26 of the Best Hosta Varieties for Your Shade Garden

hosta garden bed around tree
Photo: Andre' Baranowski

When you need a beautiful perennial that's also durable, easy-care, and shade-tolerant, you can't go wrong with a hosta. Here is a selection of varieties that offer different colors, sizes, leaf shapes and textures, and flowers so you can choose the perfect one to fit into your garden's design.

01 of 26

'Frances Williams' Hosta

hosta perennial leaves close up
Andy Lyons Cameraworks, LTD

This eye-catching variety features huge blue-green foliage irregularly edged in chartreuse. Its leaves have a puckered texture and thick substance, so the plant always looks robust, even at the end of the season. 'Frances Williams' blooms in the summer with white funnel-shape flowers that appear in early to mid-summer.

Size: 18 inches tall, 48 inches wide

Zones: 3-9

Slug Resistant: Moderate

Flowers: White

Test Garden Tip: Slugs love to eat hostas, but the thicker and more textured a hosta leaf is, the better slug resistance it tends to have. Sadly, no hosta is totally slug-proof.

02 of 26

'Striptease' Hosta

Variegated Hosta with Heuchera and Euonymus
Matthew Benson

The popular 'Striptease' hosta is a tricolor variety; each green leaf has a golden stripe down the center that is edged by a thin white line. This hosta flowers with pale purple blooms in mid-July to early August.

Size: 20 inches tall, 36 inches wide

Zones: 3-9

Slug Resistant: No

Flowers: Light purple

Buy It: Striptease Hosta ($12, Green Mountain Hosta)

03 of 26

'Deja Blu' Hosta

Deja Blu hosta with water droplets on leaves
David Nevala

You'll want to plant this lovely hosta where you can view it up close. 'Deja Blu' features big, blue-green leaves that are edged in gold. Take a second look and you'll notice a narrow band of creamy-white that separates the two other colors.

Size: 14 inches tall, 20 inches wide

Zones: 3-9

Slug Resistant: No

Flowers: Purple

Test Garden Tip: Hostas prefer moist, well-drained soil that's rich in organic matter and has a slightly acidic pH. If you have soil with a lot of clay or sand in it, amend with plenty of compost.

Buy It: Deja Blu Hosta ($18, K&K Gardens)

04 of 26

'Great Expectations' Hosta

hosta great expectations flower garden
Kindra Clineff

One of the bigger hosta varieties, 'Great Expectations' features chartreuse foliage with broad, soft blue-green edges. The leaf centers go yellow in summer, then creamy yellow or white by autumn. When it comes to hosta care, one rule to remember is that variegated hosta varieties like this one need brighter light than other types of hostas in order to keep their white and gold stripes.

Size: 22 inches tall, 40 inches wide

Zones: 3-9

Slug Resistant: No

Flowers: Pale lilac

Buy It: Great Expectations Hosta

05 of 26

'Tokudama Flavocircinalis' Hosta

detail light and dark green hosta tokudama flavocircinali
Denny Schrock

One of the most elegant of all hostas, 'Tokudama Flavocircinalis' features heart-shaped blue leaves with a pale green edge. The leaves have an attractive corrugated texture that's a great contrast to hostas with smoother leaf surfaces. This hosta flowers in early summer with white blooms.

Size: 17 inches tall, 48 inches wide

Zones: 3-9

Slug Resistant: Moderate

Flowers: White

06 of 26

'Sagae' Hosta

white-edged hosta
Peter Krumhardt

'Sagae' displays light blue-green leaves that have a frosted look and are dramatically edged in gold. It's a strong grower with wonderfully thick foliage. Since this plant grows very large and upright, it works well to surround it with hosta varieties with smaller foliage.

Size: 20 inches tall, 54 inches wide

Zones: 3-9

Slug Resistant: Somewhat

Flowers: Light purple

07 of 26

'Pathfinder' Hosta

pathfinder hosta
Kritsada Panichgul

Known for its thick, textured foliage, 'Pathfinder' has white foliage edged in dark green. It grows 2 feet tall and combines well with white flowers in the shade garden.

Size: 12 inches tall, 24 inches wide

Zones: 3-9

Slug Resistant: Moderate

Flowers: White flushed with purple

Test Garden Tip: The best hosta care begins with making sure the planting hole is about a foot deep, and wide enough for a full-sized plant. This will make it easier for roots to become established.

Buy It: Hosta 'Pathfinder' ($15, Plant Lust)

08 of 26

'Wolverine' Hosta

Hosta 'Wolverine'
Blaine Moats

Blue and green look great together, and the combination is no exception for 'Wolverine', which features long, narrow, blue-green leaves edged in creamy gold. This hosta flowers in late summer with violet blossoms.

