16 Best Hosta Varieties for a Shady Yard

When you’re searching for a gorgeous perennial that’s easy to care for, durable, and perfect for your forest garden, hosta varieties come to mind. You can choose from a host of different sizes, colors, leaf textures, and shapes, and this allows you to easily mix and match to create a stunning foliage-heavy focal point in your yard. They also produce flower spikes during the summer months to provide a little height and visual interest, so you can easily pick out the ones that work best in your yard or garden design. 

No matter if you’re working with a tiny patio garden that doesn’t have space for a spec of composted leaf litter, or if you were someone who spends hours creating a beautifully landscaped garden with slate paths and stone borders, mature trees and stunning flower beds, you can find the correct hosta varieties to fit in. As long as you have a shady spot and are in zones 3 to 11, you can find the perfect hosta variety to fill in your space and look gorgeous well into the fall months. 

We’ve rounded up a huge amount of hosta varieties for you to look at and see if they fit into your growing zone. If they do, you can pick them out, plant them, and enjoy them all year-round. 

1. Deja Blu

It’s a good idea to plant this hosta variety where you can sit and admire it. This particular hosta features very large leaves with blue-green coloring, and the leaves have an eye-catching gold edge to it. There is also a very narrow creamy white band that helps divide the two colors to ensure that they all blend well but have a very defined and regal look. It does produce medium-purple flower spikes during the summer months, and it’s a smaller specimen at around 20-inches wide and 14-inches tall. You can plant it in the ground or in a container without an issue. 

This hosta variety is best planted in zones three to nine. It does tend to have problems with slugs, so ensure that you keep an eye on it and treat them if you notice slug damage. You’ll want to plant your hosta in an area that is moist but the soil drains well between watering sessions. It should also be very rich soil, and the pH levels have to be slightly acidic for this plant to thrive. If the soil has a lot of sand or clay, add in plenty of organic compost to amend it before you plant them. 

1 Deja Blu Hosta
Hosta by Theryn Fleming / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

2. Francis William

Anyone who is looking to fill in around their concrete foundation can look at this larger hosta variety. You’ll get a very eye-catching look because this plant offers very large irregularly-edged leaves in a brilliant chartreuse coloring. The foliage also has a very puckered texture to it, and they’re slightly thicker. So, this plant will always look healthy, robust, and full, even into the late fall months. During the hotter summer months, this hosta will produce very white flowers with a fun funnel shape to them, and they’ll hang around from mid-summer to the fall months. 

This hosta variety can get up to 18-inches tall by 48-inches wide. It works well when you plant it outside in zones three to nine. Unlike others on the list, this one is moderately slug-resistant, so this makes it slightly easier to care for. This is due to the slightly thicker and puckered leaves that the slugs have difficulty with. Make sure you get a watering routing in place to help keep the soil slightly moist, and it should be loose and well-draining. This hosta won’t tolerate a huge amount of direct sunlight without scorching, so make sure it’s at least partially shaded. 

2 Francis William
Hostas by jojudge / CC BY 2.0

3. Tokudama Flavocircinalis

This is a very simple but elegant hosta variety to have in your yard or garden, and you’ll get pretty blue leaves in a heart shape, and they finish with a pale green edge to create a nice contrast. There is also an attractive corrugated texture to the foliage, and this stands out very well when you pair it with a few smooth-leaved hosta varieties. During the early summer months, you’ll notice flower spikes start to form out of the center of the plant, and they’ll produce pure white flowers on the end that sit up above the foliage to add a little height. 

As this hosta variety grows, it’ll get up to 48-inches wide and 17-inches tall. It grows best when you plant it outside in zones three to nine. It’s slightly easier to care for due to the textured leaves that make it more resistant to damage from slugs. You should make a point to keep the soil slightly more moist but not saturated around the plant. It likes at least partial shade, but it can also do well in full shade. Make sure the soil drains well between watering sessions and that it isn’t too clay or sand-based. If it is, you have to amend it.

3 Tokudama Flavocircinalis
tokudama ‘Flavocircinalis’ by moccasinlanding / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

4. Wolverine

Generally speaking, green and blue go very well together. This hosta variety is no exception, and it will grow very narrow and long leaves that are blue-green in color. They all have a creamy gold stripe running along the edge to help define them and make them stand out. This is a good pick if you want something that blooms later in the summer months as it produces light purple or violet blossoms on flower spikes that stand out nicely from the foliage color. The leaves are very lightly textured, but they’re also thinner. This reduces how resistant they are to slug damage, so you do have to keep a close eye on them. 

