Hostas are shade-loving plants and are grown not only because of their good ground coverage but also for their colored, variegated foliage of blue, green, and yellow. They are easy to propagate and easy to maintain once they are established. Hosta is the genus where 70 species and hundreds of hybrids and cultivars belong to.
If you are hearing of Hostas for the first time, you would be amazed at how beautiful they are in the garden and landscape. If you already know them and are looking for the best species to complement your space, here are some of the types of hostas that you should know about.
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In this article:
- Hosta identification
- 35 types of hostas
- 11. Formal Attire hosta
- 12. Silver Threads and Golden Needles hosta
- 13. Daybreak hosta
- 14. Blue mouse ears hosta
- 15. Color festival hosta
- 16. Curly fries hosta
- 17. First frost Halcyon hosta
- 18. Fragrant Bouquet hosta
- 19. Gold Standard hosta
- 20. Golden Tiara hosta
- 21. Hosta June
- 22. Hosta Patriot
- 23. Krossa Regal hosta
- 24. Hosta Vulcan
- 25. Empress Wu Hosta
- 26. Hosta Fire Island
- 27. Hosta Sum and Substance
- 28. Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans’
- 29. Hosta plantaginea
- 30. Hosta Blue Ivory
- 31. Hosta Dancing Queen
- 32. Hosta geisha
- 33. Hosta Minuteman
- 34. Hosta paradigm
- 35. Hosta Paul’s Glory
- 36. Hosta praying hands
- 37. Hosta sagae
Since hostas come in a lot of varieties and cultivars, it is nearly impossible to ID them at once. But all hosta plant species have some definite characteristics to help you in identifying them from the rest.
Hosta plants sport four different leaf bases. Most hostas are heart shaped (like lily pads), while others would be curving with converging sides, truncate, wedge-shaped. All hostas have colored margins, with a smooth texture (no serration), and are veined.
Most of all, they have a puckered leaf, sometimes waxy, sometimes matte, but most of the time glossy.
Hostas almost always feature trumpet or bell-shaped flowers, spreading on six lobes. The color range for its flowers would be white, light purple, and dark purple. They usually bloom during summer.
These are all that there are when it comes to hosta because its species and cultivars differ when it comes to height and diameter. If you are identifying a particular hosta variety, it would be best to consult plant ID applications or consult existing hosta organizations such as the American Hosta Society or the American Hosta Growers Association.
35 types of hostas
Out of the many species and cultivars of hostas, we are listing here 33 of the most popular and most notable ones. This should give you a backdrop of what to expect from these hostas varieties and from there, choose which one you should go for.
1. Hosta whirlwind
This one is one of the most popular hostas, thriving in shady gardens, with a showy foliage that changes colors throughout summer.
The heart-shaped foliage starts out as lime colored, with white, creamy streaks in the middle and edged with dark green color. As summer progresses, the white center streaks turn into dark green.
The leaves have an upright growth, making it look tall at 5ft. It produces trumpet-shaped, lilac blooms in the summer too.
2. Hosta Komodo Dragon
It is considered as one of the largest hostas available. It sports cascading, blue green leaves with cream or white edges. The leaves are identifiable for their deep veins. They grow at just 2-3ft and 2ft in width.
In the summer, they bloom purplish white flowers. However, this hosta is also one of the most vulnerable to slugs and other insects. You must carefully watch for it while it establishes roots.
3. Hosta Guacamole
This one is a noteworthy hosta because of its fragrant blooms and majestic foliage. It has broad, oval leaves with bold yellow green color, and tinges of gold running along from the center.
The foliage is also striking because they grow in mounds in an overlapping manner. In the summer, it blooms white, fragrant flowers. It can be planted as garden borders or transferred indoors as a container plant.
4. Hosta August Moon
The large leaves of this hosta variety grow in asymmetrical mounds. Most times, the leaves are yellow green but when they are exposed to bright light, they turn bright yellow, hence the name August Moon. They grow at a max height of 3ft and in the summer, it blooms bell-shaped, lavender flowers.
5. Hosta Blue Angel
This one probably has the largest, broadest leaves of all hostas. It has huge, fan-shaped, overlapping leaves that look like flapped wings. The leaves are blue green in color, with a puckered thickness, and almost matte texture.
This one can tolerate partial sun, can thrive in dry soils, and produces funnel-shaped flowers during summer.
