21 Types of Hosta varieties (Plantain Lilies)

What are Hosta Plants?

Hosta plants, also known as Plantain Lilies, are one of the most popular houseplants among North American gardeners.

Many people love growing these easy-to-grow plants in their indoor gardens.

The most striking fact that has made this plant species so popular is its adaptability to shady areas.

The foliage pattern is the most beautiful part of most Hosta varieties.

According to taxonomy, there are over 45 different species of Hosta plants.

You will find these plants widely distributed in eastern Russia, some parts of the United States, and Northeast Asia.

What Are Hosta Plants

Some of the varieties are slow growers, while others grow pretty fast.

You can either plant them in a container or outdoors, and the choice is up to you, but don’t worry about their growth because they don’t have too many demands.

The foliage comes up with different shapes and colors. For instance, spiky, mouse ears, and heart-shaped leaves with white, gold, light green, or dark green colors are common.

Although these plants aren’t too famous for their flowers, the fragrance attracts hummingbirds and other pollinators in the garden.


Before we move on to the list of Hostas, if you want more ideas on other plants to grow in your garden and landscaping, read more about:


Hostas are a wonderful addition to any garden or landscape.

They are available in a wide range of colors, sizes, and shapes, making them a highly adaptable plant to grow.

The Variegated Hosta, the Blue Hosta, and the Lily-Leaved Hosta are some of the most popular types of Hostas.

So, read on for other varieties of Hostas you can grow in your garden.

Hosta Alligator Alley

Hosta Alligator Alley

Hosta Alligator Alley is a large to a medium variety of another cultivar named Dick Ward. Alligator Alley has wider margins in its leaves.

The center has a light or dark green color with beautiful blue or green edges. The foliage gently becomes cupped with age.

During the blooming period, this variety produces pale lavender flowers in the early summer.

You should grow these Hosta species in shady areas, though filtered or indirect sunlight is considered the best.

Never place them under direct sun exposure, which can be dangerous.

These Hosta varieties grow well in moist soil, but they can withstand dry conditions for a certain period.

Since they can be large, you should save some space for them.

Hosta American Halo

Hosta American Halo

Hosta American Halo is a large species with blue-green leaves and rippled wide, creamy white colored margins.

These perennials add amazing versatility to the gardens with their subtle color variations, coarse leaves, and tall flowers.

These plants can reach up to 22 inches in height and 70 inches wide. If you are living in urban areas, you can grow these plants.

Like with the other Hostas, you should keep these species in partially shaded areas, although indirect sunlight is considered the best option.

They require average water. You have to make sure that the topsoil stays moist. Wet soil can make these plants susceptible to fungal attacks.

Feed these plants with organic fertilizers from mid-spring to mid-summer to boost flower production.

Hosta August Moon

Hosta August Moon

Hosta August Moon has large heart-shaped leaves in bright gold or light green. This species can reach around 22 inches tall and 42 inches wide.

Each leaf can get to about 9 inches long and 4 inches wide.

The August moon produces pale lavender flowers with purple stripes during mid to late summer. Like the other Hostas, these species become dormant during the winter.

Due to their yellow or bright green color, leaves can tolerate full sun for a more extended period.

But we recommend you keep them in a shade garden because the intense sun can burn the foliage during the afternoon.

In the summer, when the temperature is too high, you should mulch the topsoil to reduce water loss.

In this period, you have to feed them with organic fertilizer for their nourishment.

Hosta Autumn Frost

Hosta Autumn Frost

Hosta Autumn Frost is one of the most beautiful types of Hostas, mainly because of its foliage pattern.

The heart-shaped leaves have blue, green color at the center with bright yellow margins. This color combination makes this species a catchy one.

During the mid-summer, you will notice pale bell-shaped lavender flowers bloom on the tall stalks.

To grow these Hosta plants properly, you should place them in full or partial shade gardens. Choose a spot that receives indirect sunlight.

Since Autumn Frost hostas are a colorful variation and have yellow pigment, they can tolerate direct sun for a few hours, but we strongly recommend you not keep them in direct sun.

Water them maintain a moist condition and feed them with organic fertilizer during the spring and summer.

