Can hostas grow in the sun? Yes, while we think of hostas as shade plants, there are dozens of varieties that thrive in full-sun conditions so long as the roots receive consistent moisture and never dry out.
Not sure what your sun conditions are? This explains the difference between full sun, part sun, and shade.
49 Hostas For Sunny Locations
Which hostas like sun?
I compiled this hosta variety list from many sources (gardens, books, articles). There are 8000+ hosta cultivars so there are many more sun-tolerant hostas than I’m listing here. Take them as suggestions and be willing to move your plants around until you find their sweet spots.
The growing tips offer additional ideas for successful growing.
Hostas need even moisture (not dry spells or damp conditions), good soil, and root space. Watch for any signs of heat-fatigue. If you see wilting, stalled growth, brown leaf edges or discoloured spots, they are drying out too much. To remedy this, provide more shade, add mulch, or move them.
Ecological Gardening Note
No, hostas are native to Asia. While they are popular ornamental plants in other parts of the world, as non-native species they should never be introduced to wild or natural areas.
Some native alternatives to hostas for parts of Canada and the United States include mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) and skunk cabbage (Lysichiton americanus and Symplocarpus foetidus).
Hostas For Sun
August Moon (yellow)
Fire and Ice (white leaves with green edges)
Fragrant Bouquet (fragrant)
Francee (white variegated)
Fried Bananas (fragrant)
Fried Green Tomatoes (fragrant)
Garden Delight (fragrant)
Gold Regal (yellow)
Gold Standard (yellow-tinged foliage)
Golden Sculpture Rising Sun (yellow)
Honey Bells (fragrant)
Hosta plantaginea (fragrant)
Inniswood (yellow variegated)
Invincible (fragrant, green)
Liberty (thick leaves)
Pearl Lake (green hosta)
Regal Splendor (yellow variegated)
Rhino Hide (thick leaves)
Royal Standard (fragrant flowers)
So Sweet (fragrant)
Squash Casserole (yellow)
Sugar & Cream (fragrant)
Sum & Substance (chartreuse leaves)
Summer Fragrance (fragrant)
Sundance (yellow variegated)
Sun Power (yellow-tinged foliage)
Thunderbolt (thick leaves)
Twist of Lime
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Hostas For Sunny Locations
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Hosta Growing Tips
With over 8000+ hosta cultivars in the world, there are a lot of hosta options for your garden.
Colors include deep greens, light greens, blues, grays, yellows, white, and gold, and chartreuse varieties.
The key to success beyond right plant for the right space, is moisture. Yes, they can be sun-tolerant but that does not mean they are drought-tolerant. Hostas need consistent moisture to thrive. Sunlight is rarely an issue, but intense heat and dry conditions are. If you can keep good, even moisture and never let the plant dry out, you’re on the road to hosta happiness.
Planted in deeper shade, a hosta may not grow to its full potential. It’s the light that encourages foliage color changes and flowering.
This explains sun exposure (full sun, part sun, part shade, shade) and how to assess light conditions in your garden.
As a perennial in a cold climate, hostas go through distinct stages each year.
- Spring The first signs of spring growth come when the hosta “noses” or “snouts” emerge from the soil. These are furled buds that will grow into leaves. The unfurling stage is my favorite. There is something intriguing about so much growth coming up from seemingly bare earth.
- Late spring is the time of rapid root and foliage growth.
- Summer is the big show. The plant is at its peak size for the year. Some varieties flower. Warmer growing zones may trigger second leaves and blooms.
- Fall marks the time for dormancy to begin. Growth slows and stops; leaves may change color with hidden pigments becoming visible (just like tree leaves). Gradually the leaves die off and the hosta vanishes. The roots are there, of course, but there may be little or no evidence of them above ground. This is why long-lasting plant tags can be so valuable, preventing accidental trampling of the soil or digging in spring. If the fall season is dry, a nice deep drink of water for the roots is a good idea when first frost is imminent. Seeds can be collected from dry seed pods for sowing indoors.
- Winter is the dormant period. Just as many flowering bulbs need a consistent chilling period for spring growth, hostas need their winter rest. At least 30 days with temperatures below 40℉ (4°C) is best.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can grow hostas in containers. Hosta leaves come in so many beautiful variations and look great in pots.
Also, growing in containers is a great workaround if you have poor soil or suspect you will want to move the plant around to find its best growing location in your garden.
Some hostas grow very deep roots (18-inches), so a large, deep container is best. You must keep up with watering and may want to add drip irrigation if you are away in the summer.
To overwinter your potted hosta, water deeply before storing, place a piece of hardware cloth (lead-free or stainless steel) with a rock on top of the soil to discourage vermin, and keep in a cool place (not freezing) until spring.
The best tip is to start by choosing hostas suited to your growing zone and conditions. For ongoing care, even moisture is key. Whether you plant your hostas in dappled shade or a sunny location, you want those roots to have access to water throughout the growing seasons. Drip irrigation hoses can help. A few inches of organic mulch can also help retain moisture.
Some hostas are much bigger than others for several reasons including the cultivar (genetics), age of the plant, optimum growing conditions include root space, and fertilizer. It’s a good bet that most gardeners with giant—and I mean giant—hostas are starting with species known to grow really large and maxing out the fertilizers. While they look cool, keep in mind that commercial fertilizers are not considered environmentally-friendly.
If you are replenishing your soil with compost on an ongoing basis and taking soil tests to understand what—if anything—your soil needs, fertilizers are not recommended. Some hosta growers swear by a slow-release 10-10-10 product but it’s important to know what your soil needs before feeding it, otherwise the excess goes to waste and environmental harm can occur.
Common hosta issues include slugs, voles, deer, foliar nematodes, and petiole rot (fungus).
This has tips on dealing with slugs and snails without causing harm to your garden or wildlife.
Watch Hosta Care Tips
See tips on dividing hostas, growing hostas in containers, and sun and shade hosta suggestions.
If you like tips like these ones, be sure to sign up for the Empress of Dirt Newsletter. You’ll get fresh ideas every second Friday.
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛
Empress of Dirt
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