Versatile, easy to grow Hostas are available in thousands of varieties. Primarily grown for their interesting foliage, in a range of different sizes, shapes and colours, hostas also produce attractive white and blue summer flowers, many of which are fragrant. They are useful plants, with their resilience in shady spots, and their size range means you can be sure to find the perfect plant for your desired place, be it for a small gap in a rockery, or a specimen plant in a large garden. This diverse plant family covers such a huge span of sizes, you can choose from a miniature variety, at just 4” tall, through to a giant hosta, which can reach an enormous 48”/ 4ft in height and 6ft in width.
The giant hostas are really useful if you're looking for large plants to fill a big garden, and can be used around the bases of trees, to create leafy avenues, or to brighten up a dull corner etc. Their foliage colours, myriad green, white, blue, gold and variegated patterns, lift the shady spaces that they thrive in; all varieties are shade loving and some varieties are also sun tolerant. If you're looking to add some big, beautiful planting to your garden, it's worth considering some of the following giant hosta varieties.
Blue Angel - 32″ high and 70″ wide. Silvery, blue-green leaves and white to pale lavender flowers. The largest of the blue hostas.
Dream Weaver - 30″ high 72” wide. Variegated leaves, wide blue-green border and creamy-white centre. White flowers.
Empress Wu - up to 48”/4 feet high and 72” wide. Dark green leaves, up to 24”/2 foot in length. Pale lavender flowers. The largest of all the hostas, this is a mighty plant and is named after the only ever female Chinese empress.
Gentle Giant - up to 46” high and 70” wide. Upright, blue-green leaves, cupped and corrugated. Lavender flowers. One of the best blue hostas for sun tolerance.
Great Expectations - up to 20” tall and 40” wide. Variegated leaves, blue-green border and yellow centre that fades to white. White flowers.
Paradigm - up to 22” high and 48” wide. Variegated golden leaves with a wide blue-green margin with streaks merging into the centre. Late spring sunshine intensifies the variegation. Lavender flowers.
Sagae - up to 31” tall and 70” wide. Upright variegated leaves, blue with wavy white margins. Lavender flowers. Sun tolerant.
Sum and Substance - 32″ high and 72″ wide. Large green/ golden leaves, with the colour depending on light levels. White flowers.
Victory - 35” high and 70″ wide. Large, variegated, shiny, heart-shaped leaves, green, with wavy cream margins. White flowers.
For giant hostas to reach their full potential, choose their locations wisely. They favour a deep, rich soil, so improve sandy or clay soils before planting. Pay attention to spacing and avoid overcrowding. Giant hostas have greater water requirements than smaller varieties and you need to be aware that if planting near to big trees you will need to water them more often, as the tree roots compete for water and nutrients. Greater exposure to sun also increases water requirements, but in both instances, mulching the surrounding area with garden compost or leaf mould will help with water retention as well as improving soil fertility.
While smaller varieties can be prone to slug and snail damage, the large, thick leaves of the big plants are much more resistant, and the usual precautions for fresh planting and new spring shoots should be sufficient. The plants take approximately five years to reach full size, with foliage dying back each winter and re-growing in the spring. You can divide them in the autumn or the spring, but this isn't necessary on a regular basis, and, if planted with sufficient growing space, they can be left undisturbed for years, thus making a lovely low maintenance, high impact plant.
John and Debbie Wilson - Le Jardin des Espiemonts
published 9 2017