Hosta Blue Angel

Hosta Blue Angel

Hosta Blue Angel is one of the largest types of Hostas. These perennials can be found in the woodland gardens in Russia, China, Japan, and Korea.

This species has large blue-green leaves that are thick, widely oval, and slightly convex.

This variety can grow to 36 inches tall and up to 48 inches wide. During the mid-summer, you will notice beautifully bell-shaped pale lavender blooms.

Placing Hosta blue angel plants under the morning sun for a few hours is good because of their minor variation.

But you have to be careful because intense sunlight can burn the blue-green leaves. Like the other Hostas, this variety isn’t slug-resistant.

Therefore, you will have to protect them from slugs and snails.

Water them to maintain the soil moisture and feed them twice every month with organic fertilizer.

Hosta Blue Mouse Ears

Hosta Blue Mouse Ears

Hosta Blue Mouse Ears is a comparatively tiny species belonging to the Hosta genus.

This perennial plant has round blue-green leaves with dull surfaces and looks similar to a mouse’s ears.

The bell-shaped lavender flowers have dark purple stripes. People plant this species in their gardens because it brings versatility. 

For a prolonged period, you should keep this species in a shady garden where it won’t receive direct sunlight.

Also, keep the soil evenly moist and remember that soggy conditions can cause root rot or fungal diseases.

Always use organic fertilizers like vermicompost or compost for feeding them during the spring and summer.

Hosta Crispula

Hosta Crispula

Hosta cripsula species is popular for its variegated foliage pattern. The dark green leaves of this clump-forming species have thin cream-white margins.

From late spring to late summer, you will notice funnel-shaped lavender flowers growing at the top of the tall stems.

From the autumn, this variety goes in a dormant condition.

Plant this hosta variety in the partial shade gardens, where they receive indirect but bright sunlight.

Avoid placing them in the direct sun as it can scorch their leaves. These hostas should be planted in well-drained soil rich in organic materials.

The potting medium should be moist, but the soggy or wet conditions can cause root rot and fungal diseases.

Empress Wu Hosta

Empress Wu Hosta

Empress Wu Hosta is the largest variety of Hosta genus. The leaves are approximately 24 inches tall and look like blue mouse ears.

The plant produces pale lavender bell-shaped flowers during the early to mid-summer.

They can be a great addition to your garden beds as a ground cover. You can either grow them in a container or a garden.

This species of Hosta grows well in the USDA hardiness zones 3 to 9. Make sure that the plant spot doesn’t receive direct sunlight.

Water these plants regularly if you live in a hot climate. They are not slug-resistant.

Slugs and snails will destroy the leaves if you don’t protect the plants.

Feed the plants with vermicompost during the early spring so that Empress Wu Hosta can grow at its full potential.

Fire and Ice Hosta

Fire And Ice Hosta

This clump-forming perennial Hosta variety has an attractive color variation on its leaves.

The leaves have a yellow, green center with dark green margins. It is also called a reverse variegated cultivar of Hosta Patriot.

During the summer, you will see beautiful bell-shaped lavender blooms. Compared to the other hostas, this plant grows quite fast. 

Fire and Ice Hosta should be planted in a shade garden to receive indirect but bright sunlight.

Exposure to the afternoon or midday sun can be deadly as intense light can burn the yellow, green leaves.

Since it grows faster than the other Hostas, you should properly take care of its water and fertilizer demands.

Hosta First Mate

Hosta First Mate

Hosta First Mate has beautiful variegation of golden yellow leaves with dark green margins. The leaves are tall and narrow.

This species produces white flowers between mid and late summer.

People mainly plant this hosta variety in a container with other houseplants. This species can reach up to 10 inches tall and 21 inches wide, making it an excellent ground cover.

If you grow the First Mate in a container, you must keep them in a shady location.

Morning sun exposure can be alright for them, but afternoon shade is a must because, during the afternoon, the sun becomes too intense, which can ruin the variegation.

Water it moderately and keep the soil moist. Feed it with organic fertilizers, like vermicompost or compost, once every month.

Hosta Frances Williams

Hosta Frances Williams

Hosta Frances Williams species is native to Japan and popular because of its attractive dark and light green color combination on its stunning foliage.

