Hosta for the shade portions of your garden

Hosta for the shade portions of your garden

Hostas are a secret weapon for those of us with shady gardens. They come in crazy combination of shapes, textures and colors. You can look for them with a wide variety of leaf shapes, too – heart-shaped, oval, lance-shaped, round – and shiny, dull, smooth or textured. The colors vary from blue to bright green to yellow to red to whites.

Do you have little or no sun in areas of your yard? Well, you can still have color, and a gorgeous range of colors, at that. The bright chartreuse colors and white striped hostas are sure to brighten up dark areas in your landscape. And just wait until some of those hostas put up their tall spikes of white or lavender flowers in midsummer. You and local butterflies will love this plant!

The hosta is originally from Asia. There are more than 6,000 cultivars on the market. Listen to some of the crazy names: “Elvis Lives,” “Guacamole.” “Baby Booties,” “Blue Mouse Ears” and “Goodness Gracious.” The name “hosta” was given to honor a German collector of ferns and alpines named Nicholas Host.

Sherry Blanton, in her article “History of the Hosta,” reminds us of the “journey of the hosta from its roots in Japan, China and Korea.” The hosta became popular because in the 1700s when gardeners were looking for something different. Soon, the rich collectors began adding this “new” plant to their collections. Hosta arrived in London around 1788. By the early 18th century, hostas began to be noted in our country. That was good because the hosta is a “winner.”

Few perennials are as carefree as the hosta. They never need dividing. Once they are established, they shade the ground, helps cut down on weeds. Hostas are not that fussy about soils. Some of the hostas will even tolerate sun and shade conditions. Typically the plant you buy has a little stubby stem (rhizome), which you plant underground. The roots of the plant come out of the rhizome. Look for hostas that are meant to be grown in our Zone 8-9. They need to be watered if rain is scarce. If you see the edges of your hosta leaves turn papery or brown then they are trying to tell you that they are getting too much sun or not enough water. Established hosta planting has been in place for 30 years. Just get them off to a good start. Good luck!

You may want to try these other wonderful plants for shade: Astibe, Amethyst, Begonia, Coleus, Copper plant, Creeping Jenny, Flowering maple, garden hydrangea, Geranium cranebill, Heuchera, Impatiens, Japanese forest grass, Meadow Rue, Mirror Plant and Persian Shield.


Joette Reger is an avid gardener and prides  herself on staying up-to-date on the latest gardening activities and tips. She can be reached by e-mail at joreger [at] msn [dot] com and on Facebook at “Gardengate with Joette Reger.”