With its generous foliage and original flowers, the hosta is one of the most beautiful, vibrant, hardy and easy to care for perennials. An unsung hero of the dull and barren shady spots in our gardens, the hosta is perfect as a ground cover, in beds and in borders. In a pot, it brings a touch of color and freshness to your patio or balcony.
Originates from northeast China and Japan Hostas belongs to the Asparagaceae family to which asparagus also belongs. It was mainly in Europe and America that the plant was subsequently cultivated and became a pinnacle in the range of shade perennials with 70 different varieties and 8000 cultivars, vary in leaf color, plant shape, winter hardiness and abundance of flowering.
Most of the Hosta varieties will flourish in the shade with “peek-a-boo” sunlight throughout the day while other types do well in moderate sun, particularly the morning and partial shade.
Hostas decorative foliage, strongly ribbed, and often colored – from gray to blue and from yellowish to white or margined, which can be small or opulent depending on the variety. In summer, they offers a very beautiful bloom which can last up to 8 weeks: mauve or pale pink bells and sometimes lilac striped with purple.
They all love ample water, soil that is abundant in nutrients, and space to just be themselves! Guaranteed that as you take care of them, they will give back in return many years of beauty and enjoyment.
The assortment of Hosta is very extensive, as the plants are selected from all over the world, giving rise to thousands of varieties.
I have put together a list of 20 different types of Hostas and their unique and distinguishing factors including growing conditions, flower shapes, and different flower colors, some are extremely popular and the others a little less explored.
20 Different Types of Hostas Plants
Now I know that you’re excited to go out and start searching for the perfect Hosta for your space! But before you begin your hunt, I would like to suggest that you answer two questions. Does your space have total shade, partial shade, or more sun than shade? And what is the size of your area? Hostas come in 5 different sizes, there is a sizing chart at the end.
These are the two main criteria in finding the perfect Hosta for your garden or landscape. Of course, there are other features that you can consider as you choose your ideal plant, which is totally up to your personal preference, such as color, leaves, texture, and fragrance of the flowers, etc.
1. ‘Coast to Coast’
‘Coast to Coast’ is a Giant Hosta
This Giant is one of my favorites! Its deep rich color catches any onlookers eye. They really are show-stoppers to say the least!
If the foliage is exposed to more sun the leaves will turn a lighter gold which can add an enjoyable array of color throughout the season! As the leaves mature on these big boys, they become thick and furrowed bringing a bold texture to the visual display of the garden.
These Hostas make a great ‘border’ in a large garden area or a focal point to any landscape design. For city dwellers, they are great for a single large container on the deck or patio!
Extremely easy to care for and fall in love with!
2. ‘Minute Man’
‘Minute Man’ is a Large Hosta
This Hostas variety is a class act! Their foliage forms a proportioned mound that is very striking.
With its medium shade green center along with the snappy white margins this guy pretty much yells “Look at ME!” I love planting these along the borders of my projects because they are unique and charming, not to mention that they are slug resistant too!
The blooms are a simple lavender that rise another 5-6 inches from the foliage mound.
They are just simply a visual asset!
3. ‘Autumn Frost’
‘Autumn Frost’ is a Medium Hosta
Award Winner! ‘Autumn Frost’ is a dynamo in the garden! It’s a great, low maintenance eye catcher!
The foliage is a beautiful frosty blue with deep yellow margins that will soften to a creamy white throughout the summer.
I use these in gardens where I need a pop of continuous color throughout the season. They brighten up the shade areas during the time where the other perennials or annuals are not blooming.
Very easy to care for basically they are a basically hassle addition to any garden. Their flowers are a deep lavender.
4. ‘Island Breeze’
Image Source- https://www.waltersgardens.com/variety.php?ID=HSISB
‘Island Breeze’ Is A Small Hosta
Love, love, love this variety. Its striking foliage is the first thing that catches your eye as you scan the garden. A wide dark green margin that surrounds the swirl of light yellow.
As the season progresses, if the plant receives more sun the yellow will grow lighter but if it is in a heavier shade area, the yellow will become more chartreuse!
These work well as a border plant, a mass planting or even in a container for the porch or deck making any area just a little livelier! Their tall flower scapes and textures leaves bring new life to shady dull areas.
Mid-summer is when you can expect to see dark lavender blooms.
5. ‘Mini Skirt’
‘Mini Skirt’ Is A Mini Hosta
Do you have shaded areas that look desolate and dead? These are the PERFECT Hosta to bring life back to that space!