When you plant this hosta variety, it will get up to 40-inches wide but only 15-inches tall, so this is a shorter and wider species. Plant it outside in zones three to nine. It does well in flower beds or in larger containers in partially or fully shaded areas. The soil should be slightly acidic and moist to keep the plants happy, and you may have to amend it with a rich compost mix if it has too much clay because this will cause the soil to retain too much moisture. 

4 Wolverine
Blue and green hosta by David Strom / CC BY-NC 2.0

5. Pandora’s Box

Even though this plant has a decidedly ominous name, this is a miniature hosta variety that looks wonderful planted in pots, garden beds, or straight in the ground by your patio or deck. It offers a pretty creamy white foliage that has blue-green edges to it. During the early summer months, you’ll get very light purple flowers in a bell-shape that are very tiny to match the plant’s size. This is a smooth-textured hosta that isn’t as resistant to slugs or other pests as other varieties, so you do have to keep an eye on it and inspect it regularly to help keep it healthy. 

This tiny hosta variety only gets five-inches wide and two-inches tall. This makes it a perfect contender for a planter on your patio or balcony. For the best growth, plant it in zones three to nine. If you want to split this hosta, do so in the summer months when the leaves start to come up to give them the entire growing season to establish themselves. This isn’t a slug-resistant variety due to the smooth leaves. It likes slightly acidic and moist soil, so don’t allow it to dry out between watering sessions. The soil should also be very rich, and you may have to amend it. 

5 Pandoras Box
Hosta ‘Pandora’s Box’0002 by Henryr10 / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

6. Paradigm

This brilliant hosta variety does well in raised garden beds in shady conditions, and it offers very large leaves in a golden color. The leaves also have blue-green edges that are very irregular and eye-catching. Unlike several other hostas, this one has colors that get more brilliant and deeper as the summer months go on to provide visual interest well into the fall months. They do need a small amount of bright sunlight to turn these colors into deeper hues, but make sure it’s not in the direct sunlight because this can cause scorching. It can easily get up to four-feet wide by 46-inches tall, so this is a much larger variety to have. 

Plant this hosta variety outside in zones three to nine for the strongest growing conditions. It has a moderant slug resistance to it due to the slightly textured leaves, but there isn’t one hosta that is completely slug-resistant. The flowers are purple and appear in the mid-summer months. The pH for the soil should be slightly acidic, and make sure to mix in some rich compost to introduce nutrients to the soil when you plant them. Water them regularly, and make sure the soil drains very well.

6 Paradigm
‘Paradigm’ by moccasinlanding / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

7. Formal Attire

You can easily add impact to any forest garden with this hosta variety. You’ll get a creamy white edge that helps the blue-green leaves stand out very nicely. During the spring, the leaves will have a deep blue-green coloring to them with very wide yellow margins. As the summer progresses, the yellow margins turn more white and the leaves change to a very deep green color. It forms a very large mound as it grows, and you’ll be able to see very light purple flowers that pop up in the middle of the clump and sit several inches above the foliage to add a little more height. 

This hosta variety does very well when you plant it in the ground or in a larger container in zones three to nine. It can easily reach up to 30-inches tall and 30-inches wide. The leaves are slightly heart-shaped and smooth, and this makes them more vulnerable to slug damage if you don’t watch them. The soil should be slightly acidic and moist, but it should also drain decently well. It won’t tolerate loamy, sandy, or clay-based soils without a problem. Add a rich compost when you plant this hosta to give it a nutrient boost, and make sure it’s out of the direct sunlight. 

7 Formal Attire
Lotsa Hosta by Jennifer Lamb / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

8. Daybreak

Most hosta varieties aren’t able to survive with a lot of sunlight, but this one has a decent sun tolerance. So, you can easily plant it along your patio or deck in an area that gets partial sun to full shade without having a problem. It has a very vibrant gold foliage to it, and the leaves are very heavily textured. It grows in a very large mound, and the bright gold-colored foliage will be a chartreuse color at first in the spring, but it’ll brighten up during the summer months and retain this coloring well into the fall. 