Size: 15 inches tall, 40 inches wide

Zones: 3-9

Slug Resistant: No

Flowers: Light purple

09 of 26

'Paradigm' Hosta

Hosta 'Paradigm'
Denny Schrock

'Paradigm' has golden leaves with irregular blue-green edges. If you're looking for hostas for sun, this is the plant for you. Unlike many hosta varieties, its colors become richer through the summer. When given just a little bright sun, its gold center will brighten right up. A vigorous grower, 'Paradigm' can reach 4 feet wide.

Size: 46 inches tall, 48 inches wide

Zones: 3-9

Slug Resistant: Moderate

Flowers: Purple

Buy It: Hosta 'Paradigm' ($17, Etsy)

10 of 26

'Pandora's Box' Hosta

Hosta Pandora's Box
Kritsada Panichgul

Though its name is ominous, 'Pandora's Box' is a miniature hosta that's sure to bring lots of joy to your garden. The creamy white foliage has blue-green edges. It also bears light purple, bell-shaped flowers in early summer.

Size: 2 inches tall, 5 inches wide

Zones: 3-9

Slug Resistant: No

Test Garden Tip: Transplant and divide hostas in early spring when the leaves just start to surface.

Buy It: Hosta Pandora's Box ($17, Bluestone Perennials)

11 of 26

'Whirlwind' Hosta

Whirlwind Hosta
Greg Ryan

Known for its changing leaf color, 'Whirlwind' has pointed foliage with dark green edges around creamy-white that fade to light green in midsummer and dark green at season's end. Unlike other hostas, its pointy leaves stay upright in a wavy mound. This hosta flowers with trumpet-shaped, light purple blooms from mid to late summer.

Size: 5 inches tall, 40 inches wide

Zones: 3-9

Slug Resistant: No

Flowers: Light purple

Buy It: Hosta 'Whirlwind' ($17, Etsy)

12 of 26

'Formal Attire' Hosta

green and yellow hosta 'formal attire'
Denny Schrock

Add impact to your shade garden with 'Formal Attire', a large-sized hosta that grows 30 inches wide and offers dark blue-green leaves with a wide creamy-white edge. The leaves emerge blue-green in spring with wide yellow margins, but in the summer the leaves turn dark green and the margins become creamy white. This hosta flowers atop its large mound of foliage in early summer with pale purple blooms.

Size: 30 inches tall and wide

Zones: 3-9

Slug Resistant: No

Flowers: Light purple

Buy It: Hosta 'Formal Attire' ($9, Plant Lust)

13 of 26

'Silver Threads and Golden Needles' Hosta

Hosta Silver Threads and Golden Needles
Kritsada Panichgul

The compact miniature hosta, 'Silver Threads and Golden Needles' has bright gold leaves that are streaked and splotched with green and silver. Depending on its exposure to the sun, this plant can show different characteristics from leaf to leaf and plant to plant. This hosta flowers mid-summer with light purple blooms. Its small habit makes it perfect for the front of the border or container gardening.

Size: 6 inches tall, 8 inches wide

Zones: 3-9

Slug Resistant: No

Flowers: Light purple

Buy It: Silver Threads and Golden Needles Hosta

14 of 26

'Daybreak' Hosta

Yellow Green Hosta Leaf Aztec Treasure
Peter Krumhardt

Loved for its deep gold foliage, 'Daybreak' has heavily textured foliage that's somewhat resistant to slugs and has good sun tolerance. This hosta variety has a very large mound of bright gold foliage that emerges as chartreuse and brightens up as the season progresses.

Size: 22 inches tall, 36 inches wide

Zones: 3-9

Slug Resistant: Slight

Flowers: Light purple

15 of 26

'Sun Power' Hosta

golden hostas with rose shrub
Allison Barnes

One of the more popular hostas for sun, 'Sun Power' features yellow-green leaves topped by clusters of pale purple flowers. Named for its high degree of sun tolerance, it develops the best color in a spot where it gets morning sun and afternoon shade.

Size: 24 inches tall, 48 inches wide

Zones: 3-9

Slug Resistant: Moderate

Flowers: Light purple

16 of 26

'Sum and Substance' Hosta

shade garden with hostas Pachysandra
Matthew Benson

Put on a big show in your landscape with 'Sum and Substance', an enormous hosta with lime-green leaves that can reach almost 2 feet tall! It becomes even more spectacular when it produces light purple flowers.

Size: 24 inches tall, 60 inches wide

Zones: 3-9

Slug Resistant: Slight

Flowers: Light purple

17 of 26

'Blue Mouse Ears' Hosta

Hosta Blue Mouse Ears
Kritsada Panichgul

Among the cutest hostas around, 'Blue Mouse Ears' features rounded gray-blue leaves with a thick texture.

Size: 5 inches tall, 12 inches wide

Zones: 3-9

Slug Resistant: Moderate

Flowers: Light purple

Test Garden Tip: Good hosta care is often a matter of simple maintenance. Be sure to fertilize hostas each spring with an all-purpose garden fertilizer.