6. Hosta Frances Williams
This one is an eye-catching and delicate looking hosta with its prominent blue green color and chartreuse edges. The leaves look thick and robust year-round thanks to its puckered, embossed-like texture. It grows at 1.5ft in height and 4ft wide. In the summer, it blooms tiny, funnel shaped, white flowers.
7. Striptease Hosta
This one is a famous hosta variety because of its bold colors. It is a tricolor hosta with a green base, a flashy, yellow strip running along the middle, and comes with narrow, white edges. It grows at 1-2-inches in height and 3-inches in width. From July to August, you would love to see its light purple flowers.
8. Great Expectations Hosta
This one is a large hosta variety with a broad foliage of 4-inches wide and a height of 2-inches. The leaves have creamy yellow stripes splashed in the center during summer and turn into white or cream color by fall. It is enclosed by blue green edges. To keep these stripes in color, this hosta needs bright, indirect light.
9. Sagae Hosta
This one will surely look dramatic in your garden with its frosted look and blue green leaves and golden edges. It blooms lilac-colored flowers in the summer. It grows between 1-3-inches and 5-inches in width. With its upright growth habit, it could be planted along with smaller hostas for a layered ground cover.
10. Paradigm Hosta
For a more light and sun tolerant hosta, this would be the right variety to choose. This one has a prominent golden yellow color and blue green edges.
In the summer, its colors become richer in hue. Its golden yellow color just illuminates with light. It grows taller than most hostas at 4ft in height and has a large, broad foliage of 5ft wide. It blooms small yet clustered purple flowers.
11. Formal Attire hosta
For another thick ground cover that looks regal, the formal attire hosta is a good choice. It is a large hosta, reaching 3ft in height and width. It sports a blue green hue, and creamy white edges. As summer progresses, the leaves turn dark green, and the edges become yellow. Light purple colors sit atop the plant all throughout summer.
12. Silver Threads and Golden Needles hosta
If you are looking for a compact yet striking hosta, this one is the choice. It has golden yellow leaves with silver and green blotches. The most interesting thing about this hosta is that each leaf shows a distinct characteristic depending on their level of exposure to the sun. It is perfect as a container or border plant, and it blooms light purple flowers throughout summer.
13. Daybreak hosta
Anyone would love the broad, deep gold-colored leaves of this hosta variety. When it is touched by sunlight, the golden hue turns into chartreuse.
It has a puckered texture, has high tolerance to heat, and is somewhat resistant to slugs which is a major upside for slug-vulnerable hostas. It grows at 2ft in height and 3ft in width. It also blooms lilac-colored flowers during summer.
14. Blue mouse ears hosta
It is obvious as to why this hosta is named as such. Growing to just 6-inches, the foliage of this one is small, curled at the edges, and sports a blue green hue.
The leaves follow a symmetrical mounding habit. It has thick, waxy leaves that are resistant to slugs and its lavender flowers are showier than most hosta plants as they reach to a foot.
15. Color festival hosta
This one is a tricolor hosta, featuring lighter yellow green leaves, yellow streaks all over, and deep green edges. You would find these three colors in each leaf, but at different spots and coverage so this makes an interesting container and border plant.
The foliage has an overlapping mound habit and it grows to a height of 16-18-inches max and a width of 12-16-inches.
16. Curly fries hosta
This one looks different compared to its other hosta counterparts. This one has elongated, narrow, drooping leaves that are rippled on the edges and often come in chartreuse colors. Blooming with light purple color in the summer, you can opt for this for a whimsical looking garden or landscape.
17. First frost Halcyon hosta
This one sports large, overlapping leaves with blue green foliage and golden yellow edges in the spring and summer. The golden yellow borders transform into pure white as soon as fall comes, making it look like it is already kissed by the first winter frost.
It grows at a height 12-16-inches and a width of 36-inches. It blooms a 28-inches high stem in the middle for its purple-colored flowers. It is resistant to insects and slugs.
18. Fragrant Bouquet hosta
It is not the only hosta with fragrant flowers, but it is the one with the most fragrant bunch, hence the name. It sports a medium size, apple green leaf color with white edges. It can tolerate the dappled heat of the morning sun in zones 4-11. It has a notably fast growth rate, reaching a maximum height of 18-24-inches and a spread of 24-inches.
19. Gold Standard hosta
When it comes to majestic looking hostas, this one does not disappoint. It has broad, oblong and a bit elongated, overlapping leaves that span 8-inches in length and 5-inches in width.