This little mini forms a petite mound of very curvy, thick blue-green leaves with a buttery yellow margins in the spring.
As the season progresses the center will transform into a deeper green and the edge will transition into a creamy white. You will begin to see the beautiful compact blooms around mid-summer.
This cutie will transform space whether a garden, deck or patio into a bright and cheery space!
Make sure you show if off, I am positive it will provoke a response from those who see it!
Partial Sun To Full Sun
6. ‘Sum and Substance’
This is the GIANT! I love working with these Hostas in large areas. They work well being the focal point of the garden.
Depending on how much sun exposure they have their leaves will very from light green for more shade to chartreuse with moderate morning sun to a golden color with 2-4 hours of sun.
They were the 2004 Hosta of the Year! A fun one because they do grow to be exceptionally enormous!
They will be the jolly green giant of your garden!
7. ‘Gold Standard’
‘Gold Standard’ Is A Large Hosta
The ‘Gold Standard’ is a certain go-to for me! Full sun is not offensive to this one. I am thinking of one particular garden where the Gold Standard is planted in a bed that is west facing in front of a brick wall and THEY ARE THRIVING AND BEAUTIFUL!
It is perfect for sizable gardens or landscape areas because it can cover a significant amount of ground. It truly is a very impressive piece to add to your garden area.
The distinctive color patterns on the individual plants are all unique and remarkably interesting!
The Gold is a robust and fast grower. This one will do well in a bed as a border plant or it will be stunning on your patio or deck in a container. You just can’t go wrong with this one!
Exceptionally low maintenance! Right up my alley!
8. ‘Bright Light’
‘Bright Lights’ Is A Medium Hosta
This one is a stunning addition to any garden. It is versatile of either having sun to full shade.
With leaves that wavy and corrugated it adds a level of visual texture to the surrounding.
Not to mention the beautiful contrast in the variegation in the leaves. A striking chartreuse center with a blue green margin leaf begins the season and a golden yellow center with blue green margins escorts in the cooler temps of fall. An impressive addition!
Texture & color winning combination!
9. ‘Half and Half’
Image Source- https://www.hostalibrary.org/h/halfandhalf.html
‘Half And Half’ Is A Small Hosta
Tiny but packs a powerful punch! I love this variety of Hosta. First, they are SUN tolerant! That allows you to be highly creative with them in your garden space, they work well for mass plantings too. Second!
They are gorgeous! These guys are instant COLOR in the Spring. When they show up in your garden you know it! The foliage on this Hosta is breathtaking. Each leaf has a unique white center swirl.
It looks as if each were hand painted! Next to the white is a very thin band of a lighter green then last is the dark green margin. This distinctive variegation is visible throughout the whole season.It will bloom a pale lavender flower mid-summer.
These are great for all types of gardens but also will add a spark of color to a deck or patio for city dwellers!
10. ‘Cracker Crumb’
‘Cracker Crumb’ Is A Mini Hosta
A compact mini but do not let its size full you! Fun and vicarious. This Hosta makes a small compact mound with shiny chartreuse to yellow leaves that our outlined with a dark green margin.
This hearty grower will put on a 14-16 flower stalk with beautiful deep lavender blooms in mid-summer. It will set off any rock feature, water features or benches in your garden.
I have used them along garden paths to add beauty along the way. They are also perfect for containers for decks, patios, or porches. They will need to be watered daily in regions with higher summer temperatures. Truly a mini powerhouse!
Colored Containers show these off perfectly!
11. ‘Old Faithful’
‘Old Faithful’ Is A Giant Hosta
These are such a great addition for large spaces for several reasons. Sun/Shade tolerant, fast growers and a space filler with a 3-foot mount.
The leaves are glossy green reaching up to 12 inches long! Each leaf sports a very cool ribbed texture that enhances the visual atmosphere of the garden.
The flowers range from white to a light lavender releasing a pleasant fragrance blooming in mid to late summer.
Just a fun eye catcher for garden lovers!
12. ‘Fragrant Bouquet’
‘Fragrant Bouquet’ Is A Large Hosta
This Hosta lives up to its name! Boasting a large, near white and fragrant bloom it is great to plant around decks and porches.
They bloom in the early spring all the way through summer. The large blooms will attract butterflies and hummingbirds which always bring delight to spectators! The foliage is an apple green with a very pale yellow to cream margin.
Can’t go wrong with this one!
‘Invincible” Is A Medium Hosta
This is an all-around great border or edging Hosta. It can tolerate sun or shade, has a great smelling bloom, a bold textured leaf, and a nice size mound.
