Revitalize Your Yard with 9 Stunning Hosta Garden Design Concepts

Hosta is a versatile, easy-to-grow plant. It comes in thousands of different varieties with a wide range of shapes, sizes, colors and textures. Many hostas can tolerate full sunlight, but many are more suited to shade gardens. Many gardeners use multiple hostas and create hosta gardens.

However, there are a few things to consider when selecting and growing hostas. If deer are a regular visitor to your garden, it is likely that they will eat the hostas you have planted before you get to enjoy them. Hostas can be damaged by slugs or caterpillars. Hostas may suffer sun or heat damage in unusually hot summers. Divide your hostas at least every three to four years to maintain a healthy root system and keep them manageable. Do this in the fall, just before they go dormant.

Consider a hosta’s size, form, color, flower, texture and companion plants when designing a shaded garden. Below, we’ll discuss each of these characteristics and offer suggestions for hosta varieties.

01

Giant Hostas are a great choice
In a garden, ferns and blue-leafed hostas are seen at sunset.

The largest hostas can reach four feet in height, or even more when you include the flower stems. These giants will need plenty of space to grow, and to show off their presence.
Tip
Some of the most popular cultivars that are often called “giant” hosts include ‘Sum and Substance,’ ‘Frances Williams,’ ‘Blue Angel,’ ‘Brother Stefan,’ and ‘Mike.

02

Or, try smaller varieties
Hosta with pale lavender flowers and blue-green leaves

Many hosta varieties are available in miniature sizes (also called “miniature hostas”) that can be used to add a lot of beauty and interest to your garden. Plant them at the front of a bed or border to make sure they are visible.

The most popular varieties are “Blue Mouse Ears”, (pictured), “Sun Mouse”, ‘Stiletto,’ ‘Little Caesar,’ ‘Mini Skirt,’ and ‘Tiny Tears.’ They’re perfect for a fairy-garden.

03

Create a cohesive look with solid colors
The large blue hosta is in front of the yellow-green plants.

Hosta leaves come in a wide range of colors. Solid colors are available in light and dark greens, gold, yellow-green, white, and blue. The cool blue color of the ‘Dancing Dragons Hosta’ complements the yellow and green foliage colors in the garden.

Some gold varieties, such as ‘Fire Island’ and Lipstick Blonde, have red stems. Flowers can also be attractive in different colors. ‘Aphrodite,’ for example, has large double white flowers with a fragrant scent.

04

Variegated leaves come in a variety of colors
In the garden, you can see a variety of variegated hosts and brunnera plants.

The shade garden can be awash with color thanks to the Hosta variety. Light green leaves are edged in dark green and vice versa. White leaves have dark green edges and vice versa.

The color of a hosta can be affected depending on the amount of sun it receives. A gold edge may fade to white when exposed to too much sunlight. Here are pictured ‘Cool as a Cucumber,’ ‘Frances Williams,’ and a brunnera called ‘Wide Brim.’ (right rear) with a brunnera named ‘Jack Frost.’ Try ‘Liberty, Patriot, or Amazone for large patches of white.

05

You can try a variety of leaves
Garden border with hostas and alliums in blue hearts

Hosta leaves come in a variety of shapes, including rounded, lance shaped, heart shaped, curly and more. These shapes can be attractive, such as the large pale blue heart-shaped leaf of ‘Prairie Sky’. With its pale blue, heart-shaped leaves, the hosta ‘Prairie Sky is a focal point in this border. The hosta ‘Prairie Sky’ blends well with the textures and shapes of the perennial geraniums and alliums in the border.

A variety of leaf shapes can add visual interest to a large planting. Try ‘Wiggles & Squiggles or Neptune’ for rippled edges on the leaves.

06

Silhouettes are available in a variety of styles.
Pale blue-green hosta spilling out over raised bed

The form or silhouette of a hosta is the overall shape, not just the leaves. Some hostas scramble near the ground while others stand tall and in a vase-shaped shape. Others create a rounded outline. The stems can be either short or long.

Tip
Hostas are tough enough to be dug up (with care!) Replanting is possible even in the peak of the growing season.

07

Try Different Textures
Several hostas planted near a pale blue evergreen

Hosta leaves come in a variety of textures. Some leaves are shiny and smooth, others matte, while some have deep grooves or a corrugated surface. This texture can affect the way that the hosta reflects the sun (or the moonlight!) It can also change the way it looks after a shower of rain. When planted together, even hostas with similar colors can create a stunning design if they are of different textures.

Hosta varieties with a thicker leaf are often referred to as substance. This thicker leaf is resistant to slugs and can be found on smooth or corrugated foliage. Some varieties with heavy substance are ‘Neptune,’ ‘Sum and Substance,’ ‘Whirlwind,’ ‘June,’ ‘Maui Buttercups,’ or Empress Wu.

08

Companion Plants
Hosta garden with impatiens, ferns and heucheras

Alongside hostas, companion plants can add color and texture. Perennials in the shade that go well with hostas are ferns. Try impatiens and dusty miller for annuals.


09

Achieve Balanced Design
Mix hosta garden with deep violet heuchera

It can be difficult to stop planting hostas once you get started! Gardeners are generous and will often share their divisions.

You will be able to design better as you become familiar with the different types and their growth habits. The shade garden has a beautifully balanced design, with a dynamic colour palette (including purple heuchera as contrast), as well a mix and balance of shapes, sizes and variegated to solid leaves.


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