Skip to main content

5 incredible hosta varieties to consider for a shade garden

Grow one of these hostas and your won't regret it

Green and white hosta plants
katiem2 / Pixabay

Shade gardens can be tricky to plant in sometimes, but you can always count on hostas. Hostas are easy to grow, can be found in most nurseries and garden centers, grow well with many other plants, and are quite beautiful. The only question is which hosta variety will you plant? This guide to five incredible types of hostas will walk you through our favorite hosta varieties. No matter what type of shade garden you’re planning, one of these types of hostas is sure to fit.

Deja Blu

A Deja Blu hosta with blue-green leaves that have yellow centers
Gaz_D / Pixabay

Deja Blu hostas are known for their blue-green leaves, which are bordered with yellow-green. If you look closely, you’ll find that there is a jagged stripe of cream, pale yellow, or white in between the blue and yellow parts of the leaves. This gives Deja Blu a unique layered appearance that sets it apart from other types of hostas. It is a fast-growing hosta, but stays in the small to medium size range. Beginning in the middle of summer, Deja Blu hostas put out pale purple flowers, which add to its overall sweet appearance.

Pathfinder

A hosta leaf that is cream in the middle and dark green at the edges.
bluebudgie / Pixabay

Pathfinder hostas are simple, elegant, and relatively large. Their leaves have a cream center, sometimes with green flecks or spots and dark green edges. Pathfinder hostas have thicker leaves than other types of hostas, giving them a robust or sturdy appearance. These leaves are also slightly textured and glossy. This hosta typically blooms in late summer, and its flowers are white and light purple. These white flowers speckled with purple look charming in dappled shade or as part of a cut flower display.

Great Expectations

Great Expectations hosta with yellow or cream leaves edged in dark green
dference / Pixabay

Great Expectations hostas certainly live up to their name. These are one of the most popular types of hostas, because of their large size and interesting leaves. They have thick, curved or curled leaves that change colors with the seasons. The leaves have yellow centers with blue-green edges. During the summer, the yellow centers brighten before fading in autumn to a lighter yellow, cream, or white color. Great Expectations are ideal for partial shade, as their colors are more pronounced when they have some sunlight. This is also a relatively early blooming hosta, typically putting out flowers in mid-spring to early summer.

Whirlwind

Curled Whirlwind hosta leaves with cream centers and dark green edges
PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay

Whirlwind hostas are set apart from other types of hostas by their leaf shape. Rather than unfurling and spreading, Whirlwind hostas stay mostly vertical and curled, like a funnel. This gives Whirlwind hostas a unique shape and silhouette, as well as making them easier to grow in smaller spaces. The lack of spreading leaves and its relatively small size mean you won’t need to worry as much about its leaves being bent by other nearby plants. This also makes it a great choice for container gardens. Similarly to Great Expectations, Whirlwind hostas change color through the seasons.

Pandora’s Box

Hostas leaves that have white centers and dark green edges
Hans / Pixabay

Pandora’s Box is a great option if you want a hosta for a container garden, a row of hostas to serve as a garden border, or just need a small hosta to fill in the gaps between other plants. It has a classic hosta appearance, with oval leaves that are cream or white in the center and green or blue-green at the edges. It blooms in early summer, and its small size makes it a cute and versatile addition to any shade garden.

These five types of hostas are just the beginning, but they cover a nice range of needs. Whether you want a large and grand hosta like Great Expectations, something small and cute like Pandora’s Box, or something a little bit odd like the Whirlwind, one of these hostas will certainly appeal to you.

Editors' Recommendations

Cayla Leonard
Cayla Leonard is a writer from North Carolina who is passionate about plants.  She enjoys reading and writing fiction and…
What you need to know about deadheading in your garden
Tips and tricks for deadheading your flowers
Gloved hand deadheading a lily

Flowers are a beautiful, colorful way to decorate your home or yard. Whether you’re growing a garden full of blooms or just a single flower to spruce up a corner of your home, you’ll want your plants to bloom as often and for as long as possible. One technique you may have heard of is deadheading. What is deadheading, though, and how does it work? How do you know if your plants would benefit from it, and how can you deadhead your plants without hurting them? We’ll answer all your questions about deadheading here in this simple guide.
What is deadheading?

Deadheading is the act of removing dead flowers from the plant. This serves a couple of purposes. It improves the aesthetics of plants and the garden overall by getting rid of dead blooms. More importantly, however, it frees up energy for your plant to use. Plants will continue to devote energy to blooms that have died, since this is where seeds or fruit form.

Read more
What is a chaos garden, and why should you start one this spring?
Is this approach to gardening for you?
A mix of colorful wildflowers

One of TikTok's latest gardening trends, chaos gardening is exactly what it sounds like: It's a low-maintenance approach to gardening that requires little planning and upkeep. With chaos gardening, you'll be using leftover seeds, picking out easy-going native plants, and being OK with some plants simply not working out. Think of it as survival of the fittest — whatever sticks will stick. There's no need to excessively plan out your spacing and consistently prune. Still, there's a method to the madness, since you want to keep your garden resilient against pests and diseases. If you're starting your very own chaos garden, here's what you need to know.

What you need to know about chaos gardening

Read more
18 incredible morning shade plants that will thrive in your shady garden
These flowers and vegetables will love morning shade and afternoon sun
A black walnut tree in the afternoon sun

When planting a garden, your landscape and ideas may not always align with what's best for the plants. Many beautiful flowers need full sun, which can be frustrating if your garden is shady. The good news is that just as many stunning flowers enjoy the shade. Not all plants are alike, and while they all want sunlight, they don't all want the same amount or the same kind. If your garden has morning shade and afternoon sun, then these are the morning shade plants you should know about.

What kind of light is morning shade?

Read more