Identifying Hosta Varieties Suitable for Sunlight Exposure

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Growing in Full Sun
The Best Plants for Full Sun
Growing in Partial Shadow
The Best Plants for Partial Shade
White Hostas
Monitoring Growth
FAQs
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Did you know that there are hostas suited for full sunlight? Hostas are often referred to as “shade-tolerant”, meaning that they can grow in partial or full shade. However, some cultivars will tolerate partial sun. Some hostas benefit from sun exposure in order to maintain vibrant, colorful foliage.

A hosta’s colorful foliage can also fade if it receives too much sun. Many hostas will grow more vigorously and show their best colors with some sun exposure.

Twelve Colorful Hostas for Your Garden
Hostas Grow Best in Full Sun
Hostas with fragrant flowers or yellow/gold leaves tolerate more sun than those with green, white, or blue leaves.

It is important to note that there are always exceptions. You may even have a hosta which thrives in full sunlight. If the leaves of newly planted hostas begin to brown at the edges, move them into shade.

The vibrant yellow color of yellow hostas will not fade if they are placed in a partially sunny area. These yellow or gold beauties will look their best with about two hours of sun exposure daily. Avoid burning leaves by aiming for morning sun.

Hosta plantaginea is a fragrant species of hosta that also needs sun exposure to produce flowers. Hosta plantaginea, one of the sun-tolerant species of hostas, can thrive with as little as four to six hours in direct sunlight.

When growing hostas you should be aware that full sun can vary from one area to another and at different times during the day. Sun exposure can vary greatly between southern and northern climates. Full sun is less intense in the morning than at noon. Although yellow and fragrant hostas require some sun exposure they don’t like to fry or bake in the sun. If your sunny site gets extremely hot and dry, add drip irrigation so that your hostas are well watered.

The Best Hostas for Full Sun
The American Hosta Society, along with home gardeners, recommends several cultivars and varieties that can tolerate sun exposure.2 However, these suggestions are subject to change depending on where you live, how much sun exposure your plants receive, and other factors.


Yellow variegated Hosta: ‘Gold Standard,’ ‘Inniswood,’ ‘Regal Splendor,’ ‘Sundance.
Fragrant Hosta: Hosta plantaginea, including a variety of ‘Aphrodite,’ a sprinkling of aphrodite, a sprinkling of aphrodite, and a sprinkling aphrodite; a sprinkling aphrodite, a sprinkling aphrodite, a sprinkling aphrodite, a sprang bouquet, a sp
White variegated Hosta: ‘Albomarginata,’ ‘Francee,’ ‘Minuteman,”Patriot
Green hosta: ‘Invincible’, ‘Pearl Lake’
Dwarf hostas: ‘Marrakech,’ Coconut Custard’
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Hostas Illustration
Illustration: The Spruce by Kaley McKean
Growing Hostas in Partial Sun
Hostas are known for their tolerance to shade, but they do best when exposed to morning sun and afternoon shade. Burned leaves will appear from the outer edges inwards if you expose your hosta to too much sun. The leaves will appear brown, papery, and dry. The colors will also fade if they are exposed to too much sunlight.

Blue hostas need the most protection against the sun. Blue-colored hosta leaves aren’t really blue. The plant’s blue color is actually due to a waxy layer on the leaves. This waxy coating will melt in the full sun and reveal the green leaf beneath, changing your plant’s color from blue to green. The waxy coating can also fade with rain over the growing season.

The Best Hosta for Partial Shade
No blue hostas can be grown in areas with full sun. You can grow this type of blue hostas in sunny but not full-sun locations.

Blue Hosta: ‘Blue Angel’, ‘Elegans’, ‘Halcyon’, ‘Krossa Regal’
Blue Hosta
Richard Felber / Getty Images
White Hostas
Hostas can be found in a variety of white leafed varieties or variegated forms. It is only through trial and error that you can determine which white hostas will tolerate full sun. The more thickly the leaves are, the better the hosta can tolerate the sun. White variegated hosts with thin leaves like “White Christmas” should be placed in partial shade for the best appearance.

The leaves of white variegated hosts are white due to the low levels of chlorophyll. The plant’s chlorophyll can increase if it is in full sunlight. This will cause the leaves to take on a green tint and appear less variegated. Expose white variegated hosts only to morning sunlight for best results. The thinner the leaves are, the less sunlight you should give them.

White Hosta Plant
Stine Berg/Getty Images
Look for signs from your Hosta
You can only tell how your plant will handle the sun by observing its performance. You can tell if your hosta gets too much sunlight by two distinct signs:

Browning can be seen on the edges or tips of the leaves.
The color of your plant’s leaves may fade or become dull.
Do not hesitate to move your hosta if it is not performing as well as you’d like. Hostas can be replanted and dug up.

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The FAQ
What hosta is most sun-tolerant?
Hostas that tolerate sun include ‘August Moon,’ Sun Power’, Sun Fragrance’, and ‘Gold Standard’.

What is the best place to plant hostas in your garden?
Hostas, whether they prefer shade or sun, do better when they are placed in a place where they will receive full sunlight early in the morning when the sun is less intense than later on when it is very hot. When there is full sunlight, make sure you have drip irrigation. Hostas thrive in rich, fertile soil. Transfer hostas in full sunlight to an area with shade for most of the afternoon.

How much heat will hostas tolerate
Hostas are tolerant of heat up to 95oF, but will stop growing at temperatures above 100oF. Hostas are more tolerant of heat in Zone 6 and further north where temperatures are less intense.

What is the hardest hosta?
The ‘Frances Williams Hosta’ is a hardy, large hosta variety that does not fall prey to slugs nearly as much as other varieties. The ‘Tiara” varieties are also easy to grow and hardy.


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