I Think I'm a Hosta-holic...

I'm not sure what it is about hostas but it seems that lately, I've become somewhat of a hosta-holic.

I can't really put my finger on it, but there's something about them that I simply can't resist.  Is it the way that the beautiful, fresh foliage comes up in spring and just keeps going all season long, always providing a cooling respite from the heat & blazing sun of summer?  Is it the different shades of green & blue, some plain while others are streaked with cream, white, gold or gray?  Or is it all of the leaf shapes, sizes and textures - smooth, puckered, corrugated, wavy?   Large as a dinner plate or small as a quarter?  Narrow, rounded, heart shaped?  Maybe it's the way that they are all just different enough to make it interesting, but still similar enough to blend together.  Or the way that they can be easily divided and moved around the garden to fill in shady gaps in the borders.  Or perhaps it's how each clump seems to keep getting better and better with each passing year.  How about all of the above!

One of several OG to the garden hostas, variety unknown
Practically zero care in the past 14 years (I don't even water it
in the heat of summer) and it's still going strong

Whenever I'm at a garden center lately, I inevitably end up in the hosta section.  And more often than not, one or two end up in my cart.  This morning I was going through all of the hostas I've added to the garden this spring ('cause I keep a running list of all the plants in my garden - don't judge!) and realized that I've added a whopping 16 varieties 😲.  I knew I had added quite few but even I was surprised when I realized just how many.

So today, I thought I would quickly run through each of the varieties I plonked into the garden in the past couple of months.  Some have further to go than others when it comes to reaching their full size as they were bare-root plants (a first for me).  I have to say that the ability to purchase bare-root hostas was a bit of a revelation - so much less expensive (read:  I can get more😁)!  If you go the bare-root way, however, you do have to be patient as they'll take 1+ years longer to bulk up than their potted counterparts.  That's ok with me - watching them grow and flourish is such a satisfying part of gardening!

Unboxing bare-root hostas plus a few other goodies

While I do have a running list of varieties I want to add to the garden, most of the time my purchases are of the 'see it-love it-buy it' type.  Then I find out more about it - and figure out where to squeeze it into the garden - after the fact.  Yes - I'm one of THOSE gardeners.  But when it comes to the garden, it's all about whatever makes you happy, right???

Now to the meat of the matter.  All of the photos in this post are of the plants in my own garden, so just be aware that they are still babies - some more than others!  This, coupled with the fact that we are still in the early part of the season, means that their leaf structure and/or colouration may not yet be fully developed.

For each variety, I've listed their (anticipated) final size as well as one or two interesting tidbits to pique your interest.  In terms of hardiness, a couple of sites indicate that hostas are only viable up to zone 8, but the vast majority rate them as hardy from zones 3-9.

Abiqua Drinking Gourd
18-24” tall x 3-4’ wide
Heavily corrugated & twisted leaves are quite large (up to 11") and nearly round.  This variety was registered by Dr. Purtyman who saw a dog drinking from the leaves after a rainstorm, giving it the 'Drinking Gourd' portion of it's name. 

August Moon
16-20” tall x 36-42” wide
Opens chartreuse green but matures to gold in the summer if given some sun exposure.  This cultivar is more tolerant of sun than most other hostas.

Barbara Ann
24” tall x 48” wide
Heavily corrugated blue leaves are slightly cupped and have large, irregular pure white margins.

Blue Angel
2-3’ tall x 4’ wide
Slightly wavy blue-green leaves with gentle corrugation.  Emerges blue but will turn blue-green to green by mid-summer - holds onto the blue colour best if it isn't exposed to direct sunlight.

Blue Hawaii
30” tall x 45” wide
Upright, vase shaped form with corrugated powder blue leaves.  As with most blue hostas, it holds it's blue colour all season if kept out of direct sunlight.

Brother Stefan
28” tall x 62” wide
Heavily corrugated leaves are green with a gold centre.  When it emerges in spring, the edges may have more of a bluish tint with a chartreuse centre.

Glad Tidings
15” tall x 25” wide
The thick leaves emerge chartreuse and mature to yellow, becoming more pebbled as the season goes on.

