Roughly 70 species make up this genus of mostly clumping perennials from China, Korea, Japan, and Russia. Hundreds of cultivars are available. They are grown for their bold foliage which may be variegated or shades of green, yellow, or grayish blue. Variegation may be wide-margined, narrow-margined, or centrally marked. Leaves can be ovate, lance-shaped, rounded, or heart-shaped. Flowers are borne in racemes, mainly in summer. Hostas can be used as accent plants, as groundcovers (even under some trees), in beds and borders, at waterside, or in rock gardens.
Noteworthy CharacteristicsOrnamental, bold foliage. Very hardy. Somewhat drought-tolerant.
CareHostas grow best in Zones 3-9. They need fertile, moist but well drained soil. They can tolerate shade, but perform best with full morning sun in northern areas and filtered shade in the south.
PropagationSow seed in a cold frame in spring, using containers. Divide in late summer or early spring.
ProblemsSlugs and snails are common problems. Viruses and foliar nematodes can also affect hostas, and container-grown plants are vulnerable to vine weevil.