A herbaceous perennial, the hosta plant produces an abundance of foliage that is highly valued in the landscape shade garden. Currently, there are over 2,500 cultivars available that produce a wide range of foliage, according to Ohio State University. Leaves often appear variegated or solid in shades of green, white, gold, yellow and even varying shades of blue or gray. Most hostas grow around 8 inches in height, but various cultivars offers small or slightly large-sized plants.
Plant Sizes and Foliage
A single hosta can often spread 8 feet in width, depending on the cultivar. A few varieties also offer fall foliage colors that change to bright yellow or fade to shades of white. A few cultivars are available that offer exceptionally thick foliage, which has proven to be very resistant to slugs.
During the summer months, hostas bloom. Each plant produces spikes of flowers. A few varieties offer exceptional fragrance. Flowers appear in shades of white or lavender on 6-inch spikes. Hostas often produce up to 75 lily-like flowers per plant.
Hostas enjoy being grown in full shade, but they will also tolerate partial shade in areas that do not have exceptionally hot summers. Most blue-leaf hosta varieties require full shade to thrive or their leaf margins will appear dried out and damaged. Fragrant hosta cultivars enjoy morning sun exposure to produce a wealth of blossoms.
The hosta plant grows well in slightly acidic soil that is rich in abundant organic material. The plants prefer a pH soil that ranges from 6.5 to 7.5. Hosta benefit from soil additions such as peat moss and aged manure. Till the soil to a depth of at least 12 inches prior to planting a hosta.
Fertilizer and Water Requirements
Fertilize the hosta in the early spring, late spring and early summer. Use a 10-10-10 general purpose fertilizer. Water the hosta plant thoroughly. Each week the hosta requires at least 1 inch of water to thrive. Watering in the morning is ideal during the height of summer. The hosta does not tolerate drought and requires ongoing moist soil conditions to produce abundant foliage.