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Our Favorite Hostas with Captivating Foliage

"Hostas are like old friends. They quietly fill the spaces, bringing beauty and tranquility to the garden." - Paul Aden

Hostas have earned a special place in the hearts of garden enthusiasts, thanks to their stunning foliage and adaptability in garden design. These beloved plants come in a wide array of colors, sizes, and leaf patterns, allowing for captivating displays in both sun-drenched and shaded areas. Join us as we delve into some of our favorite hosta varieties, carefully categorized into small, medium, and large sizes. Whether you’re tending to a cozy container garden or nurturing a sprawling landscape, there’s a hosta variety that is sure to elevate the beauty of your outdoor space.

Small Hostas

Itty Gold

Itty Gold is a miniature hosta cultivar with green and creamy white leaves. The leaves are very stiff, cupped, and twisted, with a creamy white center. This little gem belongs in any hosta collection. Itty Gold produces pale purple flowers in summer.

Mature Size:
5” tall by 13” wide

Why Should I Grow It?
If you’re a fan of miniature hostas and love the unique cupped and twisted leaves, Itty Gold is a charming addition to your garden.

Moonstruck

Moonstruck is a small hosta with long, narrow, white leaves framed by a wavy blue-green margin. The leaves emerge with yellow centers bordered by blue-green margins. By midsummer, the leaves turn white with blue-green margins and exhibit lighter green streaks where the center and margin overlap. 

Mature Size:
10” tall by 24” wide

Why Should I Grow It?
If you’re a collector and love the idea of having all the hosta varieties, Moonstruck is a must-have addition to your collection.

Blue Mouse Ears

Blue Mouse Ears is a miniature hosta and was the American Hosta Growers Hosta of the Year in 2008. It has thick, blue-gray leaves that are almost perfectly round, making it unique among hostas. This cute hosta is great for rock gardens or miniature gardens. 

Mature Size:
8” tall by 19” wide

Why Should I Grow It?
Blue Mouse Ears is quite possibly the most famous hosta of all time. Its cute, small mound of thick blue-green foliage adds a charming touch to any garden.

Medium Hostas

June

June is a distinctive hosta with gold leaves and striking blue-green margins. The leaves stand out in lightly shaded beds and woodland gardens. Pale lavender flowers appear on showy scapes above the foliage in summer. It has heavy, substantial foliage that resists slug damage and was selected as the 2001 Hosta of the Year.

Mature Size:
12” tall by 30” wide. Blooms reach 20” tall.

Why Should I Grow It?
If you’re looking for a hosta with distinctive gold foliage and excellent slug resistance, June is a fantastic choice.

Liberty

Liberty is a gorgeous hosta variety with blue-green leaves with wide, dramatically streaked yellow margins that fade to a creamy white. Showy lavender flowers are produced in summer. The thick foliage exhibits remarkable slug resistance, and it adds stunning color to any shade border or woodland garden. Liberty was the 2012 Hosta of the Year.

Mature Size:
24” tall by  36” wide

Why Should I Grow It?
If you’re looking to add dramatic color and remarkable slug resistance to your shade garden, Liberty is an excellent choice.

Patriot

Patriot is a superb, compact hosta with more heat tolerance than other popular varieties. It features glossy, bold, dark green foliage with gleaming white edges. It’s great for brightening a full or dappled shade border.

Mature Size: 12” to 20″ tall by 30″ wide

Why Should I Grow It? If you’re in search of a compact hosta with good heat tolerance and contrasting dark green and white foliage, Patriot is a fantastic option.

Grand Prize

Grand Prize is a medium-sized hosta with brighter and showier yellow margins. It forms a dense mound of bright foliage that shines in the shade garden. It produces purple flowers in midsummer, which contrast nicely with the yellow foliage.

Mature Size: 12″ tall by 24″ wide

Why Should I Grow It? If you’re seeking a vigorous grower of bright foliage, Grand Prize is a great addition to the border of your garden.

Guacamole

Guacamole is a hosta variety with soft avocado green and yellow-marbled foliage. It has streaks of slightly darker blue-green, and large flower stalks with white lavender blooms that release a soft, sweet fragrance. It requires full shade in hot summer areas and provides a great contrast in both color and texture in the shade garden.

Mature Size: 18″ tall by 24″ wide

Why Should I Grow It? If you’re looking for a hosta with unique coloration and a sweet fragrance, Guacamole is an excellent choice.

