Are Hostas really for shade?

I have several Hostas in my garden - all growing under the dappled shade of my Japanese Acers.  One of them has a flower spike forming but it is the only one!  I have looked closely at the amount of light that may be going on this particular and it is very little more than the other seven plants are receiving.  In another part of the garden I have a further 4 Hostas and they haven't flowered at all this year although in full leaf.  Have I read it all wrong - all the books say shade!


  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 10,194

    I have one hosta called Gold Edger which can cope with sun but most prefer dappled or full shade depending on how thick and coloured their leaves are and they usually need plenty of moisture if they do get sunshine or their leaves will crisp up.

    It's a bit too late this year but I would sugegst that next spring you give each emerging hosta a generous feed of slow release fertiliser such as blood, fish and bone or pelleted chicken manure and maybe a tonic of liquid rose or tomato food for extra flowering oomph.  If your hostas are new, or young, they may just be getting themselves established with good root systems before they expend energy on flowers.

    The Vendée, France
  • Alina WAlina W Posts: 1,445

    Hostas' principal interest is their leaves rather than their flowers. In the vast majority of cases, leaf colour is better in shade.

    Going back to flowers, many flower quite late in summer, and will probably be even later this year because of the poor weather.

  • WintersongWintersong Posts: 2,436

    Hostas can grow perfectly well in both sun and shade, although they need more moisture in sun. They make two kinds of leaf depending upon their situation, so if you move a hosta from shade into sun, the leaf-buds it made the previous year will be for shade, not sun and may result in leaf burn. It also depends on the species, but generally speaking, hostas with blue leaves dislike too much sunlight or just lose their colour and turn green in sun.

    As already stated, hostas are principally grown for foliage, and some people cut off the flower spikes since some varieties will pretty much die back once flowered. (these tend to be the big ones) whilst other varieties will have a second growth spurt after flowering and make a new flush of leaves. (these tend to be the fast growing ones) although there are exceptions to these rules.image

    Flowers or not, sun or shade, they are worth growing however you like image enjoy!

  • weejennyweejenny Posts: 391

    I have hostas alll over the garden. Id say theyd like a mulch at their feet rather than worrying about sun or shade. image

  • gardengirl6gardengirl6 Posts: 223

    A few weeks ago, Monty Don said it was a fallacy that hostas need shade.    I agreed with him, as mine are in full sun all day, and flower well every year.    He said full sun is fine as long as they get lots of water.    Mine are in pots, standing in saucers of water.

  • What do people have planted next to their Hostas? I want to plant some in a shaded border.



  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,839

    I have hostas planted on a shady bank amongst ferns, pulmonarias, dicentra alba, foxgloves and ajuga.

    Gardening is cheaper than therapy, and you get tomatoes. 
  • weejennyweejenny Posts: 391

    I also have mine among ferns and pulmonaria plus mecanopsis poppy, poor mans gunnera, candleabra primulas, astillbe etc

  • gardeningfanticgardeningfantic Posts: 1,019

    i have some in the shade and they are very happy and some in tubs in full sun all day..they are the same breed and are also very happy..thou water everyday...

    the ones in the sun have more flowers than those in the shade.. and their leaf colour is not so bright.. so you can get the best out of them in both positions.

    in th shade they are next to astibillies, ferns, helebores, woodruff, cowslips, primrose and jacob ladder and pulmonaires..

  • debanslowdebanslow Posts: 19

    my five hostas are all under the shade of great big conifers, and doing fantastically well, they are in fact the only thing in my garden I can actually feel smug about!!!image

  • Many thanks for all your replies - very interesting points made and advice given - will dish out more mulch, food etc.and talk to them!  In response to a comment about what people grow with hostas - mine are under Japanese Acers, a camellia and Wiegela.  Similar to Dovefromabove I also have pulmonarias, Solomans Seal, ferns plus ajugas, saxifraga fortunei wikth huge white plume and Red Ruby with red foliage and deep pink flowers. Also an evegreen (shade required) Sisyrinchium with lovely violet flowers.  Also got five epimediums - almost forgot 5 Heucharas flowering well.  The bed that they are all in is very small, dappled to deep shade and with very sandy soil!!  PS The Hosta leaves are really beautifiul!image

  • I have several but last year I put one in a hanging basket - following something I heard on GW or GQT about how in eastern countries they're often grown like that, and it keeps the slugs off them. I'm fairly rubbish at hanging baskets. It's too much like planting out bedding plants every year, so this seemed a good solution. It's grown really well. I used one of those baskets with a reservoir in. Thinking of getting another

  • Hostas improve when they have had the chance to mature and make plenty of root. Mine, in the shade of a wall and under shrubs and among cranesbills, are flowering their heads off because they have been there a few years and are well-established. I am just wondering whether this is too good to last and they will peak and then start going downhill. The idea of using hanging baskets is interesting, Quercus Ruber. P.S.Why have you named yourself after the red oak? Just curious.

  • lucy33lucy33 Posts: 14
    Hi. I planted 3 hosts last year in complete shade. They didn't do very well last year but this year they are massive and are now about to flower. So don't give up hope. I think they maybe need a bit of maturity. Mine are growing under hedges and don't see any sun. Hope this helps
  • Hi Gardening Grandma, it's the English Oak - well nearly, I made a typo as it should be robur image

  • keeleykinskeeleykins Posts: 14

    Hi all, I have lots of different Hostas and I love them all, but I do think they benfit

    from being divided every few years.

  • Are the hostas perhaps too dry? The shrubs will take a considerable amount of water! When I gardened on london clay the hostas stayed in big pots - far too many slugs! Here they grow with hardy fuchias and epimediums, though the fuchsias are somewhat reduced this year by awful weather

  • The Hostas really are benefitting from this wet weather. The flower spikes and buds seem much larger than I've ever seen them. Apart from one they're all grown in pots, and here's an observation.Over the past few years I've used coffee grindings around the base to keep off the slugs. It worked very well even on the one in the ground, which is called War Paint and unfortunately is particularly loved by slugs. This year I thought I'd try the Garlic wash, mainly because I couldn't drink enough coffee to get the grindings! It was working extremely well in the Spring when the Hostas were emerging, and still seems to be working on the ones in pots. However, poor old War Paint has turned into a doily. So should I put this down to the Garlic wash not being as effective, the increase in slugs, or the rain washing away the Garlic wash? Attached is a photo of War Paint as it was in May



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