This hosta variety can get up to 36-inches wide and 22-inches tall at full maturity. It likes to be in zones three to nine, and this gives you some flexibility when it comes to planting it. The heavy texture on the leaves makes it slightly more resistant to slug damage than other smooth-leaved options. It will produce flowers during the early summer months that are a light purple color. You should water it regularly to keep the soil moist, or you can apply a layer of mulch to help retain moisture. They like slightly acidic soil.

8 Daybreak
Garden of shaz 2010 by sharon_magill / CC BY-NC 2.0

9. Sun Power

This is another unique hosta variety that has a higher than average sun tolerance, and you can plant it in an area that gets full to partial sun without worrying about it scorching. This plant has pretty greenish-yellow leaves that get topped by tight clusters of flowers with a very light purple coloring on them. You want to put it in a place that gets afternoon shade and morning sunshine, so you have more flexibility about where it goes when you’re plotting out your garden or yard. The color will actually get more vibrant when it gets at least a little sun.

This is a larger-sized hosta variety to have in your garden, and it can reach 48-inches wide by 24-inches tall. So, you’ll get a clump that is slightly wider than it is tall. It likes to be in planting zones three to nine. Due to the slight texture on the leaves, it has moderate slug resistance that makes it easier to take care of. The flowers are very light purple and stick up above the plant in a tight clump during the mid-summer months. Make sure you get this plant on a watering schedule to keep the soil moist, and the soil should drain well so the roots don’t get saturated.

9 Sun Power
‘Sun Power’ by moccasinlanding / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

10. Sum and Substance

Anyone who wants a low-maintenance landscaping idea that will take up a lot of space should try this hosta variety. This is an enormous hosta that offers stunning lime-green leaves. It is much wider than it is tall, so it’s nice to fill in a low area of dead space along your home, paths, or the edges of your yard. The leaves are slightly thin and not very textured, so this makes it more prone to slug damage. Since there are so many leaves and the leaves are so big, it can also be harder to spot the damage until it’s fairly severe.

This hosta variety also produces flowers later in the summer months, and they have a very light purple coloring to them. Plant this hosta in zones three to nine for the best results. It can reach an impressive five-feet wide and two-feet tall, so you do have to give it a decent amount of space when you plant it. The soil should be slightly acidic, and it’s a good idea to mix in some rich compost before you plant them to ensure they have all of the nutrients they need to grow to their impressive size. Make a point to water them regularly to help keep the soil lightly moist. 

10 Sum and Substance
Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’ 2017 by F.D. Richards / CC BY-SA 2.0

11. Chartreuse Wiggles

This hosta variety earned its name from the wavy edges of the leaves it sports, and you’ll get very bright green foliage from the early spring to the late fall months. It also produces a cluster of purple flowers during the mid-summer months that sit on top of the leaves. You can create a very fun combination if you grow this hosta mixed in with wider-leaf varieties. It also works very well if you plant it in containers that have Browallia because they provide a nice contrast. Since this is a smaller variety, you can stick it in a huge range of containers and have it do very well. 

You’ll get a hosta variety that grows up to 12-inches wide by 6-inches tall at the most, so it won’t take over areas where you plant it. Also, this allows you to cluster them together to create a very full look. It’s not resistant to slugs, even though it has some texture to it. The soil should be very very rich and drain well between watering sessions. Also, don’t allow it to dry out because the hosta likes to have it consistently moist. 

11 Chartreuse Wiggles
Hosta Chartreuse Wiggles by moccasinlanding / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

12. Heavenly Tiara

Heavenly Tiara is one hosta variety that looks nice paired with almost any other shade plant you have due to the very light green coloring on the foliage and the creamy gold edging that slowly changes to white. The leaf margins are originally a yellow shade that shift to white as the season goes on. The seasonal color changes allow this plant to stand out really well with other shade plants. It also has thinner leaves that make it less resistant to slugs, and they don’t have a lot of texture to them. They also have a slightly upright growth habit to them that is unique. 

This is one hosta variety that is medium-large, and it can get up to three-feet wide by one-foot tall, so it’ll spread out to fill in blank spaces in your landscaping without getting tall enough to block the view. It is well planted in zones three to nine in slightly acidic soil. To ensure healthy growth, give it fertilizer during the early spring months. Also, water it regularly to keep the soil moist but not saturated. You can also easily divide the plant in the spring months to get more without impacting the growth. 

