Bring the Outdoors Home

Hosta | Plant Profile

Hosta refers to a genus of herbaceous, leafy perennials that are popular for their attractive foliage. The leaves are often ovate or heart shaped and variegated. Variegated leaves have more than one color per leaf.  Hosta are naturally mound-forming. Tall, straight flower stalks rise far above the foliage and produce small, funnel shaped flowers in spring or summer.

Hosta prefer consistently moist, fertile, well drained soils in part shade. While they can often tolerate full shade, part shade is preferred. Do not allow the soils to dry out, even though established plants may have some drought tolerance. When watering, it is best to avoid the leaves and soak the soils at the base of the plant. Some wind protection can be appreciated. Divide Hosta in early spring to propagate or control the size.

Hosta are extremely popular garden options in the Pittsburgh area. The foliage is highly ornamental and the size and shape are very agreeable to landscaping near homes. They make fantastic accent pieces to flower and shade gardens.


Hosta Characteristics

There are about 70 different varieties of Hosta. See below for some of the most commonly used varieties.

'Patriot' (Pictured) can grow to 20" tall with densely packed variegated leaves. The leaves have green centers with white rims. Lavender flowers grow high above the foliage.

'Sum and Substance' are a large variety that can grow to 30" tall and twice as wide. Young leaves are light green but become more golden with age if exposed to the sun. Fragrant white flowers bloom above the large foliage. The dense foliage of this variety of Hosta can crowd out weeds.

'Elegans' grows up to 30" tall and 50" wide. The heart shaped foliage is large, flat, and thick. The flowers are white with slight hints of violet. They are slow growing plants that can take years to reach their full size.

'Frances Williams' may only reach to 24" tall but up to 60" wide. The large variegated leaves have blue-green centers with yellow-green edges. The leaves can each reach up to 1' long. The white flowers of summer often have hints of lilac.

Hosta can be vulnerable to wildlife that is attracted to the large leave. Snails and slugs, rabbits, and deer can all damage the foliage. Crown rot and leave spot can occur, but are not common. Hosta survive well in the Pittsburgh area.

USDA Climate Zone
Zones 3 - 8
1.50 - 2.00'
2.50 - 3.00'
Bloom Time
Part Shade - Full Shade
Deer Resistant?