Golden leaf varieties of hostas, classified as "yellow" by the American Hosta Society, are one of the few hosta colors that are sun tolerant. Gold hostas actually require two hours of sun to keep their bright hue in shady areas. According to "Fine Gardening" magazine, yellow hostas manufacture less chlorophyll than other foliage colors, resulting in various shades of gold and yellow. To offset this lack of a food source, the article "Hostas with a Golden Touch," by Van Wade, recommends fertilizing once a year.
'Sum and Substance'
Hosta 'Sum and Substance' is a large greenish-gold hosta that becomes more yellow in the sun. Typical measurements are 30 inches tall and 60 inches wide, but these dimensions are not absolute. 'Sum and Substance' can grow 48 inches tall and 114 inches wide. The flowers are pale lavender occurring in August. Give 'Sum and Substance' extra water if it is planted in the sun.
According to the American Hosta Society's Hosta Registry, 'Fragrant Gold' is a deep yellow hybrid of 'Sum and Substance.' Considerably smaller than its parent, 'Fragrant Gold' grows 14 inches tall and 22 inches wide. Its sweet-smelling flowers are white and appear in late summer. According to a list compiled by hosta maven Peter Klapwijk, 'Fragrant Gold' is a lutescent hosta whose color becomes more intense as the temperatures warm. A lutescent hosta is one that appears green in spring only to brighten to gold in the summer.
Wade lists 'Sun Power' as one of his favorite gold hostas, describing the bright foliage as "hypnotic." Another lutescent hosta, 'Sun Power' is at its best in early summer. Its lavender flowers appear in July. Give this variety space as it grows 2 feet tall and 3 feet wide.
Ideal for the front of a shady border, 'Wogon Gold' grows to 12 inches tall and 18 inches wide. This hosta has medium yellow foliage in spring that slowly turns green by August. A purple flowers appear in July. Plant 'Wogon Gold' next to silver foliage plants such as pulmonaria and Brunnera macrophylla 'Looking Glass.'
Another lutescent hosta, 'Squash Casserole' gives the garden an extra burst of gold during the summer. 'Squash Casserole' is a large hosta that grows approximately 20 inches tall and 46 inches wide. The flowers are lavender and appear in June and July. The leaves are long and rippled.
'Chiquita' is a vivid yellow in the spring and turns light green in the summer. A large hosta, 'Chiquita' grows 2 feet tall and 4 feet wide. Its lavender flowers occur in mid-summer. Plant near lutescent hostas such as 'Squash Casserole' and 'Sun Power' to keep the gold color in the garden.
'Bitsy Gold' is a yellow hosta 6 inches tall and 18 inches wide. The narrow leaves are approximately 5 inches long. A lutescent hosta, 'Bitsy Gold' becomes more gold in summer. Lavender flowers bloom in August. Plant 'Bitsy Gold' in a rock garden or at the front of a shady border.