12 Heavenly Tiara
HOSTA by marc falardeau / CC BY 2.0

13. Blue Mouse Ears

Blue Mouse Ears is a host variety that lives up to the name. This is a miniature hosta that does very well in pots, larger containers, or in the ground. It offers rounded blue-green leaves that have a deeper color to them, and the thicker leaves resist slug damage very well. It also gives you showier flowers in a shade of lavender that rises above the foliage on scapes that can get up to a foot high during the summer months. These flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds, so it creates a nice wildlife focal point in almost every yard. 

This hosta variety will only get six to eight-inches tall, and it spreads to the same width. It has a clump-forming growth habit, and this allows you to use it as a pretty ground cover as long as you live in planting zones three to eight. It also likes slightly acidic soil, but you don’t want to saturate your soil. Instead, water it lightly several times a week when it doesn’t rain. You can get it in pots or as bare-root specimens, and you may want to enrich the soil before you plant it to give it nutrients to grow.

13 Blue Mouse Ears
hosta “blue mouse ears” by Lilbenne / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

14. Empress Wu

Ranked as one of the largest hosta varieties you can purchase, and this allows the plant to have a very commanding presence in your yard. It makes an excellent focal point, especially when you put it in a shady area. This hosta has glossy green leaves with very deep veins to them, and you’ll get a slightly blue tinge to the coloring. The lavender flowers are another focal point on this plant, but they don’t rise up very high due to the plant’s sheer size. 

This impressive hosta variety can easily get three to four-feet high and five to six-feet wide. This measurement is for a single plant. The leaves are 25-inches wide and 28-inches long. It has a semi-upright but mounding habit, and the size ensures that it can block whatever you plant behind it from view. It takes around five years to reach the full size, and you should plant it in zones three to nine. Add mulch to the soil to help it retain water and keep the shallow root system moist. As a bonus, this also allows you to cut back on how much water you use to keep it thriving.

14 Empress Wu
‘Empress Wu’
by moccasinlanding / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

15. Fragrant Bouquet

The pretty apple-green, bi-coloed leaves on this hosta variety are very eye-catching, and they have a thin line of white running around each leaf’s edge. It also produces very large flowers in a light lavender shade that are surprisingly fragrant, unlike a lot of hosta flowers. Pollinators love this plant, and this makes it a very popular addition in shady areas of your butterfly garden. It is a medium-growing cultivar, and this means it’ll take two or three years to reach the full mature height and spread. 

This hosta variety can get up to two-feet tall and wide at full maturity. So, you do want to space them out a bit when you plant them to prevent them from crowding as they grow. It makes a nice border plant, and it’s low enough that it won’t block out the flowers directly behind or around it. This is a smooth-leaved plant that isn’t resistant to slug damage, and it does like a round of fertilizer in the spring months to encourage rapid but healthy growth. You can put it in shaded areas or in areas that get bright morning sun in zones four to nine. 

15 Fragrant Bouquet
Hosta ‘Fragrant Bouquet’ x2 by moccasinlanding / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

16. Sagae

Anyone who wants another giant hosta variety that isn’t quite as large as Empress Wu should try this pick. It is big enough to make an impression in any shaded area of your yard or garden layout, and it offers very big green leaves that have chartreuse edges. The wavy colors look like watercolors, and this is another attractive point to this plant. You will have to give them a lot of room to grow because it tends to spread out much farther than it grows tall, and it’ll give you very pretty white flowers. The leaves fade to yellow when the cooler fall months roll around. 

This hosta variety can get up to 30-inches tall and 70-inches wide. The leaves themselves are very impressive, and they can get a foot tall and wide each. It’s an excellent way to fill a big empty space in your yard, and it grows best in planting zones three to nine. You do have to keep an eye out for spring desiccation burn. It targets hostas with blue-green leaves that are larger. The gold sections will start to fade, turn, clear, and dry out before they die if your hosta falls victim to this disease.

16 Sagae
Hosta ‘Sagae’ by Dornenwolf / CC BY 2.0

Bottom Line

These 16 hosta varieties can help fill in spaces in your yard or garden, or the miniature varieties provide gorgeous foliage for pots or raised garden beds. You can mix and match textured and smooth-leaved varieties to create an interesting look, and choose different sizes and colors to create visual interest. Use them to fill in your shady areas in your yard and get low-maintenance plants that come back year after year. 

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