22” tall x 38” wide
A classic that I can't believe took me so long to finally get into the garden!  Huge apple green leaves with dark green margins (just like an avocado, apparently!).  One of it's claims to fame are the flowers, which are said to be very fragrant - can't wait to see for myself!

12” tall x 32” wide
Gorgeous ruffled leaves with glaucous blue-green margins and creamy centre.  I love all of the hostas I added this spring, but if I had to pick a favourite, this would probably be it.

16” tall x 3” wide
Blue margins that transition to green then continue onto a yellow centre.  If sited in full shade, the leaf centre will be more of a lime-green shade.

Lipstick Blonde
12” tall x 20” wide
Bright yellow leaves with equally bright red petioles.  This one colours up best if sited in a partly sunny location.  Mine gets a good amount of sun but doesn't have the red colouration yet, I'm thinking because it's still a baby. 

Paisley Border
16” tall x 33” wide
Long, tapered leaves are green with creamy white margins that get more streaky with age.  Leaves are lightly cupped, dimpled and wavy.  This one is the tiniest of all the bare-root hostas I purchased - it currently measures only 2" across.

Paul’s Glory
25” tall x 55” wide
Leaves emerge chartreuse with a blue-green margin.  The leaf centre brightens to gold as the season progresses.  It can apparently handle a lot of sun in the northeast, where the centre of the leaf becomes almost white by the end of the season.

Rainforest Sunrise
10” tall x 25” wide
Corrugated leaves are slightly cupped and emerge light green, then quickly develop dark green borders & a golden centre.  If grown in heavy shade, the centre remains lime-green.

Stained Glass
15” tall x 48” wide
Huge 10" leaves with golden centres and dark green margins.  Prominent veins give the leaves a 'stained glass' look as they mature.  This one is a sport of Guacamole & it's flowers are also fragrant.

13” tall x 24” wide
Leaves are very thick and dark green with creamy streaking (that turns white by mid-summer) running down the middle.

And that's the rundown of all the new-to-the-garden hosta varieties this year.....so far anyhow.  We're only in the 1st week of July after all πŸ˜‰.  I still have to get the drip irrigation hooked up to all of them (moist soil is one of the keys to success when growing hostas, especially in the first few years while they are getting established) but once that's done, all I have left to do is sit back & enjoy.

Happy Gardening!


  1. That's a lot of hostas! I'd be infatuated with them too if they had any chance of surviving more than a nanosecond in my climate. If offered in local garden centers at all, there's just one hosta variety available in small numbers for the few buyers that haven't had their hearts broken by previously killing it. But other than your plant choice, I can identify with your plant obsession, as well as the practice of keeping a running record of my plant acquisitions and the tendency to buy now and find some place to cram it later. Best wishes for much success with your new purchases.

    1. Oh, thank you so much Kris! It's so funny how we (in colder climates) always think that those in warmer climates can grow just about anything. Yes, I'm a bit obsessive about keeping track of the plants I have, including mapping them out (to scale!) in excel πŸ˜‰

  2. Oh how fun! We had so many Hostas here when we moved in more than two decades ago, so I think I take them for granted. I don't have as many varieties as you do, though. They are fascinating plants and great for shade and partial shade. Fun stuff!

    1. Thanks Beth! I took them pretty much for granted too up until a few years ago and then I went to a nursery that had a TON of them and I was shocked by the number of varieties....and down the Hosta rabbit-hole I went, lol!

  3. I love hostas too but we are giving up on them. They look great until the slugs and snails move in and then they become a tattered mess. We've tried all sorts if deterrents but none seem to work. Mollusca are also hostaholics.

    1. Very true - we do get our share of slugs & snails, but they usually don't do enough damage to really harm the plants. Having said that, I'm a BIG fan of thick-leaved Hostas - they are usually described as slug/snail resistant and I do find that to be the case as they stay pretty much intact when more tender varieties are being chewed.

  4. I do love hostas and had near 100 different ones in my old shade garden. Now in my small garden just a few in containers, but oh I still love them.

    1. Wow...100? That's amazing! And you make a great point - no matter the size of your garden, there's always room for a few hostas!


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