Its foliage is bold chartreuse with mottled green edges most days but when summer comes, it would turn into golden yellow color with cream edges. In mid-summer, the purple flowers begin to appear. It grows at a height of 12-28-inches.
20. Golden Tiara hosta
This one is known for its small, heart shaped, overlapping leaves. It grows at a compact form and grows quickly to just 6-12-inches in height and 24-36-inches in spread.
Unlike other hostas, its summer blooms are deep purple in color and blooms so profusely. Also, in contrast with other hostas with flowers until early winter, this one can rebloom anytime if the plant was deadheaded before the first bloom.
21. Hosta June
This one is the most common hosta out there. It can be mistaken for the colors of pothos, only it is not cascading and it has a more dramatic look.
Its variegated leaves come in lime green and golden streaks plus a blue-green edge. It blooms lavender colored flowers in the summer and grows at a height of 6-10-inches and a spread of 16-20-inches.
22. Hosta Patriot
This one is another popular hosta which sports glossy, heart shaped leaves with prominent, white margins up to the stalk. They grow in an upright, overlapping manner, hence the name. It also features purple-colored flowers, grows at 12-22-inches and comes with a spread of 36-48-inches.
23. Krossa Regal hosta
Without a doubt, this one indeed, looks kingly in the landscape. It stands in compact mounds, reaching a height of 3-4ft and sports an equal spread when it reaches maturity.
It would grow well in areas where it can receive full morning light and afternoon shade. It has blue green leaves, yellow edges, and blooms lavender flowers come late summer.
24. Hosta Vulcan
This one is a real standout in the garden. It has a deep green foliage with a prominent, bright white center and lighter green edges. The foliage is heart shaped and follows an overlapping mound.
It grows at just 6-10-inches and has a spread of 16-32-inches. It loves the morning sun and dappled shade. Its lavender colored flowers lure hummingbirds around during summer.
25. Empress Wu Hosta
This is one of the largest hosta available with a height of 4-5ft and a spread of 6-8ft. It has heart-shaped, veined leaves with a puckered texture in blue green color and light-yellow edges.
The foliage follows an overlapping, drooping habit. This one highly prefers full shade or cold climates where dappled morning light can run for just a few hours. It also loves moisture so frequent watering is required.
26. Hosta Fire Island
This one is a magical scene in the garden with its bright yellow color, fading into chartreuse as the season progresses to summer. The leaves rippled on the edge and looked corrugated.
Unlike other yellow-colored hostas, this one cannot tolerate a lot of sunlight. The lavender-colored blooms shall appear mid-summer. It reaches a height of 10-15-inches. This hosta cultivar is considered a nursery hybrid.
27. Hosta Sum and Substance
This is a popular hosta cultivar which grows tall in hosta measurements, to 2-3ft and is considered a large hosta with its 5ft spread. It features heart-shaped leaves, deeply veined, glossy, and sports yellow green leaves that become golden yellow in the summer.
It blooms light purple flowers all throughout summer, sitting atop the plant on a 38-inches stalk. It is a multi-awarded yellow hosta cultivar.
28. Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans’
This is another large hosta as it grows to 3ft in height and 4ft in spread. It has broad, heart shaped leaves, glossy, veined, and deeply textured. It has a deep green color most of the season and then turns into a hint of blue green as summer comes. The bluish white flowers bloom as early as spring, clustered in a 36-inch stalk.
It is considered a slow grower and it could take many years before it could reach its maximum 3ft height.
29. Hosta plantaginea
We have established that hostas are primarily grown for their foliage but the hosta plantaginea is an exception. This one blooms large and fragrant white flowers throughout summer. As a ground cover, it just grows at a height of 12-18-inches and a spread of 24-inches at maximum.
It sports small, heart-shaped, mounding leaves that are pale green in color. It is, however, a fast spreader and might require frequent division every two years.
30. Hosta Blue Ivory
This one is very eye-catching with its deep blue leaves with creamy margins most of the year and then turns bright white during summer. The flowers of the Blue Ivory are equally eye-catching too.
It sports lavender colored and star-shaped flowers in the summer, clustered in a 2-ft stem. It is one of those slow growing hostas with a height that is just 12-18-inches and a spread of 30-inches.
