Part 2 (I think of 2 because everyone knows a lot about many hostas already and also because I want to move onto new and much more exciting things) – Notable varieties and why they are notable and, if applicable how they’ve grown for me and/or things I’ve heard second hand from people who have grown them.
Hosta ‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’ – Very cool looking plant. Leaves are blue, bullate and very cupped. Good slug resistance due to very thick leaves. ‘Love Pat’ is supposed to be an improved variety with more reliably shaped leaves.
Hosta ‘August Moon’ – Nice smallish yellow hosta (2-3′ wide) that forms a dense mound of leaves, does very well in sunny areas, presumably better if these are not also dry but I have seen them growing in that sort of spot (but not to 3′).
Hosta ‘Blue Angel’ & ‘Blue Mammoth – Two nice large blue hostas, ‘Blue Angel’ has leaves than are more mounding while ‘Blue Mammoth’ has more upright leaves.
Hosta ‘Blue Arrow’ – Great colour and texture with narrow blue leaves and wavy margin.
Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ – Cute. Tiny blue hosta with rounded leaves.
Hosta ‘Captain Kirk’ – Nice looking mid-size plant (pictured in the previous post) with leaves that will cup either up or down with a narrow yellow center on a green leaf. You’ll have to ask me about pest resistance next year on this one though nothing’s eaten it in the week I’ve had mine.
Hosta ‘Christmas Tree’ – Nice plant. Name apparently originates from the shape of/leafiness of the flower stalk or something along those lines? I’ll take a picture of it in flower (in bud right now).
Hosta ‘Elvis Lives’ – Good texture. Narrow leaves with a very wrinkly margin.
Hosta ‘Fire & Ice’ – Similar to ‘Remember Me’ in appearance and growth habit. An attractive plant but unfortunately not vigorous due to the wide white center which emerges with the leaf from the start. More vigorous would be something which starts out with mostly green leaves that lighten but I don’t know a variety that lightens to the white this selection has (‘Paul’s Glory’ is like that but with a yellow center)
Hosta ‘Fireworks’ – Very nice. Leaves are similar in shape to ‘Ginko Craig’ and ‘Hi Ho Silver’ but with white centers with green margins. Only just planted this one last week but mature specimens I’ve seen have been small plants that look great.
Hosta ‘First Frost’ – Beautiful plant. Similar blue leaves to ‘Halcyon’ but with a yellow edge fading to white later in the season. Supposed to have its best colour in a shady spot.
Hosta ‘Fragrant Bouquet’ – Nice bright green leaves with a white/off-white margin and as the name suggests fairly large fragrant white flowers later in the summer. I’ve found good pest resistance and that it’s a vigorous grower. Mine is growing in fairly heavy shade (filtered morning sun then bright but indirect light (blocked by trees and a fence on the south and west) for the rest of the day) and doing well which is not common for most varieties than lean towards yellow. I think I’d describe it as “bright green” though so that may be where the difference is, possibly it would be more yellow in more sun.
Hosta ‘Francee’ – Fantastic plant, even if a bit ubiquitous. Green with a white edge but differs from many green leaved hostas in that the green is a nice dark green (darker than ‘Silver Crown’ etc with lighter green) which makes the white stand out very well even though the white edge is much thinner than ‘Minuteman’ or ‘Patriot.’ ‘Francee’ also does very well in extremely heavy shade (Three maples that were planted too close together thirty years ago = some of the densest shade I’ve had to deal with).
Hosta ‘Frances Williams’ – Very popular larger gold edged hosta with a reputation for good slug resistance and excellent shade tolerance.
Hosta ‘Ginko Craig’ – Small hosta with narrow green leaves with a white margin. ‘Hi Ho Silver’ is similar but with more white while ‘Fireworks’ is similar but with a white center/green edge.
Hosta ‘Golden Tiara’ – Smallish to moderately sized hosta with fairly round brightly coloured leaves. The small leaves compared to the size of the plant make this one interesting. Probably has good potential for use as a hosta groundcover… haven’t tried but I imagine it would be nice.
Hosta ‘Great Expectations’ – I like this one. Similar to ‘St. Paul.’ Narrow yellow stripe in a large green leaf. Pretty big plant.
Hosta ‘Guardian Angel’ – Stunning. See previous post for a picture of the plant. Blue on a more difference blue, nice leaf shape. This will be the next hosta I buy for personal use. Too expensive to put in public areas (which is what most of my landscaping basically is) but perfect everywhere else. #1 on my most wanted list by far!
