Hosta

Quick facts and care essentials

• Foliage perennial
• Zones 1-10, 12-21
• Shade
• Regular watering

Hostas are favorites for the shade garden. Hundreds are available in nurseries and from specialty catalogs, from 6-inch dwarfs to 5-foot giants; the range of leaf shapes, textures, and colors is likewise tremendous. Foliage may be heart shaped, lance shaped, oval, or rounded; texture may be smooth or quilted; colors include all green shades, chartreuse, gold, and blue, and many have white, yellow, or cream variegation.

Grow hostas in rich, well-drained soil; never let roots dry out during summer. These plants are carefree in their preferred zones but somewhat difficult to maintain elsewhere. Where slugs and snails are a problem, hostas are a favorite target and almost impossible to protect. In these areas, containers offer the best refuge.