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A picture of a Hosta

Hosta

Hosta spp.

Also known as

Plantain Lily

Hosta sieboldiana Elegans2UME by Epibase (CC BY 2.5)

Partial Shade
Easy care
Moderate watering
Frost Hardy

6a

USDA zone

-23°C

Minimum temperature

Expected size

Height
Spread

1m

Max

1.2m

30cm

Min

30cm

Flowering

  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has no fragrance

More images of Hosta

A purple Hosta flower on a plant with green leaves in a garden
A Hosta plant in a garden with green leaves
A close up of a Hosta plant with green leaves
A close up of a green and white leaved Hosta plant
A photo of Hosta

Hosta Overview

The genus Hosta contains over 70 herbaceous perennial species. It originated in East-Central China and the species Plantaginea is still found there in the wild. Now seen across temperate climates of the Northern hemisphere, Hosta has been extensively cultivated, and many cultivars are available as a result. Their dense clumps of bold foliage are often variegated, the leaves being oval to heart-shaped, which can be any shade from light to dark green. Attractive cultivars have been produced with fantastically coloured foliage, sometimes bright yellow or blue-grey. Hosta produce typically funnel- or bell-shaped flowers, coloured purple or white most often; these are borne on upright stems, above the leaves, in early summer. Often grown as ground cover in shady places or in containers, some smaller species are suitable for rock gardens. Hostas are fully hardy, prefer shade, and like rich, moist, well-drained, neutral soil. Hostas are particularly prone to slugs and snails. All Hostas need some shade and few will thrive in open strong sunlight. A general rule is that the lighter foliage, the brighter the sunlight that will be tolerated. Variegated varieties tend to require more sun to keep their white, light green or gold stripes. The darker, bluer varieties need more shade. Once established, Hostas are pretty tough and will spread horizontally to make excellent ground cover.

Common problems with Hosta

Virus infections may be a problem for some species.

Hosta Companion Plants

How to propagate Hosta

Seed

Seeds can be collected and sown, but the resulting plants may be very different from the parents. Sow seeds in spring.

Division

Divide clumps every 4 or 5 years in late summer or early spring. Ensure each section has 1 to 3 good buds and trim away damaged roots. Replant at their original depth in the ground with the shoots just poking through the soil. Water and apply a granular feed.

Special features of Hosta

Attractive flowers

Attractive leaves

Ground cover

Other uses of Hosta

Grown for their decorative foliage. Form large clumps that are excellent for ground cover. Attracts hummingbirds in suitable geographical locations. With an OPALS rating of 1, these plants are considered 'Good' to include in a low allergen planting scheme.

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OPALS - Ogren Plant Allergy Scale

Plants with a very low potential to cause allergic reactions (1 to 3 rating)

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