Hostas are a wonderful plant to have in the garden They are extremely versatile perennials that do well in a large zone range (US 3-9) and are winter hardy. They make for a fantastic border, filler, or ground cover, especially in shaded areas. If you’re in need of a perfect shade plant, this is the one you want.
These gorgeous plants come in all shapes and sizes and feature a fun mix of colors too. In this post, we will touch on and discuss all of the best options you have for your garden. From small hostas, large and giant, variegated hostas and the most popular varieties.
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Growing them is fun because you will have access to all different colors, shapes and sizes! They have such a wide range in shapes and sizes and range anywhere from 4 inches across to some that can stretch all the way up 6 feet across.
You will definitely want to do your research to ensure you’re picking the right variety for your space!
One of the best things about these plants is that they are super hardy and you can get the bulbs started at any time of year. Check out this wonderful mixed hosta variety of 6 different bulbs to get your garden started. You’ll receive the bare roots in this package so you can start them in the ground, or in a container.
Small Hosta Varieties
Because these wonderful plants come in such a range of sizes, let’s break down some fabulous small hostas that work perfectly as borders to your garden. Maybe one of these smaller plants are the exact little extra oomph you need to fill a small space with big impact!
While they have a lot of reasons to be grown they probably aren’t the best hosta for shade as they are the smallest of the group. See my favorites below!
First of all, this is the greatest name for any small plant. It’s so true to it’s name too with its limeish green/yellow leaves. It’s a nice shade of green to add a fresh pop of green color not too common in other plants. As they are on the smaller side, you can expect them to grow up to 10 inches high and up to 20 inches wide.
These fast growers have a lovely curl and shine to them with a cute pointed tip offering a nice shape. The best part? They grow a beautiful purple color in late summer and the contrast is just wonderful.
Feel free to plant these in full or partial shade as they will do fine either way. They’re adaptable and very low maintenance. Most any soil conditions will work with regular watering.
I just love the Astral Bliss Hosta. It’s so soft and delicate looking, almost velvety. This small plant grows upright and shoots these beautifully wavy and pointy spikes of blue leaves out of the ground.
They hold their color throughout the season and provide some really nice dimension to the garden. This plant does better in a partial shade environment. It’s a little bigger than the Appletini Hosta and can grow up to 12 inches high and 24 inches wide. Still, with those parameters it falls into the small variety!
While the flowers don’t stick around too long, they do grow pretty lavender-esqe petals in late summer.
Blue Mouse Ears
These dainty and unique plants are really cute for their rounded edges that really do look like mouse ears! Also powdery blue in color, these little charmers typically grow up to 10 inches tall and 18 inches wide.
They have a nice, thick and hearty leaf that is slug resistant and will refrain from damage. Blue Mouse Ears grow tall, bell-like purple flowers in mid summer and prefers nearly full shade. This works well as they are also a great hosta shade plant too!
It’s a little more compact and the thick leave curl into one another so it makes this beautiful ruffle texture in the garden that can add a really nice element!
So, I guess I’m partial to blue hosta plants? I didn’t intentionally scout out blue ones but considering this is the third on my list, I’ll go out on a limb and say these might be my favorite.
The Blue Jay Hosta is a nice unique plant as I think the leave are a little more flat than other varieties but still have a nice thick feel to them. They are almost heart shaped when they do fold into themselves. The blue leaves are deep in their blue color and retain the shade of it well. In contrast to the earlier varieties I’ve mentioned, this plant grows pretty little white flowers!
It’s on the slightly larger side for a small plant as it can reach around 12 inches tall and 24 inches wide!
Large Hosta Varieties
So just how big do these leafy beasts get? Let’s talk about the largest varieties! Well, on average the large leaf hostas can grow on average 25 inches tall and around 40 inches wide.
These are big plants and are phenomenal at covering larges spaces and creating an amazing landscape. If you’re looking for varieties for shade, these are the ones you want.
August Moon Hostas are one of the most classic large varieties. They grow thick and rich. These beauties can grow up to 24 inches high and nearly twice as wide. They have a really pretty ribbing to their texture and have a yellow/gold/green tone to them.
They are super pretty and grow tall scape pale purple bell shaped flowers at the center. Luckily, these do well in the sun so they make for a great filler to any garden.
Praying Hands Hosta Plants are one of the most sought after and popular. They are unique because they grow more upright and have a nice height to them. Their leaves nearly fold in half coming to a pointy center with a shiny underside.
Beautiful purple flowers will bloom from the center in the late summer adding an extra layer of dazzling beauty to this plant. These are great for container gardening because while they do grow large, their size is mostly with their height, which can reach up to 30in.
I really enjoy the Sun Power because it has a very pretty yellow leaf that offers a little pop of color. Their leaves are longer than other plants and have a pretty crimp, or ruffle, to their edges. This one also has such a nice textured ribbing to their leaves.
The Sun Power can get huge so watch out! They can grow up to 30 inches tall and 60 inches wide! Feel free to plant them where they will receive sunlight regularly as they will do well.
The coveted Elephant Ear Hosta is a favorite in warm temperatures. They provide a lovely tropical element to their surroundings and can be some of the biggest leaves given the right conditions.
These beauties earned the name of Elephant Ear because they can be bigger than people, up to 9 feet tall! They can grow in partial or full shade, and moist hot environments. The Elephant Ear will survive winter as they are perennials and it’s a perfect time to prune and shape them.
They are rather fast growing so they may need to be cut back from time to time depending on the look you’re going for.
What is a variegated hosta? A Variegated plant is a fancy way of saying the leaves, or plant, have multiple colors on them. One of the greatest features of this awesome plant is their ability to have two or more tones, often in a creamy white or yellow color.
Some of the most popular variegated hosta varieties:
When to Plant Hostas
They can be planted anytime in the spring once the ground has thawed. They are cold weather resistant so feel free to plant them early. You can also start them in large containers and time of year.
I would recommend a lightweight but deep container to allow for their massive growth. Try this 7 Gallon nursery pot one at first as you’ll be able to easily transport it. It comes in a case of 5!