Hostas That Are Tolerant To The Sun

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Hostas That Are Tolerant To The Sun

Hostas are well-known and loved plants that often decorate our yards, framing our homes, walkways, and flowerbeds. Those who care for hosta plants know that they prefer shaded areas and do not tolerate too much heat or sunlight. However, there are several varieties that can handle more time in the sun, especially those that flower, which sometimes require extra natural light.

Hostas with darker coloring of blue and deeper greens need more shade compared to those with brighter hues of light greens and yellow. However, not all hostas with paler foliage can survive in the sun, as there are certainly lighter varieties that cannot withstand less-than-ideal shade.

Nevertheless, there are several hostas in various colors and sizes that can thrive despite the stronger sunlight that touches their leaves and fills all the nooks and crannies of your garden.

1. Dwarf Hostas

dwarf hosta

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Dwarf hostas are miniature plantain lilies that typically grow less than 12 inches tall. Their compact size makes them perfect for container gardens and homes with limited space. Not only are they perfect for the nooks and crannies of our lawns, but this hosta will survive in sunlight. Dwarf hostas need well-draining, moist conditions; with extra sunlight, they will need more frequent watering. So, be cautious not to over or underwater them throughout the sunny days. Marrakech, Silver Threads and Golden Needles, Coconut Custard, and Blueberry Tart are all dwarf varieties that will do well with extra light.

2. Yellow Variegated Hostas

Yellow variegated hosta

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Yellow and green variegated hostas follow the rule of thumb that hostas with lighter foliage can grow more happily when given plenty of access to direct sunlight. The Gold Standard, Innniswood, Regal Splendor, Remember Me, and Sundance will all hold that brighter yellow coloring and fit right into the sunny areas of your garden. The more sunlight these variegated plants get, the more their lighter colors will spread across the textured leaves.

3. Hosta Fortunei

Hosta Fortunei Aueromarginata

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Hosta Fortunei is a hosta plant group primarily planted in the shade, just like many other hosta varieties. However, the ribbed texture on the leaves of some Fortunei hostas provides thicker foliage that makes them more resistant to sunlight. Fortunei Hyacnthina and Aueromarginata are two well-known Fortunei types, with the latter being more popular and common in the garden. The Aueromarginata not only has heavily crimped leaves, but its foliage also showcases a gold outline, earning it the nickname of the Gold-edge Plantain Lily.

4. Fragrant Hostas

flowering hosta

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Most hostas are known and grown for their large and intricate leaves, boasting stunning foliage in different colors and designs. But did you know that some hostas also flower? Fragrant Hostas refers to the varieties of plantain lilies that produce flowers that have sweet-smelling aromas, often said to smell similar to honeysuckle. Some varieties of Fragrant Hostas that will need more sunlight to bloom are Aphrodite, Ming Treasure, Venus, Honeybells, and Sugar and Cream.

5. Blue Hostas

blue hosta

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Blue hostas are beloved in the genus for their stunning blue-tinted leaves. They are primarily planted in shaded locations, but not because they won’t survive with more sunlight. Hosta plants that grow sufficiently with more access to light include the Blue Mammoth, Blue Angel, and Blue Umbrella; you will just be forfeiting some of their lovely color. These hostas are not actually blue and instead have a wax-like coating on their leaves that gives them a glaucous tint. When exposed to more sunlight, this coating deteriorates, and the hosta takes on a greener shade but lives happily nonetheless.

6. White Variegated Hostas

White Variegated patriot Hosta

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White variegated hostas are among the lighter-colored varieties that can handle more sunlight, although a cooler morning sun with shade in the later parts of the day is ideal for their pretty leaves. Those in the white variegated category that will tolerate more sun than the average hosta includes Francee, Minuteman, and Patriot. As is common with variegated plants, the more sun it receives, the more variegation you can expect to see.

7. Yellow Hostas

yellow hosta

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Yellow hostas don’t just sport foliage with dapples of yellow, but rather, the entirety of their leaves are bright and sometimes even neon-looking. The plants’ vibrant coloring makes these varieties tolerant to extra sun exposure. From heart-shaped and round leaves to wavy and slim, you can plant a number of different yellow hostas outside of shadier garden areas, such as August Moon, Rising Sun, Squash Casserole, Aspen Gold, Piedmont Gold, and Sun Power.

8. Red-stem Hostas

hosta in planters

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Not all hostas are classified by their leaves; some are sought after for the shade of their stems. Red-stemmed hostas are prized for their pink to burgundy petioles, contrasting beautifully against the green-toned foilage. Some red-stemmed hosta varieties that can withstand more sunlight include Island Breeze and Miss Ruby. To get the most out of these unique hostas, consider planting them in raised flowerbeds and taller pots to highlight their stalks in the sun.

9. Green Hostas

green hosta

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While hostas that take on a blueish-green hue do better when kept in shaded areas, those with a true light-green color are much more sun-tolerant. Two popular green hostas that can receive more sunlight throughout the day are the Sum and Substance and the Guacamole hostas. The Sum and Substance variety holds a very lime-like coloration boarding on a goldish yellow, yet it is still in the green family. Guacamole hostas produce soft purple florals and feature a darker border with a brighter center, which only continues to lighten with the more sun it’s exposed to.

10. White Hostas

fire and ice hosta

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While no hostas are considered true white, some types take on the majority of white coloration in the middle, with green variegation coasting along the outside of the leaves. White Christmas and Fire and Ice are examples of predominately white hostas that tolerate more sunlight due to their lighter shades. However, don’t presume that because a hosta has lighter foliage, it will be sun tolerant. The White Feather hosta is a milky color that turns into a creamy green upon maturity, yet it does not withstand direct sunlight well.

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Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.