Shades of Green

quality hostas for serious collectors



  1. Where do hostas come from?

       Hostas are native to Japan, Korea, and China. They grow in woodlands, marshes, grasslands, and along rivers and streams. They were introduced into Europe in the 1800’s. By the late 1800’s, they were an established plant in North America. It was not until the 1970’s that their popularity started to grow and by the 1990’s hostas were the top selling herbaceous perennials in the nursery industry.

  1. Are hostas shade-loving plants?

                 Hostas are, in fact, shade tolerant. If grown in deep shade, hostas may grow spindly and weak with larger, thinner leaves and smaller clumps. Generally speaking, the ideal light for hostas is dappled, or open shade.  Open shade is basically an area that is shaded, but receives indirect light.

  1. Are there any hostas that like the sun?

                There are hostas that will thrive in the sun and there are those that will do

      well for the majority of the season in a sunny site. As a general rule of thumb, most         

      all green or yellow hostas will do well as will plantaginea and her family members.  

      Blue hostas will also manage well, but the blue will wear off much earlier in the  

      season. Thin-leaved hostas will not tolerate much sun at all. White-centered hostas

      will do well in 2-3 hours of morning sun, but will “melt out” their centers in the hot

      afternoon sun. It is important to note that hostas grown in full sun need more water   

      than they would if grown in shade.

                                This is a partial list of hostas that I have found to be more sun tolerant:

Abba Dabba Do

Allan P. McConnell

August Moon


Birchwood Parky’s Gold

Blue Angel

Blue Mammoth

Blue Mouse Ears

Blue Umbrellas

Bright Lights

Brother Stefan

Captain Kirk

Carolina Sunshine

Cathedral Windows
Cheatin Heart
City Lights
Devon Green
Diana Remembered
First Frost
Flower Power

fortunei Albomarginata

fortunei Aureomarginata

Fragrant Blue

Fragrant Bouquet

Fragrant Dream

Fragrant Gold
Fragrant Queen


Fried Green Tomatoes

Fringe Benefit

Funky Monkey

Garden Party

Gentle Giant

Ginko Craig


Gold Drop

Gold Edger

Gold Standard

Grand Tiara



High Society

Holy Mole




Irish Luck


Journey's End


June Fever

June Spirit


Lemon Lime

Maui Buttercups


Mister Watson

Moonlight Sonata

On Stage

Orange Marmalade



Paul’s Glory


Queen Josephine

Radiant Edger

Raspberry Sorbet

Remember Me


Rhino Hide

Royal Standard



Shade Fanfare

Singing in the Rain

So Sweet

Stained Glass

Sugar and Cream

Sum and Substance

Sun Power


undulata Albomarginata

undulata Mediovariegata

Valley's Chute-the-Chute

Vanilla Cream

Wylde Green Cream



  1. What is causing all the holes in my hosta leaves?

                        These holes are caused by slugs. You may not see them doing the damage because they are active at night or on very overcast, rainy days when you are not apt to be in the garden. They hide under whatever they can find, including debris, during the day. To get rid of them, you can hand-pick them and either squish them or (as I prefer to do) put them into a pail of water with dish soap. Another way is to spray them with a solution of 10% ammonia. This will only work if you spray the slug directly. It dissolves their layer of slime and dehydrates them immediately. There are pellets you can purchase with the active ingredient Metaldehyde, but you should be careful when using this as it is toxic to wildlife, pets, and children. It needs to be broadcast loosely in your garden ensuring there are no 'piles' of pellets. I prefer to use a product like Safer’s which is safe for use and will not harm our little ones. Another method, which is impractical for someone who has many hostas, is to ring the hosta with copper. The slugs react to the copper when they touch it and will avoid it. This copper ring should go around the leaves of the plant. This means that as the plant grows, the ring needs to be expanded as one leaf growing over the ring will act as a bridge and allow the slug(s) to climb onto the hosta.

