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The Best of the Best Hostas

Experts fill us in on their favorites of the thousands of varieties out there

Fine Gardening – Issue 171
STATS Hosta spp. and cvs. USDA Hardiness Zones: 3–9 Conditions: Partial to full shade; moist, rich, well-drained soil Propagation: Division in spring or fall Problems: Deer, slugs, snails Who doesn’t love hostas? They’re big, they’re bold, and they’re pretty easy to grow—as long as you don’t have a healthy deer population. Hostas give gardeners in cooler zones the tropical look they long to have from plants like elephant ears (Colocasia spp. and cvs., USDA Hardiness Zones 9–11) and bananas (Musa spp. and cvs., Zones 8–11). But with popularity comes endless choices. Wander into the shade section of any nursery, and you’re bound to see a sea of hostas, in every conceivable size and color. Unfortunately, not all hostas are created equal. Some struggle to bulk up; others tend to lose their eye-catching variegation as the years pass. To help weed through the plethora of choices, Fine Gardening reached out to…

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