Gardening Help FAQs

Here are answers to some of the most common questions we receive about garden plants. You will find concise information on general gardening techniques as well as plant selection and care. For detailed information on specific plant pests and problems refer to our Common Garden Pests and Problems page.

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Horticulture Questions and Answers

Which hostas are tolerant of direct sun?

Most hostas will tolerate and even thrive on a site that has morning sun but is protected from hot afternoon sun. The natural habitat of hostas, all originally from Eastern Asia, is at the edge of woods and forests, not in dense shade. They grow well in their native lands in openings in the forest canopy, along sunny banks and water falls in river valleys and in open moist grasslands where they get plenty of sun early in the spring but are shaded by taller growth later in the season.

The two most important factors in growing healthy hostas are an organic, well-draining soil and a constant supply of soil moisture. Given these two conditions, most hostas will grow in places that get lots of morning sun and are sheltered during the afternoon and evening. If you plan to grow hostas in a less than ideal site, you may have to experiment a bit to discover which ones will grow well under those specific conditions.

The blue-green hostas are less tolerant of direct sun and will be more vigorous and of good color in cool shady spots. Hostas with yellow, green and chartreuse foliage are most tolerant of sunlight and open exposed sites as long as their roots have an ample supply of moisture. Even they will bleach and burn during periods of extreme heat, especially in combination with bright sun and wind. Hostas with thick, substantial leaves also are more tolerant of sunny sites than those with thin, papery foliage.

'Royal Standard' is a green hosta cultivar that has proven very sun tolerant in the St. Louis area. To further recommend it, the flowers are fragrant, white and grow on large, tall stalks. The small dark-green cultivar 'Fall Bouquet' and the variegated white-bordered, chartreuse 'Citation' also promise to be sun tolerant.

Other hosta cultivars of different sizes and colors that are more sun tolerant than most include: 'Fringe Benefit', 'Gold Edger', 'Grand Master', 'Green Fountain', 'Green Wedge', 'Invincible', 'On Stage', 'Shade Fanfare', 'Shining Tot', 'Spritzer', 'Sum and Substance', and 'Vanilla Cream'.

Remember that these sun-tolerant hosta cultivars require constant soil moisture and highly organic, well-draining soil if they are to thrive.