Hosta ‘Halcyon’ – The best mid sized blue. Even though these are everywhere everytime I see it I fall in love again. This is one of those plants that is everywhere because it is awesome.
Hosta ‘June’ – Another midsized plant. Similar to ‘June Fever’ and ‘Paradise Joyce’. Interesting because its colour depends so much on the growing conditions. I have two planted on either side of a tree trunk – the one on the east that gets slightly more light has much more yellow in the leaves, the one on the other side of the tree has more blue/green in the center. ‘Paradise Joyce’ differs in that the center of the leaf will go almost white in good light while ‘June’ never gets much past yellow. I’ve got one of these recently planted in a fairly sunny spot to grow with a clematis (and shade the roots and all that jazz).
Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ – Nice form on this one. Try a low growing gold hosta under the upright leaves for a fantastic effect or any low growing groundcover (Purple flowering Dead Nettle or Golden Creeping Jenny would be my picks for colour contrast). The colour isn’t as stunning as ‘Halcyon’ but the shape is really unique.
Hosta ‘Love Pat’ – Like an improved ‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd.’
Hosta ‘Minuteman’ – (And ‘Patriot’) Similar to ‘Francee’ but with wider white margins.
Hosta ‘Orange Marmalade’ – Nice spring colour. I’ve found this one to be pretty slow to establish. Hopefully it will be bigger next year because the colour is a really nice deep yellow (not actually orange).
Hosta ‘Pandora’s Box’ – Small to dwarf but bigger than ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ with good green and white colour, nice flower colour if I remember right as well.
Hosta ‘Paradigm’ – Was pictured with ‘Guardian Angel’ in the previous post. Really nice texture with the heavily bullated leaves.
Hosta ‘Paul’s Glory’ – Nice big plant with leaves that start green (improved vigor because of this) that then lighten to a yellow center. Good choice if you want something like ‘Orange Marmalade’ that will be bigger faster.
Hosta ‘Praying Hands’ – Very unique hosta. Leaves are long and narrow, wavy to the point of looking almost curled.
Hosta ‘Regal Splendor’ – ‘Regal Splendor’ is a white edged sport of ‘Krossa Regal’ and is similarly awesome for all the same reasons.
Hosta ‘Revolution’ – Green margin, white center with green blotches through the white. This sort of blotching is fairly rare in hostas. ‘Independence’ has the same blotching but in a white edge with a solid green center.
Hosta ‘Stained Glass’ – Nice bright hosta which is supposed to be sun tolerant. That’s good because in my experience it certainly is not shade tolerant! Definitely give this one some sun. I like it but I’ll be moving mine in the fall to sunnier ground. Fragrant lilac flowers later in summer.
Hosta ‘Striptease’ – Another favourite of mine. Green with a narrow gold strip down the center, very thin white line loosely separates the green and gold.
Hosta ‘Sum & Substance’ – The big one. I planted a small pot of it last year and the leaves are already a good 16″ long. Sure to amaze in sun or some shade (best colour in more sun).
Hosta ‘Summer Breeze’ – Wide gold margin on a bright green leaf. In my experience good pest resistance. Nice plant.
Hosta ‘Tattoo’ – Unlike all other hostas in this list I have not seen this hosta in person but I’ve heard rave reviews from a friend. Googled it and I’ve in love. Think ‘Great Expectations’ meets ‘Striptease’ – Bright green leaves with a wide irregular gold center. An unexpected dark green line divides the light green and gold. #2 on my must have list though it’s small so I’ve more likely to get this than any other.
Hosta ‘Touch of Class’ – Classy. Like ‘Great Expectations’ but with blue and gold. I’ll probably plant one of these in my landscaping work but not a personal must have. Though I’d certainly buy one if I had the space.
Hosta ‘Whirlwind’ – Like ‘Guardian Angel’ this hosta has an irregular combination of colours (darker center than I’d expect) and interesting curled leaf shape. Would definitely stand out from a collection of albo-marginata & similar.
Hosta plantaginea – Grow this for its (4-6″) flowers and you won’t be disappointed but plant it close to a window or patio so you can enjoy the fragrance. Large glossy green leaves won’t be touched by slugs. #3 personal must have. All fragrant hostas have this in their lineage. ‘Aphrodite’ is nice, ‘Venus’ will be harder to find but has double flowers and the same scent.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this in-depth look at Hostas! Obviously I could only cover a small fraction of hostas available but these are some the best varieties I’ve seen and rest were the most common available so it’ll at least be a good starting point. You’ll be seeing more pictures of course as I get to either garden profiles &/or winning plant combinations.