Also known as: Plantain Lily

A common plant found in many woodland and foliage gardens, hostas are the best-selling perennials in North America. The plant is native to Southeast Asia and is classified in the succulent family. The Japanese name "giboshi" refers to a pillar cap on an ornamental bridge, the same shape that the hosta's leaves take. It's known as an effective, beautiful groundcover that needs little care.

Hostas are prized for their stunning foliage above everything else – the leaves are smooth and sometimes shiny with pronounced veins, and can be blue, green, yellow, or chartreuse. They are often variegated, bordered or striped with white. Hostas have small purple or white flowers, but they sometimes clash with the leaves. If this is the case, you can prune them so that only the beautiful foliage shows. The plant grows up to 36 inches and has a spread of up to 40 inches. The flowering season is in the summer and early fall.

Growing Hostas

Hostas enjoy growing in very light to partial shade, but they will grow in full shade and a few rare varieties will grow in full sun. You can start from seeds, but the hosta seedlings can take up to three seasons to flower. Hostas do well when they're divided, and they should be split in the spring, if you wish, to propagate more plants. Hostas like a fertile, moist and well-drained soil. Hostas that aren't watered regularly will start to yellow and die off. Hostas that are overwatered can rot.

Recommended Varieties

There are over 5000 cultivars of this plant, and so many different varieties that are popular. A few lovely ones are "Fortune's Hosta", which has generated many variations; "Fragrant Hosta", and "Seersucker Hosta".

Landscape Design Tips

Hostas are perfect for a woodland garden or as a border plant, but they really come into their own as groundcover. Plant them in a lightly shaded place in your yard with relatively moist soil and see them cover your flowerbed with beautiful foliage.

Gardening Zones

Hostas are very hardy in zones 3 to 8.

Problems & Pests:

Hostas are prone to slugs, leaf spot and crown rot and also chewing insects such as weevils and caterpillars.