The oval leaves have a dark green center, while the edges have a light green to yellow or green-gold color.

During the mid-summer, these plants produce pale lilac flowers on tall stalks.

These Hostas neither grow too fast nor too slow. They have a moderate pace, and it may take around three years to reach the mature stage.

These plants will grow fine if you can provide them with the right amount of light and water.

Make sure that they are grown in partial shade. Water them moderately and don’t make the soil completely wet.

Hosta Geisha

Hosta Geisha

Hosta Geisha is comparatively a small variety and comes up with beautiful and unique variegation. Its leaves are oval-shaped, long, and narrow.

You will see an eye-catching light green center with olive green margins.

Remember that this variety is also known by its Japanese name ‘Ani Machi.’

So, don’t get confused. It produces star-shaped lavender flowers in late summer.

Like the other Hostas, this species prefers growing in shade gardens.

Though morning sun exposure is good for 1-2 hours, the afternoon sun can be deadly.

If the temperature in your area is too high, we recommend you avoid placing Hosta Geisha under direct sunlight.

Water the variety moderately and keep the soil evenly moist.

Hosta Gracillima

Hosta Gracillima is also known as Small rock Hosta, mainly native to Japan.

Nowadays, people plant this species in their indoor gardens with other houseplants to add variety.

This perennial plant has glossy green leaves that have a total of 4-6 veins. The plant grows to nearly 4 inches tall.

It produces beautiful bell-shaped purple-striped light lavender flowers during the late summer. 

These plants do great under indirect light or in shady areas.

If you grow them under full sun, you will see the marginal burning spots on the leaves. USDA hardiness zone 3 is considered OK for these species.

They need a winter season to undergo the dormancy period. Prepare a well-drained potting soil to plant them in.

Hosta Guacamole

Hosta Guacamole

Hosta Guacamole is another catchy species of the Hosta genus. It has large glossy green leaves surrounded by blue or dark green margins.

During the summer, the center of the green leaves turns bright yellow if you expose them to more sun, but the margin color stays the same.

In the late summer, the plant produces big, fragrant white flowers.

These Hostas are ideal for a shady garden that receives indirect sunlight. It can grow to 22 inches tall and spread around 36 inches wide.

This plant grows well in a well-drained potting mix. It would be best to mix in some organic amendments to enhance its water retention capacity.

The amendments will hold moisture for a prolonged period.

Hosta Halcyon

Hosta Halcyon

Hosta Halcyon is a sturdy species with deeply veined, thick, and blue leaves. During the mid-summer, it produces tall, pale lilac flowers.

It goes into a dormant condition like the other Hosta varieties in the winter. It can form a dense mound in your garden.

People mainly grow this variety for its beautiful color and contrast.

This slow grower needs a little attention for the growth. Hosta Halcyon species are shade plants like most other Hosta varieties.

Although this variety is slug resistant, deer can eat it.

Once you plant this species in your garden, you have to ensure that it doesn’t receive afternoon sun for a prolonged period of time.

Hosta June

Hosta June

Hosta June or June Hosta plant has beautiful color variation in its foliage.

This houseplant has distinctive oval-shaped blue-green leaves edged with a golden or lighter green center.

This stunning species can reach up to 16 inches tall and 37 inches wide. Light lavender flowers are seen from mid-summer to late summer.

Although you can plant it in full or partial shade, we suggest keeping it in partial shade. Water the plants moderately and keep the soil moist.

Prepare a well-drained potting mix for growing these plants.

It would be best to start feeding them with organic fertilizers during the late spring or early summer, like vermicompost, bone meal, blood meal, compost, etc.

Hosta Lancifolia

Hosta Lancifolia

Hosta lancifolia is another variety that you can distinguish easily from the others. It has erected lance-shaped, wavy blue-green leaves.

People grow this variety mainly because of its texture, color, and contrast.

The terpene compounds dominate the leaves of this species [1]. During the summer period, it produces lily-like flowers.

Hosta lancifolia prefers growing in shady areas. You can either grow them both outdoors or indoors with other plants.

Their growing season is from spring to late summer, and they become dormant in winter.

