Hosta Territory

Hosta make great companions in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Hosta make great companions (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

As far as perennials go, hosta is one of the most well known and highly utilized plants in the garden.  And for good reason.  Hosta’s foliage offers a variety of sizes, shapes and colors to complement any garden setting, and when combined with its ability to thrive under a wide range of light and soil conditions, you’ve got the recipe for one heck of a great plant.  Although known for their incredible foliage, many hostas also boast breathtaking blossoms in a variety of sizes and colors, some with intoxicating fragrance to boot.  And the versatile hosta works well individually, in a grouping, or in a mixed shrub border as an understory planting. 

Fragrant Hosta flower in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Fragrant Hosta flower (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Once classified in the Liliaceae family, this Northeast Asia native was named Hosta in honor of the Austrian botanist Nicholas Thomas Host.  It is believed that hostas were discovered as early as the late 1600’s throughout Korea, China and Japan, became popular in France by the mid to late 1700’s, finally reaching America’s shores by the mid 1800’s.  Most hostas are descendents of two varieties originating in Japan; the first is a rippled leaf form called Oba Giboshi, and the other is variegated green and cream edged plant called Ohatsuki Giboshi.  By the 1940’s various nurseries in the U.S. began experimenting with colors and temperament, producing sun tolerant plants in stunning shades of gold and silvery blue.

Hosta 'Striptease' at the border in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Hosta ‘Striptease’ front and center (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Due to our growing enthusiasm of all things hosta, The American Hosta Society was formed by a passionate hosta lover, Eunice Fisher, and now boasts over 350,000 members.  The rest as they say, is history. Top picks from the American Hosta Growers association include: 2012-Liberty, 2011-Praying Hands, 2010-First Frost, 2009-Earth Angel,  2008-Blue Mouse Ears, 2007-Paradigm, 2006-Stained Glass, 2005-Striptease, 2004-Sum and Substance, 2003-Regal Splendor, 2002-Guacamole, 2001- June, and 2000-Sagae (the list goes on …)  To get the low down on the most tantalizing hostas around, please visit the  and/or .

Please visit your local nursery to see what hostas might whet your appetite.  Here is a list of a few popular choices, but there are hundreds of varieties just waiting to settle into your garden before winter comes to call.

  • Hosta 'Sum & Substance' in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

    Hosta ‘Sum & Substance’ (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

    Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’ is one of the largest and most popular hostas around. It has huge chartreuse leaves that can reach 24 inches in length. Growing to 24 inches tall and 60 inches wide, I pair this charmer with dark leaved Physocarpus ‘Diabolo’.  Zones 3-9.

  • Hosta ‘Striptease’ features golden leaves with wide green edges, accented with creamy marking that resemble brush strokes. This flashy vixen grows 20 inches tall and 36 inches wide, and loves to snuggle with Heuchera ‘Autumn Bride’. Zones 3-9.
  • Hosta 'Great Expectations' in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

    Hosta ‘Great Expectations’ (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

    Hosta ‘Patriot’ is a familiar friend many of us have grown to love, with its dark green leaves boldly edged in white.  Quite a stand-out in a shady spot, at 12 inches tall and 30 inches wide, I use Patriot at the end of a bed, as an exclamation point of sorts. Zones 3-8.

  • Hosta ‘June’ is an award-winning stunner that features chartreuse leaves randomly edged in greyish-blue. A bit more petite at 15 inches tall and 20 inches wide, June is somewhat sun-tolerant, and capable of livening up any group you place her with . Zones 3-9.
  • Hosta Guacamole in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

    Hosta Guacamole-just add chips! (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

    Hosta ‘Great Expectations’ has very showy rippled ivory to pale green leaves irregularly edged in deep green, the opposite of Patriot. It grows 22 inches tall and 40 inches wide. Zones 3-9.

  • Hosta ‘Guacamole’ is the color of its namesake, with hints of bluish green sporadically blended on the edges.  It grows to about 20 inches tall but can spread over 50 inches wide.  Guacamole has fragrant white blossoms in late July. Zones 3-8.

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