Many folks believe hostas come in only two varieties; variegated and non-variegated. Nothing could actually be further from the truth and indeed the genus Hosta has grown to include over 6,000 unique cultivars of which more than 150 are garden-worthy specimens.
So, what makes a unique hosta? It probably all depends on your level of hosta nerdery but for the beginner, let's narrow it down to the most obvious traits; fragrance, foliage, and size.
Fragrant hostas fill the air with a wonderful and delicate scent and attract pollinators to your garden. A number of fragrant hostas today are derived from Hosta plantaginea which has been used to produce a number of fragrant hybrid hostas that also do excellent in our North Carolina summers.
Some of our favorite fragrant hostas:
- Hosta plantaginea ‘Ming Treasure’ is a chartreused-edged version of H. plantaginea with fragrant pure white flowers that are fantastic hummingbird attractors.
- Hosta ‘Guacamole’ is a larger hosta with fragrant white flowers and chartreuse-gold foliage.
- Hosta ‘Summer Fragrance’ is a vigorous variegated variety that forms a 3' wide clump and tall, 40" scapes of fragrant lavender flowers in the summer.
Hostas With Unique Foliage
Although variegated hostas can be real show-stoppers, there is an amazing amount of variation of foliage textures and shape above and beyond just variegated patterns. We also love pairing variegated with non-variegated for contrast. Some of our favorite hostas with unique foliage:
- Hosta 'Designer Genes' is a favorite for visitors to our garden and is a truly unique hosta. This hybrid hosta forms a clump of yellow leaves that emerge gold in spring atop bright red petioles. Through the heat of summer, the leaves revert to green but a little morning sun keeps them gold longer.
- Hosta 'Blue Waves', as the name suggests, produces marvelous wavy blue foliage that is more narrow and pointy than your normal green leaved hostas.
- Hosta 'Cathedral Windows' is a double threat with both striking variegated dark-green foliage and amazingly fragrant flowers that are a hummingbird delight.
Miniature Hosta Varieties
When you think of hostas, you probably imagine a large clump of foliage with wide leaves spreading out in every direction with tall scapes of lavender flowers. But did you know that there are hosta hybrids that are only 1" tall and less than 1' wide? These miniature hosta varieties are indeed unique hostas and worthy of adding to your garden or in a patio container. Here are just a few of our favorites:
- Hosta 'Fingernails' is a Plant Delights introduction that forms tiny 1" x .5" leaves in a clump only 8" wide. A truly unique hosta specimen.
- Hosta 'Fingertips' is another PDN introduction and is slightly larger than 'Fingernails" but still produces gorgeous clumps of lavender flowers that rise above the tight clump of light-green foliage.
- Hosta 'Green Ice' is only 2 inches tall and produces 2.5" long leaves and is topped with lavender flowers starting in late June.
Hopefully this gives you a little insight into the wide variety of unique hostas available on the market today and gives you a reason to step outside of your hosta comfort zone. Be sure to check out our selection of unique hostas for sale and let us know if we can help you find the right hosta.