You need to water them moderately based on the temperature and soil type, but make sure that the soil stays moist.

Hosta Patriot

Hosta Patriot

Hosta Patriot is one of the most beautiful types of Hostas. This variation has ovate leaf shapes with dark green color at the center and white margins.

The color of the margins changes from white to yellow-creamy in spring. The plant produces pale lavender flowers during midsummer.

Due to its versatility, Hosta Patriot is extremely popular among gardeners.

This perennial plant needs a shady garden to grow. Additionally, you need to prepare a well-drained potting mix using coarse materials.

Mixing organic materials is also necessary to increase the soil’s water-holding capacity.

Remember that the water demand is similar to the other Hostas. You can fertilize them from spring to the late summer to encourage growth.

Praying Hands Hosta

Praying Hands Hosta

Praying Hands Hosta is becoming extremely popular because of its versatility in a landscape. It is also the easiest one to identify.

It has narrow, green leaves with gold margins. The leaves are folded and reveal the shiny undersides.

The plant produces beautiful, pale lavender blooms on 18-inch scapes during the late summer. 

Like the other Hostas, you should keep this miniature Hosta under dappled sun exposure where it will not receive direct sunlight.

They grow well between USDA zones 3 and 9. To grow them in containers, you should prepare a well-draining potting mix.

Water them moderately and feed them using organic amendments.

Sum and Substance Hosta

Sum And Substance Hosta

Sum and Substance Hostas have huge ovate leaves, and the color varies depending on the amount of light they receive.

The color of its glossy leaves generally varies from light green to gold or yellow.

The plant produces bell-shaped pale lavender flowers in mid-summer.

Interestingly, this species shows a higher sun tolerance compared to the other Hostas.

This clump-forming perennial plant prefers indirect sunlight, but you can keep them in the morning sun for 3 hours a day.

Protect it from slug and snail attacks as these mollusks chew the leaves.

If you are growing this plant in a pot, make sure that there are many drainage holes beneath it.

These holes will remove the excess water and prevent the saturated condition.

Sun Power Hosta

Sun Power Hosta

Sun Power is another popular perennial Hosta variety. It produces lily-like lavender flowers during the mid-summer and has large golden leaves.

These long, arching golden leaves are the main attraction among gardeners.

The Sun Power Hosta goes through dormant conditions like the other Hostas. During this period, you can remove the dying leaves. 

Though this variety of Hosta can withstand more sun exposure, we recommend you don’t keep them in the afternoon sun.

To improve the soil drainage system and water holding capacity, you can add decomposed organic matter.

Water it moderately and make sure that there is no standing water because it can kill the plants by causing root rot.

How to Care for Hosta Plants

Growing hostas is relatively easy because they don’t have too many growing requirements.

In this section, we will briefly discuss their basic needs.

Light

Light For Hosta Plant

Hosta plants are generally planted in a shade garden, but we suggest growing them in dappled sunlight because every plant needs some light to thrive.

Adjust the light intensity based on the foliage color. Exposure to too much sunlight may turn the variegated leaves greener.

Also, don’t forget to notice any changes in blooms or not. If the leaves become faded or have brownish tips, you must move the plant to a shaded area.

Temperature and Humidity

Hosta varieties cannot withstand being in sunny and hot areas.

They need to stay below 42 degrees Fahrenheit for at least six weeks to restart the growth cycle.

This condition is easy to meet in almost all the countries except the desert areas.

Therefore, you have to ensure that the temperature is between 32 and 42 degrees Fahrenheit during the dormant period.

Soil

Soil For Hosta Plant

Hostas cannot grow well in clay soil because this soil holds water for a longer period of time and has poor drainage.

We suggest planting them in loam soil mixed with vermicompost and coco peat.

It is better not to use sandy soil as it cannot adequately supply water to the roots.

Water and Fertilizer

Water And Fertilizer For Hosta Plant

Hosta plants shouldn’t be kept in dry conditions because a lack of water would ruin their beauty. You should keep the potting mix moist.

Although established Hosta plants can tolerate not being watered for a few days, you shouldn’t neglect them.

You should feed these houseplants with organic fertilizer once every month, except in winter.

