Hostas are great plants for shade gardens. In the summer, they have spikes of lavender or white blooms. While the flowers are pretty, hostas are best known for their beautiful leaves. These lily-like plants are native to Northeast Asia. They are named in honor of the Austrian botanist, Nicholas Thomas Host. There are more than 2,500 varieties.
Here are a few of the most popular: Gold Standard (yellow leaves with green edges), Francee (green leaves with white edges), June (blue green leaves with creamy centers), and Sum and Substance (chartreuse yellow leaves). Most hostas prefer morning sun and afternoon shade. In general, blue leafed hostas require shade, while gold, yellow, and white-leafed hostas can tolerate more sun.
Hostas grow best in a rich, organic soil that is well drained and slightly acidic. They should get an inch of water per week. Hostas can be propagated by dividing them. This is best done in early spring.
The hosta plant is round in shape and can range in size from a few inches in diameter to 8 feet wide. They reach full maturity in 4-8 years.
Unfortunately, hostas are a favorite food for deer, slugs, and snails. Try to plant them in areas where deer do not wander. If slugs are a problem, you can try slug poison which can be found at garden supply stores, or you can try putting out a shallow dish with beer in it. Slugs can't seem to resist beer, and when they drink it, they usually drown in it.