First Frost

First Frost is a hosta selection prized for its robust foliage, which remains attractive straight through to the first frost. It has rich blue-green leaves with a creamy yellow border that gradually fades to white. It exhibits excellent adaptability to varied climates and conditions, and its thick leaves resist slug damage. First Frost was selected as the 2010 Hosta of the Year.

Mature Size: 16″ tall by 36″ wide. Blooms reach 20″ tall

Why Should I Grow It? If you’re looking for a hosta with attractive foliage that remains stunning until the first frost, First Frost is an outstanding choice.

Fire Island

Fire Island is a small to medium-sized hosta that is hard to miss in the spring garden. Its leaves emerge brilliant yellow on red petioles, and the red coloring extends from the base of the petiole up into the leaves. As the season progresses, the foliage darkens to chartreuse, but the red petioles remain all season long. The broadly ovate leaves are slightly corrugated with distinctly rippled margins at maturity. Lavender flowers are produced in midsummer. It is a vigorous grower and thrives best in full shade.

Mature Size:  10 to 14″ tall by 15 to 30″ wide

Why Should I Grow It? If you’re looking for a hosta with striking color contrast and unique leaf characteristics, Fire Island will make a vibrant addition to your garden.

Risky Business

Risky Business is an all-white-centered sport of ‘Striptease’ that shines in the hosta garden. It features dark green leaves that contrast beautifully with the thin, bright white center. The leaves often exhibit lighter green streaks where the margin and leaf center overlap. Risky Business is a vigorous grower with slightly wavy foliage and pale lavender flowers in midsummer.

Mature Size: 22″ tall by 48″ wide

Why Should I Grow It? Risky Business is an excellent choice if you’re seeking a white-centered hosta that stands out and performs well in your garden.

Stained Glass

Stained Glass is a hosta variety with bright golden leaves featuring wide, deep green margins and prominent veining, giving the appearance of stained glass. It produces large, fragrant, pale lavender flowers that complement the dramatic foliage. Stained Glass was designated as the 2006 Hosta of the Year.

Mature Size: 15″ tall by 36 to 48″ wide

Why Should I Grow It? If you want to add bold color and texture to your landscape or container, Stained Glass is a fantastic hosta variety.

Touch of Class

Touch of Class is a sport of ‘June’ and a tetraploid hosta variety. Its intense blue leaves are set off by the striking chartreuse to yellow center and green jetting between the center and the margin. The leaves are of exceptionally heavy substance and are held more upright than ‘June.’ In midsummer, it produces lavender flowers on 22” scapes.

Mature Size:  16″ tall, spread varies

Why Should I Grow It? Touch of Class is an outstanding hosta variety if you’re looking for intense blue foliage with a contrasting center and exceptional leaf substance.

Autumn Frost

Autumn Frost is a striking hosta that forms a medium-sized mound of showy, frosty blue leaves with extra-wide, bright yellow margins. As the season progresses, the margins lighten to creamy white. It produces light lavender flowers in summer.

Mature Size:  12″ tall by 24″ wide

Why Should I Grow It? If you’re looking to add color and contrast to your shade garden, Autumn Frost’s striking foliage will make a beautiful impact.

Fire and Ice

Fire and Ice is a variegated hosta with slightly twisted leaves that feature white centers and green margins. Lovely lavender flower stalks with white scapes rise above the foliage clumps throughout summer.

Mature Size: Fast growing. 14 to 16″ tall by 12 to 24″ wide

Why Should I Grow It? Fire and Ice is an ideal choice if you want a hosta with variegated foliage that adds interest and brightness to your garden.

Dream Weaver

Dream Weaver is a hosta variety that provides beautiful color and texture for landscapes or containers. Its large rounded leaves have blue-green edges and creamy white centers. Tubular white flowers rise on tall scapes above the neatly clumping foliage in midsummer.

Mature Size: 18 to 24″ tall by 24 to 36″ wide

Why Should I Grow It? Dream Weaver is an excellent option if you want a hosta with attractive foliage and tall scapes that add vertical interest to your garden.

Big Daddy

Big Daddy is heavily puckered, cool glaucous blue, rounded, cupped leaves. Showy scapes of white, bell-shaped flowers rise above the foliage in summer. It is an excellent choice for the background of shade gardens, thriving under tree canopies. Its thick leaves resist slug damage.