18 of 26

'Chartreuse Wiggles' Hosta

Hosta 'Chartreuse Wiggles'
Kritsada Panichgul

Earning its name from the wavy leaf edges, 'Chartreuse Wiggles' has bright green-gold foliage and purple flowers. Grow this one with hosta varieties that have wide leaves for a really fun combination. Or try it in containers with blue browallia.

Size: 6 inches tall, 12 inches wide

Zones: 3-9

Slug Resistant: No

Flowers: Light purple

Buy It: Hosta 'Chartreuse Wiggles' ($9, Plant Lust)

19 of 26

'Heavenly Tiara' Hosta

Hosta 'Heavenly Tiara'
Kritsada Panichgul

Offering light green foliage edged in creamy gold that fades to white, 'Heavenly Tiara' looks great with most other shade plants. The leaf margins start out as yellow and turn white as the season progresses. These seasonal color changes help this hosta stand out in the shade garden.

Size: 12 inches tall, 36 inches wide

Zones: 3-9

Slug Resistant: No

Flowers: Purple

20 of 26

'Aureomarginata' Hosta

Montana Aureomarginata Hosta
Greg Ryan

Its name means yellow ("aureo") edge ("marginata"), though you'd think this dramatic plant's name should be "big foliage" as the leaves can be 12 inches long or more. Hosta montana 'Aureomarginata' has dark green leaves edged in gold. One of the more showy hosta varieties, this plant's foliage opens into a vase-like shape, allowing its wavy, heart-shaped leaves to arch downwards for perfect viewing.

Size: 27 inches tall, 48 inches wide

Zones: 3-9

Slug Resistant: No

Flowers: Light purple

21 of 26

'Aztec Treasure' Hosta

Hosta 'Daybreak'
Peter Krumhardt

A charmer with textured golden foliage, 'Aztec Treasure' is a perfect choice for adding a bright splash of color to the shade garden. Its dense mound of wrinkled, heart-shaped leaves, provides contrast and texture to the landscape and crowds out most garden weeds.

Size: 12 inches tall, 24 inches wide

Zones: 3-9

Slug Resistant: No

Flowers: Light purple

Buy It: Aztec Treasure Hosta ($12, Green Mountain Hosta)

22 of 26

'Tracy's Emerald Cup' Hosta

Emerald Cup hosta
Clint Farlinger

For most hostas, the main attraction is the foliage—usually because of its variegation. 'Tracy's Emerald Cup' is different, though. The shiny, dark green leaves are intriguing because of their curved bowl shape. Unfortunately, the plant is often attacked by slugs.

Size: 14 inches tall, 24 inches wide

Zones: 3-9

Slug Resistant: No

Flowers: Light purple

Test Garden Tip: Dealing with slugs that cause unsightly holes in hosta leaves can be difficult in hosta care. A light scattering of sand around your plants will help keep slugs away.

23 of 26

'Touch of Class' Hosta

blue and green hosta
Peter Krumhardt

A delightful mutation of 'June', 'Touch of Class' is an exciting selection with chartreuse leaves that has a very wide blue-green border. Its thick leaves and wide border set it apart from other hosta varieties. In summer, its leaves become more blue-green with a thin gold center.

Size: 7 inches tall, 24 inches wide

Zones: 3-9

Slug Resistant: No

Flowers: Light purple

Test Garden Tip: Planting placement is key in hosta care. Planting hostas with darker foliage in moderate shade helps to keep their deep color.

24 of 26

'Krossa Regal' Hosta

Grey/Green Hosta Leaves 'Kross A Regal'
Peter Krumhardt

Krossa Regal' shows off blue leaves that look like frosted glass. But that's not all; the plant has a lovely vase-shape habit and very tall (5-foot) stalks of light purple flowers.

Size: 36 inches tall, 60 inches wide

Zones: 3-9

Slug Resistant: No

Flowers: Light purple

Test Garden Tip: When learning how to grow hostas, its important to understand that proper hosta care requires good drainage. With newly planted hostas, the roots should be kept moist, not wet.

25 of 26

Hosta plantaginea

Hosta Astilbe Near House
Julie Maris Semarco

A variety you might grow for its flowers is Hosta plantaginea. It has green foliage and clusters of pure white blooms in summer that are wonderfully fragrant. Due to the plant's tolerance of heat, it's known as one of the best hostas to grow in the southern states.

Size: 24 inches tall, 48 inches wide

Zones: 3-9

Slug Resistant: No

Flowers: White

26 of 26

'Patriot' Hosta

Variegated Hosta 'Patriot' in garden
Greg Scheidemann

Known for its crisp, clean variegation, the 'Patriot' hosta has become a favorite variety among gardeners. The broad white edges around the dark green leaves practically glow in the shade. 'Patriot' is an exceptional selection that's beautiful and performs very well in the landscape.

Size: 12 inches tall, 30 inches wide

Zones: 3-9

Slug Resistant: No

Flowers: Light purple

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