How to Grow Hosta Plants in your Garden

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Plantain Lily, Funkia, Day Lily, and Giboshi

Hosta is a genus of hardy perennials that like to grow in shady areas of the garden. Plants reach heights ranging from 8 to 90 cm (3 to 36 inches).

They have beautiful leaves ranging in color through blue to green; these are often varigated or striped with creams and purples. Hosta have bell-like flowers often of pink, white, and bluey purple.

Plantain lily
Plantain lily cv. Veronica Lake leaves

Hosta flower in the summer months and common names include the Plantain lily, Day Lily, and Funkia.

Hosta flowers

Commonly Grown Hosta Species

Hosta plantaginea

Hosta plantaginea
Hosta plantaginea (Fragrant plantain lily / August lily), photograph by Leonora (Ellie) Enking; CC.

Hosta undulata

Hosta undulata title=
Hosta undulata (NB. now deemed a cultivar, previously listed as a species), picture by Babij; CC.

How to Grow Hosta

Hosta Growing Guide and Facts

Common Names: Hosta, Day Lily, Corfu Lily, Funkia, Plantain Lily, Giboshi.
Life Cycle: Hardy perennial.
Family: Asparagaceae.
Height: 3 to 48 inches (8 to 120 cm).
Native: Northeastern Asia.

Growing Region: Zones 3 to 9.
Flowers: Summer.
Flower Details: White, violet, lavender. Terminal raceme.
Foliage: Herbaceous. Waxy. Blue, green, gold; variegated. Lanceolate. Oval.

Sow Outside: Roots: 3 to 5 inches (8 to 12 cm).Cover seed (best grown from root divisions). Spring and summer. Spacing: small 12 inches (30 cm); large 20 to 48 inches (50 to 120 cm).
Sow Inside: Germination time: two weeks to three months. Temperature: 50°F (10°C). Seven or eight weeks in advance. Transplant outdoors before the last frost.

Requirements and care: Full to light shade. Soil pH 5.5 to 7.0.  Moist soil for best results, can survive in dry soils if pushed. Regular watering. Twice yearly feed. Protect from slugs. Propagate: by dividing in the spring or the autumn; do not do this too often, perhaps two or three years between divisions.
Miscellaneous: Commonly consumed in Japan where they are known as urui. Very attractive to deer.

How to Grow Plantain lily (Hosta)

Plantain Lily can be grown from either seeds or roots. These can be sown/buried in either spring or summer.

Simply cover the seeds with topsoil, or bury roots at about 10 cm (4 inches).

They like to grow in a shaded area of the garden that has a moist slightly acidic to neutral pH of 5.5 to 7.

You can start Plantain lilies off indoors, but it is fairly hit and miss. They take from two weeks to three months to germinate at 10 degrees centigrade (50°F).

Once growing, transplant out at the beginning of spring with a spacing of 45 cm (18 inches; small Hosta varieties) or 90 to 120 cm (36-48 inches; larger species).

Purple Plantain Lilies
Photograph of Purple Glory Plantain lily flowers

Caring for Plantain Lilies

Once growing Plantain lilies should be watered frequently and fertilized a couple of times a year.

If you require more Hosta plants then this can be done by division in at the beginning of spring or in the autumn. It is important not to do this too frequently

Always grow for at least a further two years in between the dividing of Hosta plants.

Common Questions

How many members does the Hosta genus have?

The Hosta genus, known commonly as hostas or plantain lilies, includes about 70 species. They are often grown for their attractive foliage.

Do members of Hosta make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Absolutely! Hosta are excellent in shady gardens due to their lush foliage and are available in a variety of sizes and colors.

Which Hosta species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

The Hosta sieboldiana 'Elegans', with its blue-grey, heart-shaped leaves, is a favorite among gardeners. Hosta 'Halcyon' and Hosta 'Patriot' are also popular choices.

Are members of the Hosta plant genus fragrant?

Some Hosta species, like Hosta plantaginea known as the August Lily, are indeed fragrant.

What is the perfect location to grow Hosta?

Hosta plants thrive in part to full shade and prefer fertile, well-drained soil.

Is Hosta invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

Currently, Hosta is not considered invasive in the USA.

How do I remove Hosta plants from my garden?

To remove Hosta, carefully dig up the clump of roots and separate individual plants by hand.


The Hosta genus belongs to the Asparagaceae family. It includes perennials, which are renowned for their attractive foliage. Native to northeast Asia, these shade-loving plants are commonly used in landscaping and as ground cover.

Hosta plants thrive in partial to full shade, with well-drained soil rich in organic matter. The plants require regular watering, but can tolerate periods of dryness once established. Propagation is typically done through division in the spring or fall.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Hosta plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ Asparagus family Growing Guides: How to Grow Aspidistra elatior; Agave americana; Plume asparagus; and Veltheimia plants.