Hostas come in an assortment of colors (green, blue-green, chartreuse, gold, and white), and can be solid or two-toned. When combined properly, they can make an interesting display, even though you are just using one genus family of plant. The hosta genus has 70 species. Species is defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offsprings.
Through plant crossings, hybridizers have come up with hundreds of variations of hostas. Besides color combinations, texture is another factor that makes hostas visually attractive. They can be ribbed like a pair of corduroy pants, and have somewhat glossy leaves. They also can have puckered leaves like a seersucker suit, with a leaf dull like candle wax. The edges of the leaves can come ruffled or smooth, the leaf’s size can be large and heart-shaped, or small and more like an elongated almond.
Now look at the top of the visual I put together for this post. When making a grouping of mixed varieties of hostas, you want to have plants that are both solid and two-toned. When choosing two-toned plants, look for hostas with different sized markings. Pick some plants that are barely edged in white, green, blue-green, or gold. Find others that have larger amounts of white, gold, chartreuse, and blue-green for edging, or center of the leave. Look for plants that produce small leaves and ones that have large ones. Variety is what makes for interest. Try to pair large against small, light against dark, narrow leaves against wide and Ruffled edges against smooth.
If you put together extremes there is less of a chance of the plants clashing, because one will be visually predominant, and the other one subordinate.
Now look at the groupings of hostas across the top of the visual. Starting on the top left #1 notice how the first two are both green and white. The top one (edged in white) is less visually stimulating (busy looking) than the one below it, with the green edge and white center. What makes the lower hosta stand out is that the eye sees more white on the plant’s leaves. Hostas that have large concentrated amounts of white, chartreuse, or gold on the centers of their leaves are more visually brighter, which atracts the eye’s attention.
Next look at #2, a pair of solid colored hostas, one green and one chartreuse. #3 is a combination of the two colors on the hostas that make up #2. Following #3 is grouping #4. It consists of a two-toned hosta (the top one is the same as the lower one in group #1) and a solid. Notice how the hosta in #3 and top hosta in #4 are like the first two hostas in #1? Bright center versus narrow outside edging.
In the center grouping I put together hostas that transition from blue toned, to green, and white. The first two hostas #5 are both blue. The top one is edged in a golden-white. Next to those hostas #6 are hostas that are considered blue. Next to them #7 are a chartreuse toned hosta, and a hosta that is chartreuse and blue. Again notice how I tried to bring / work the color from #6 to #7 (combining the blue-green and chartreuse) to keeping the look unified.
Now look at the photo on the bottom. Notice how the colors gold, chartreuse, green, and blue-green of the hostas, works their way from one plant to another. Also notice the different sizes and shapes of the leaves, as well as the different markings. Look at how there are a number of large blue hostas across the back of the border, and how there are some smaller blue ones in the middle and front.
I hope this post was helpful to you, and that it gets you looking at, and thinking about how to show off hostas in their best light. Even if that light is Shade.
Companion Posts …
Hostas (Plantation Lily)..Planting, Dividing, and Maintenance 8-14-2011,
How to Plant (Design) a garden, Mass versus Specimen Planting 2-17-2011,
When Designing a Shade Garden, think Focal Point, Plant Color and Shapes of Leaves 9-4-2011,
When Designing a Perennial Garden it’s ALL about the Shapes of Leaves 1-15-2011,
Colored Foliage adds that WOW factor to a Garden 2-22-2011,
Plant (Start) a Flower Garden for Sun or Shade, Celebrate Spring 3-31-2012,
Designing / Laying out Flower Beds 5-4-2013,
My Hydrangeas Don’t / Won’t Bloom is a Lament uttered by Many 6-21-2012