  1. How do I fertilize my hostas?

                        I like to give all of my hostas alfalfa pellets every spring. I spread a handful (depending on their size) around each plant and let the watering/rain work the nutrients into the ground. There is a natural growth hormone in alfalfa that hostas seem to thrive on. If you wish to use a fertilizer, or to augment the alfalfa, it is best to use a 10-10-10 or 12-12-12. Do not fertilize after August 1st as the hostas need to start  preparing for winter dormancy and if forced to put on new growth they will be caught unawares when the colder temps and shorter days start.

  1. Are Epsom salts good for hostas?

                        Epsom salts are helpful to hostas that have dark green leaves. They seem to improve the leaf colour and make them darker. A solution of 2 tablespoons of Epsom salts per gallon of water or a sprinkling of salts around the base of the plant (without touching it) will give good results.

  1. Are there hostas with fragrant flowers?
                        There are hostas with fragrant flowers. For the most part, they are from the plantaginea family. Here is a list of some hostas with fragrant flowers:
Cathedral Windows
Diana Remembered
Emerald Charger
Flower Power
Fragrant Blue (Mildly)

Fragrant Bouquet

Fragrant Gold(although I do not find it very fragrant)

Fragrant Dream
Fragrant Queen

Fried Bananas

Fried Green Tomatoes

Ginsu Knife


Holy Mole



Irish Luck

Iron Gate Delight


Moonlight Sonata


Paradise Sunshine

plantaginea(and her hybrids)

Royal Standard

Royal Wedding

Seventh Heaven

So Sweet

Stained Glass


Sugar and Spice

Sugar Snap


  1. Can I over-winter my hostas in pots?

                        Hostas do very well in pots and can stay potted for several years before needing to be split and repotted. To over-winter them, place them in an unheated garage or shed. If that is not an option, you can dig a trench and place the pots in the trench and fill with leaves and/or mulch and cover with boughs from an evergreen tree or a light covering of some sort. It is important to protect them from standing water in the pot so they don’t rot. It is also important to protect them from the freeze-drying winds of winter. With a little care, your hostas will come back every year more beautiful than the year before.

  1. What can you tell me about HVX?
                        HVX stands for Hosta Virus X. It is an incurable virus that, as far as we know, affects only hostas. It is spread through the sap of infected hostas to the sap of healthy hostas. It is characterized in light coloured leaves by dark “bleeding” along the veins of the leaves.  There may also be thickening of the leaves. The only way to tell definitively that a plant is infected is to have it tested, but if one is in doubt about a plant, dig it up and throw it out as there is no cure for this virus. You can now plant a beautiful companion plant in it's place. It is important to always clean your garden tools with a anti-viral solution between plants (including trimming scapes). The American Hosta Society is actively researching HVX in an attempt to find a cure and decrease the spread.
   10.  Can  I grow hostas in my zone? 
                         Hostas are hardy in zones 3-9. As a result, most areas of Canada are able to enjoy the fun and beauty of growing this wonderful friendship plant.
    11. Is there a group that I can join to learn more about hostas?
                         There is indeed! Hosta societies are a wonderful way to learn more about hostas as well as to meet other people who have the same interests. Here are a few groups    
           that you will enjoy membership in and contact information:

                                                                                        Ontario Hosta Society

                                                                                        2301 Fifth St. Louth

                                                                                        St. Catherines, Ont.

                                                                                        Canada, L2R 6P7


                                                                                        Annual Dues: $15.00/year or $40.00/3 years
                                                                                        South Western Ontario Hosta Society
                                                                                        Ken Lenz
                                                                                        SWOHS Membership Secretary
                                                                                        RR #1
                                                                                        Harrow, Ont.
                                                                                        N0R 1G0
                                                                                        Annual dues: $15.00/year or $40.00/3 years


                                                                                        American Hosta Society

                                                                                        Sandie Markland

                                                                                        AHS Membership Secretary

                                                                                        P.O. Box 7539

                                                                                        Kill Devil Hills, NC,  U.S.A.

                                                                                        Annual Dues: $39.00 US/year or $74.00US/2 years or $107.00 US/3 years

                                                                                                                 (Money order or cheque drawn on a US bank to American Hosta Society)