘Guacamole’ or Hosta ‘August Moon,’ both of which are also hostas for sun.