Mature Size: Slow growing.  24” tall by 3 to 4′ wide

Why Should I Grow It? If you’re looking for a large hosta that adds a bold statement and excellent slug resistance to your garden, Big Daddy is an ideal choice.

Large Hostas

Blue Angel

Blue Angel is the largest of the blue hostas with pointed, silver-blue leaves forming a lush, dense, cascading mound. It produces white, bell-like flowers on tall stems that adorn the huge clump in summer. Blue Angel attracts attention in dappled shade gardens.

Mature Size:  2 to 3′ tall by 6′ wide. Blooms reach 3 to 4 ‘ tall

Why Should I Grow It? If you’re looking for a hosta variety that creates a large, cascading mound of stunning blue foliage and makes a bold statement in your shade garden, Blue Angel is a perfect choice.

Elegans

Elegans is a large hosta that attracts attention with its huge, blue-gray, heart-shaped leaves. White flowers with a slight lavender tinge are held just above the foliage in summer. It’s a wonderful choice to fill large gaps in woodland gardens.

Mature Size: 2 to 3′ tall by 3 to 4′ wide

Why Should I Grow It? If you’re seeking a hosta with large, attractive blue-gray foliage to fill empty spaces in your garden, Elegans is an excellent option.

Krossa Regal

Krossa Regal is a hosta variety with shimmering, frosty-blue, upright foliage that makes it a standout in the shade garden. Pale lavender flowers are displayed on 5’ tall stalks above the foliage. Its thick leaves resist slug damage. Krossa Regal creates a dramatic statement when paired with creamy variegated hostas.

Mature Size: Moderate growing. 3′ tall by 3′ wide

Why Should I Grow It? Krossa Regal is an excellent choice if you want a hosta with eye-catching, upright, frosty-blue foliage that adds elegance and drama to your garden.

Shadowland® Empress Wu

Shadowland® ‘Empress Wu’ is the Proven Winners National Hosta of the Year for 2023. It is often said to have the largest leaves on a commercially available hosta. This massive plant forms a gigantic upright mound of huge, thick, dark green leaves topped with pale reddish-violet flowers. It will make a fantastic statement in your shade garden.

Mature Size: 36 to 48″ tall by 60 to 72″ wide

Why Should I Grow It? Shadowland® ‘Empress Wu’ is an excellent choice if you want a hosta with truly impressive foliage size and a commanding presence in your garden.

Sum and Substance

Sum and Substance is perhaps the largest and most popular hosta variety. It has immense, leathery leaves of chartreuse that become gold as summer approaches. It makes a bold landscape feature, especially when accentuated by smaller bright-colored hostas and other perennials. The thick foliage resists slug damage. Sum and Substance was designated as the Hosta of the Year in 2004.

Mature Size: Fast growing. 2 to 3′ tall by 5 to 6′ wide

Why Should I Grow It? Sum and Substance is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a large hosta with impressive foliage that makes a statement in your garden.

Vulcan

Vulcan is a medium-sized hosta with flashy foliage that has pure white-centered leaves, dark green borders, and golden-yellow streaks that light up the interior margins where the green and white overlap. It’s ideal for a dappled shade border. Tall stems of showy, pale lavender flowers rise above the foliage in summer.

Mature Size: Moderate growing. 18″ tall by 2’ wide

Why Should I Grow It? Vulcan is an excellent choice if you want a hosta with striking foliage coloration and a showy flower display in your garden.

Shadowland® Diamond Lake

Shadowland® ‘Diamond Lake’ is a large blue hosta variety that adds color to your shade garden. It has attractive, heart-shaped, thick, and heavily corrugated blue leaves with wavy margins. It produces pale lavender flowers.

Mature Size: 17″ tall by 45″ wide. Scape reaches 25 to 28″ tall

Why Should I Grow It? Shadowland® ‘Diamond Lake’ is a great option if you’re looking for a hosta with substantial blue foliage and attractive leaf texture that adds beauty to your garden.

Hostas offer endless Possibilities

With their diverse sizes, colors, and leaf patterns, hostas offer endless possibilities for creating captivating displays in your garden. From the charming small hostas like Itty Gold and Blue Mouse Ears to the impressive large varieties like Sum and Substance and Empress Wu, there’s a hosta to suit every garden style and preference. So, embrace the beauty of hostas and transform your garden into a mesmerizing oasis of foliage. Happy gardening!

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