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Hosta

(Plaintain Lily)


Light: ⛅☁️

Deer resistant: no

Moisture: moist soil

Size: 6-36” H x 12-96” W

Bloom: bell-shaped lavender or white flowers, often insignificant, depending on variety

Hardiness zone: 3

Hostas are shade-loving foliage plants that are, with Astilbes, the backbone of any shade garden. There are many varieties of Hosta, small and large, with yellow, green, blue, and variegated foliage. All Hostas have leaves, lance-like or round, large or small, attached to curved, celery-shaped stems that form clumps of overlapping foliage. When rain falls on these leaves, water is directed down the curved stem to the plant’s roots. Hostas send up bell-shaped flowers ranging from white to lavender, on stalks in mid- to late summer. While most Hostas thrive in shade, some will tolerate a good deal of sun, especially if kept moist.

Hostas are easy to divide and transplant in spring (despite what the “books” say) and will also self-seed, although you may get some interesting hybrids if you have several Hosta species around the garden. Deer love Hostas and will eat them to the ground unless precautions are taken. In wet seasons, slugs may also chew unsightly holes in the leaves. Do not let these pests deter you: Hostas are well worth having in your garden, and some are less tasty to deer than others. In our experience, thick-leaved and blue Hostas (which are often waxy) are slightly less delectable to deer than thin-leaf or green Hostas.

As you might guess, we love Hostas. Indeed, we have at least 20 varieties in our garden, including some non-descript ones we inherited with our house. We are apt to add more! Giant Hostas make incredible specimen plants and focal points in the garden. Smaller Hostas can be planted in masses for effect, and the smaller ones can make nice front-of-the-border plants. Here are our favorites:

Giant hostas

Large hostas

Medium hostas

Small hostas