Add a layer of soil amendments, such as compost, vermicompost, coco peat, blood meal, bone meal, fishbone, etc.

Avoid using chemical fertilizers as they can burn the roots.

Common Problems of Hosta Plants

Here are some common problems and causes of Hosta plants:

Leaves Turning Brown or Yellow

This is the initial symptom of leaf burning. When the plants are exposed to bright sunlight for a prolonged period, the leaves start drying and browning.

Irregular Leaf Shapes

An irregular shape with white or tan spots and a brown border is possibly an indication of a foliar disease, which is also known as anthracnose. The leaves look torn and tattered.

Common Problems Of Hosta Plants

Southern Blight

This disease is caused by a fungus when the temperature exceeds 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Infected plants look discolored, and the leaves turn yellow and slowly die.

Snails and Slugs

Hostas are not slug-resistant. Mollusks love Hostas’ leaves. If you ever notice irregular holes between veins or along the edges, then consider them a sign of mollusk invasion.

Rabbits and Deers

Hostas leaves are eaten by rabbits and deer. Rabbit clip the younger leaves and stems. On the other hand, deer quickly defoliate these plants by eating their leaves.

Apart from the problems mentioned earlier, you have to be careful about hail and frost damage because they destroy the regular pattern of the foliage.

FAQ

Do Hosta plants grow well in the shade or sun?

Hostas absolutely love the shade, be it partial sun or dappled shade. They can also thrive in the deep shade if given enough time to grow. Hostas’ large leaves do not fare well in direct sunlight, which is particularly harsh in the summer. In fact, hostas will wilt in the scorching afternoon sun, so a shady landscape will provide them with the ideal environment to thrive. With that said, once they have become established, they can withstand the summer heat and mild droughts.

Do Hosta plants prefer wet or moist soil?

Hostas prefer moist soil; they grow very well under moist conditions. Hostas are an excellent choice among other foliage plants for any garden or landscaping because they thrive in consistently moist soil. However, they only thrive in well-drained soil; these plants love moisture but die in waterlogged soil. One suggestion is to plant Hostas in a higher sloping area so that the water can drainage downslope.

Is hosta poisonous to pets?

Yes, hosta plants are toxic to pets. Hostas contain saponin, a chemical compound toxic to pets. If eaten, potential symptoms of poisoning include abdominal pain and vomiting.

Are hostas perennials or annuals?

Hostas are perennial plants, which means they will grow larger with each passing year. The majority of hostas thrive in USDA Hardiness zones three through nine. These adaptable shade plants grow a mound of leaves, but each variety has a distinct appearance, with variations in plant size, leaf shape, and leaf color.

Why are my Hostas becoming brown?

The reason Hostas turn brown is because of the lack of water or it indicates they are getting too much sunlight. Hostas thrive in soil that is evenly moist throughout the year – not waterlogged soil. In most cases, the leaves start to droop or wilt first before the problem has become serious enough to warrant browning to start to appear on them.

Conclusion

To sum up, the varieties mentioned earlier are the most beautiful types of Hostas. You can choose any of them for your landscape.

Due to their leaf shapes and plant size, they can be an excellent ground cover.

In addition, hosta flowers are another amazing thing that can beautify the garden even more.

Finally, their fewer demands have made them extremely popular among new gardeners.

Therefore, we recommend you plant Hostas to add a colorful variation to your garden.

References

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  • [1] Debabneh, M.F. 2016. The study of Hosta lancifolia rhizomes with roots, leaves and flowers volatile components. Der Pharma Chemica, 8(20): 214-219. URL: https://www.derpharmachemica.com/abstract/the-study-of-hosta-lancifolia-rhizomes-with-roots-leaves-and-flowers-volatile-components-5443.html
  • Hayes, R., Zlesak, D. & Moncada, K. (2018). Hostas. College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, University of Minnesota Extension. URL: https://extension.umn.edu/flowers/hostas
  • Diesen, J. (2007). Hostas. Horticulture Ornamentals, Issue January 2007, University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension. URL: https://extensionpublications.unl.edu/assets/html/g1683/build/g1683.htm
  • About/mentions: Hostas

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