31. Hosta Dancing Queen
This spectacular hosta has one of the most beautiful foliage of all hosta plants. It has pie-crust shaped leaves, with a satin, glossy texture, and a bright yellow color that turns paler in the summer as the lavender colored blooms appear.
This one grows at just 2-ft and a spread of 22-36-inches. The main selling point of this hosta would be its bright, changing color.
32. Hosta geisha
The Geisha is an elegant hosta and will look spectacular as a border plant or as a container plant. It has an elongated foliage which is crumpled, and a bit twisty at the edge.
It has a golden yellow color most of the year and then turns into dark olive green in the summer. It also blooms light purple, star shaped flowers mid-summer, sitting atop its overlapping mounds on a 2ft stem. It has a steady growth rate and grows at a maximum height of 18-inches.
33. Hosta Minuteman
If you are looking for a beautiful underplant, the minuteman is a prime choice. It has won several awards through the years with its beautiful clump forming foliage with dark green color and bright white margins.
It also has bright white streaks in the middle. It grows to 18-inches in height and a spread of 30-inches. Its lavender blooms start emerging at early summer in a 2-ft stem.
34. Hosta paradigm
This is another multi-awarded hosta which is used for edging, groundcover and as a container plant. It sports elegant chartreuse foliage with dark green margins. As summer comes close, the leaves turn to golden yellow.
They have a glossy, satiny texture and are deeply veined. The flowers are purple and funnel-shaped. They start emerging mid-summer and are a favorite of hummingbirds and songbirds.
35. Hosta Paul’s Glory
This one lives up to its multi-awarded reputation because of its majestic foliage. It has broad, heart-shaped foliage, dense, with a blue green and chartreuse to bright yellow color with deep green margins as the season progresses. It grows at 1-2-ft and comes with a spread of 3-ft. It also features trumpet-shaped flowers that are lavender in color.
They emerge late summer and sit atop a 40-inch stem. Like the paradigm, it is loved by hummingbirds. Its main plus is it is resistant to slugs and insects unlike most hosta plants. It is used for edging, groundcover, or as a container plant.
36. Hosta praying hands
With its slightly folded foliage, it looks like praying hands when viewed from afar. More than that, it is a unique hosta because its foliage is narrow, rippled on the edges and elongated, not heart shaped.
The leaves are dark olive green and blooms lilac-colored flowers in the summer. It is also a multi-awarded hosta plant and looks splendid as a container plant.
37. Hosta sagae
This, without a doubt, is one of the finest container, groundcover and specimen hostas out there. It comes with blue-green, frosted like leaves, that turn grayish as the season progresses. It grows to a maximum of 28-inches and has a large spread of 54-inches. It sports deep purple flowers on a 2ft stem. While it is easy to grow, it is quite vulnerable to slugs and insects.
How many different types of hostas are there?
As has been said, hosta plants are grown primarily for their beautiful, variegated foliage that would easily spruce up any garden or landscape. As of writing, there are 70 listed species of hosta and more than 3000 registered varieties and cultivars.
Are hostas poisonous to dogs?
Yes. This is another downside for hostas. The leaves contain a toxin called saponin which can be fatal to dogs when a large amount is ingested. This substance can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and other symptoms of poisoning that can lead to death if not mitigated immediately.
Are hostas edible?
Yes. But only the very young hostas. Culturally, the Japanese people have been eating young hostas for many centuries. They are usually boiled or fried in tempura. Sometimes they are eaten raw or are incorporated in salads since its taste resembles the taste of asparagus and lettuce.
How long can hostas live?
Once established, hostas can fare well on their own, even in neglect as long as all care requirements are met. In terms of longevity, it is said that it could survive for up to 30 years in partial shade to full shade areas. It could also thrive in dappled morning light.
What plants are the best companions for hostas?
If you have chosen hosta to be a part of your garden or your landscape, the following plants are the best companions for this bright, beautifully, foliaged plant.
|Painted ferns||Bluebird columbine|
|Coral bells||Toad lily|
Perhaps, the best thing about hostas is that you would never run out of a viable option. From very low ground covers to a bit taller variety for a more color popping garden, there is just a hosta cultivar or species to choose from. With their beautiful, variegated leaves, plus clusters of summer flowers, aesthetically, hostas are fail-proof landscape plants.
Maybe, the only downside would be their susceptibility to slugs and insects but fortunately, there are now hybrids that are resistant to these. To sum it all up, hostas might be less known landscape and container plants, but they sure are worth the shot.