31 July 2011

Who Says Hostas Are Only for Shade?

Hostas seem to be synonymous with shade.  At least that's what we've been told.  A few years back I was on a garden tour and saw a profound garden.  Profound in that she, the owner/gardener, was growing hostas in full sun!  When asked how she was able to grow such healthy looking specimens in the full sun, she said "water".  Don't let the soil dry out and they'll be fine.  That was the first but not the last time I was to see this.

This year, while touring a botanical garden, I saw several varieties of hosta planted in full sun.  They were not scorched nor wilting.  So much for the theory of hostas being solely shade plants.

If you decide to try growing hostas in the sun, there are some varieties that will do better than others.  Gold leaved plants and heavily variegated specimens, more white or cream than green, can tolerate sun if the soil is moist.  REMEMBER:  ADEQUATE MOISTURE.  Some hostas, though, may still scorch, even in moist soil.

Blue leaved or solid green varieties tend to scorch, even in moist soil.

I have two hostas that are very similar in foliage, the photo above is one of them. They are planted on the east side of a fence where they receive at least six hours of direct sun every day.  This is a moist bed, the last to dry in the entire yard, which could explain why both seem so happy here.  I only wish I could remember the names of them.  They were purchased a few years ago when they were new introductions but the tags have disappeared long ago. ("fire" is part of the name)  If anyone recognizes this variety, please let me know in the comments section.

Some varieties you may consider are:
Sum and Substance
Sun Power
Gold Standard
Fragrant Bouquet
August Moon

Check your local garden centre for further suggestions of sun tolerant hostas.  There are some varieties like August Moon that some direct sun exposure will emphasize more yellow tones.  

If in doubt, plant in a part-shade garden, with morning sun and afternoon shade, remembering the sun is at its strongest between 11 am and 4 pm. Note:   The southern states' sun may be far too strong for any hosta in full sun. 

* I am participating in Mosaic Monday today.  Stop by for more mosaics.  Mary's blog, Little Red House, has some magnificent photography.  Take your time and browse around.  You can tell her "The Gardening Life" referred you.


Netty said...

I have a few Hosta's in sun that do just fine. I see a few here I don't have so now I'll be looking for them!
I think your Hosta is 'Fire and Ice'

Melanie said...

Another reason we can get away with growing Hostas in full sun is because the sunshine up here, in our zone 3 gardens, is much less intense than it would be in California or other southern areas. I love your photos.

Shirley said...

Netty, I think you are right! Thanks.

Melanie, you are right. The sun here is not nearly so strong as the sun in the southern states. I think that makes a huge difference in what we can plant in the sun vs shade.

Icy BC said...

Beautiful hosta plant and flowers though. Your mosaic is fantastic!

Icy BC said...

I love your mosaic of the hosta plants and flowers!

(Hopefully, this comment will go through..)

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

Lovely mosaic! We have hostas here in NC but if they get too much sun the leaves turn brown on the edges! Yours look so lush and beautiful! ♥

Emily said...

I love Hostas. The are so lush and pretty in a garden. I love how the fill in around other plants too. Your mosaic is lovely. I like your slide show of beautiful nature. Your blog is beautiful and informative.
Hope your week is great.

The French Hutch

Teagarden said...

Great mosaic, thanks for sharing!
Have a nice week,

Gardening in a Sandbox said...

Hi Shirley: I remember reading once that Hostas tolerate shade as apposed to being shade lovers. I think the key is moisture in the soil. In my sandy soil it is a tough roe to hoe but if you have more clay you will have better success. A couple more ideas are Paul's Glory and June will tolerate more sun. V

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

I love hostas too! They do well in my partly shaded garden but I would have never thought to plant them in full sun either.

GrandmaK said...

Funny, I thought thought you could plant hostas anywhere! I do! They make for lovely variety in any garden! Beautiful pics!!! Thank you too for your kind word. Enjoyed your visit! Cathy

shirley said...

I love hostas - we had the most beautiful ones in our last house - huge leaves that were planted under a cluster of trees.
We have some here, too, but there is something special about them below the tree canopy.

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Carol @ There's Always Thyme to Cook said...

Beautiful mosaic, I love the hostas!

Karen said...

You are so right! I grow a lot of hostas, at one time I was up to 500+ varieties, not sure how many individual plants, and I have them all over the place. We are Zone 4/5 and they really do quite well with a little sun. There was a grower around here who lined his out in a field in full sun and didn't really even supplement them with much water because he wanted them to be tough. Though he had burned and crispy edges, he had huge hostas due to all the sunlight.

Great post!

Lesa said...

I didn't know that about hostas. I have no shade so never have planted any-- but no way they would survive this hot sunny summer.

Very pretty mosaic. Thanks for checking out mine.


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