Designing / Planting a Hosta Garden

Gardening with Hostas

Many people are Blesses???, Cursed!!! with a shade garden. If you are one of them, you will most likely be making lemon-aid out of lemons. Your lemon of choice, in this situation will be the Hosta, also called the Plantation Lily.

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


About fredgonsowskigardenhome

Your eyes deserve to view beauty. I hope Fred Gonsowski Garden Home helps to turn your vision, into a reality.
This entry was posted in planting a SHADE GARDEN, The Autumn(Fall) Garden, The Spring Garden, The Summer Garden. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Designing / Planting a Hosta Garden

  1. Sheila Cranker says:

    I love your artwork. I have several prints of the big eyed people. I picked a small oil painting this summer of snow covered evergreen trees around a pond. It is signed with your name but no date. I am just curious if this really one of your pieces of art.

    Sheila Cranker

    • Hi Sheila, I am the person who made the Big Eyed People, and I did make many paintings in a more traditional style before, and after that style period. After the Big Eyed People, I made interiors, with landscapes, looking out of windows,,, garden pictures, with lawn furniture, and at Winter time, I made snow scenes. I did those kind of things from 1993, to 1999, then I stopped doing shows, and making paintings. Look at the signature. I signed the traditional looking paintings, in a block style, like you see on the illustrations I make to illustrate my posts. They should be in red or black. Most of my paintings are on masonite boards, in acrylic paint, that is varnished. I, on occasion see a picture here or there at second hand- antique stores for sale. I have also seen the big eyed paintings up for auction. If you search Fred Gonsowski, while on the domain click on images, it is next to web (top left). The auction houses sometimes have my images there, that directs a person to their place of business, if you click on the picture.

      *****Hi Sheila. Got your letter today, and the picture you sent me, is one of my paintings, that I THINK I made in the 1970’s. It is Acrylic, on canvas, that is mounted on cardboard. That painting surface is something that a person buys at an art or craft store, pre-primed and ready to paint something on. I had to look at it for a minute, and then SMILED. If you choose to frame it, it is in a standard size. Bring it to an arts and craft store, or even a Walmart, and put it next to different frames, until you find one that you like with it. Places like Michael’s, and A C Moore sell nice frames for not to much money.

  2. m says:

    Great Blog both garden and interior design, I would like to subscribe but do not see a link, Please advise

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