Sporting light lavender blooms that appear late July early August that are add a nice aroma to our summer days, this Hosta is one of my favorites.
It is rugged and hardy sure to stand the test of time bringing beauty to your garden every year.
A True Summertime Beauty!
14. ‘Sugar Babe’
Image Source- http://www.mrg-hostas.com/index_files/HostaSugarBabe.htm
‘Sugar Babe’ Is A Small Hosta
It might be small, but this beauty is noticed. The glossy, green leaves are highlighted by the narrow light-yellow margins that will turn closer to white as the summer progresses.
The leaves are narrow but have a nice wave movement giving the plant a regal look. The fragrant purple flowers add a level of beauty in late summer. I have used these in containers, and they do well but they are also a great boarder or edge plant.
A True Garden Classic!
There are no “True Mini” Hostas that have fragrant blooms.
From the American Hosta Growers Association ‘Hosta of the Year’ Award Winners. These Hostas are rated in several different categories.
15. 2021 ‘Rainbow’s End’
‘Rainbow’s End’ Is A Small Hosta
Stunning. This Hosta is stunning! With the variegated light green chartreuse center surrounded by the dark green margin it is a showstopper. The center will brighten to a creamy white as the season progresses.
It forms a small to medium mound. ‘Rainbow’s End works well in gardens as a border or edge but also great for city dwellers on a patio or balcony.
Breath Taking Beauty!
16. 2020 ‘Dancing Queen’
‘Dancing Queen” Is A Large Hosta
Bright and cheery! That is how you can sum this Hosta up. This 2020 Winner is a great addition to any garden space.
You don’t have to wait for it to turn the beautiful chartreuse green it emerges this color in the spring and retains it all through the season.
The leaves have a crimped ruffled edge that add a subtle texture to the garden. In mid/late summer the mound will be topped with pale lavender flowers.
This one will make you smile!
17. 2019 ‘Lakeside Paisley Print”
‘Lakeside Paisley Print” Is A Small Hosta
The Love of the garden. This Hosta produces heart shaped leaves where the center has narrow markings of light yellow to creamy white surrounded by a wide, wavy green to dark green margin.
The leaves are thick slightly cupped and have beautiful wavy movement. It is just a beautiful specimen of a Hosta!
Years of beauty ahead!
18. 2017 ‘Brother Stefan’
‘Brother Stefan’ Is A Small Hosta
Breathtaking! ‘Brother Stefan’ is one of the most spectacular Hostas available. It has phenomenal thick, ridged and deep furrowed leaves. The center of the leaf is a vivid gold encircled by a complimenting green margin.
It forms a very wide and tall mound that will become the focal point of the garden. The white flowers will emerge in late spring and early summer.
This one takes the cake for eye appeal!
19. 2016 ‘Curly Fries’
‘Curly Fries” Is A Mini Hosta
This little “mini” is totally fun! It is such an eye catcher so be sure to plant it to the front of the garden as a border or it also does very well as a container plant along side other varieties.
It forms a beautiful arched mound where the narrow, wiggly leaves extend quite a visual delight!
Fun & Eccentric this one!
20. 2015 ‘Victory’
‘Victory’ Is A Giant Hosta
Some say when this one reaches maturity it is considered a triumphant VICTORY! Even though it has a good growth rate, like most giants it will take several seasons to develop to it full potential.
Heart shaped; thicker leaves are a beautiful green outlined but a whimsical bright yellow margin.
The light lavender flowers will appear on sideway arching scapes in early to mid-summer.
So Worth the Time!
Well, we have just touched the tip of the iceberg with Hostas! There are so many variations, shapes, sizes, colors, and textures of these ‘unsung heroes.’ They are a definite contender for taking up real estate in your garden!
I personally have found that nurseries tend to carry a better selection of cultivars and some of the less-known varieties. We just shared a few here, there are so many more!
Hostas are vigorous, hardy, carefree, and add so much to our gardens. You will not be disappointed! Have fun with the selection process! Choose one that fits your style and space! Until next time!!
Margie and Arkansas native has an extensive background in gardening and landscaping. For the last 40 years, Margie has called the Colorado Rocky Mountains her home. Here she and her husband of 36 years raised three kids and owned a successful landscaping company. Margie has a CSU Master Gardener certification. She specialized in garden design & installation, perennial gardens, turf grasses & weeds, flower containers, and the overall maintenance of allHOA, commercial and residential accounts. She and her husband now reside in Denver and are excited about the new experiences’ city life holds.