Hosta plants may quite possibly be the most recognized shade loving perennial, and there are good reasons for it. Whether you pronounce is ho-sta or ha-sta, it doesn’t really matter; what matters is if you have shade and are looking to diversify it – consider adding some of these shade loving easy to grow perennials to your garden this year.
Hosta can be used to add color and texture to your garden, even though they may just seem like green leafy plants. Their colors can range from light green, light blue green, deep blue green, variegated white, variegated yellow, yellow center with green edges and on and on, the possibilities are endless. A newly developed hosta is one that features red leaf stems or red flower petioles (such as the Cherry Berry Hosta). Not only can the colors of the foliage vary, but the texture of the plants can also differ. They can have glossy, shiny leaves, or flat, matte leaves. Also, the veins that run through the plants can be heavily corrugated or fine, using the various textures and colors in your shade garden will really make a nice display
They say size matters, and it is another important variable in the differences in designing your hosta garden. Some hosta can grow rather large, almost to the size of a small shrub. Giant hosta can grow up to 6’ wide and some species 4’ tall. Miniature hosta are great for containers, fairy gardens or small intimate shade gardens, they can be as little as 6-10” tall. With the over 500 varieties of hosta and there is a lot to choose from in between the largest and smallest hosta, there is a hosta suited for every shade garden. The overall growth of a hosta can be a factor in deciding where to place it in your shade garden, but the leaf size is also important too. Large hosta like Big Daddy can have leaves as wide as 10.5” and as long as 14”. Hosta such as Big Daddy Hosta or T-Rex Hosta have large leaves and can be planted alone in the hosta garden and used as a specimen plant.
When planning your hosta garden we suggest planting average size hosta in groups of odd numbers. Large hosta as mentioned above can be planted alone; they look nice with more average size hosta planted around and near them in groups of 3-5. Small hosta that are under 18” tall and wide are great for making a diverse shade border, or used as groundcover under low canopy ornamental trees.
Hosta are easy to grow, diverse and offer many attractive options for the shade garden. Plant them with other hosta or other shade loving perennials and we promise you won’t be disappointed.