Cover image for Hostas
Barrett, Rosemary.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Toronto : Firefly Books, [2004]

Physical Description:
144 pages : color illustrations ; 27 cm
General Note:
Includes indexes.
Subject Term:
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
SB413.H73 B37 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Hostas is the definitive guide to the popular hardy perennial that gardeners have come to rely upon and enjoy. Favored for their beauty and longevity, these shade-loving, low-maintenance plants bear foliage in all manner of shape, size and texture and in colors ranging from steel blue, tonal greens and yellows to multi-colored. Their long-blooming, aromatic flowers come in variations of white, pale lavender and blue-purple.

The growing season for hostas stretches from early spring to late fall, and they flourish in Zone 3 -- most of the continental United States as well as populated areas of Canada and Alaska.

Rosemary Barrett provides expert advice on these outstanding plants. Following a brief section on the history of hostas, she covers the various cultivars in fine detail, with topics that include:

Cultivation Enhancing a garden Propagation Container-growing Landscaping Plant and tree companions Borders and beds A catalog of hostas Garden settings.

Featuring lush color photographs throughout, Hostas is ideal for gardeners at all levels of expertise.

Author Notes

Rosemary Barrett is the author of three other gardening books and is co-owner of a nursery.

Derek Hughes specializes in gardening and horticultural photography. His work frequently appears in books and magazines.

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

Sharing her experiences based on years of gardening with hostas, Barrett, along with coauthor Hughes, guides readers through the limitless variety and versatility of each plant, highlighting more than one hundred species and varieties, and offering landscape ideas, companion plantings, and specific cultivar information for both. --Carol Haggas Copyright 2004 Booklist



Introduction Hostas are plants grown for their wonderful foliage of infinite variation. Depending on the species or cultivar, the hosta can have blue, green, yellow or variegated leaves in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and textures. The plants may be grown separately or mixed with other plants that like the same conditions. Hostas appear in early spring and disappear in late fall, and are hardy to zone 3. The hosta also has the grace to produce a very acceptable flower in colors ranging from white to pale lavenders and blue-purples. To my mind the hosta is, without a doubt, a perfect perennial. Anyone who wishes to grow it can; no matter how small the garden there is always a place (partly shaded and damp) for at least one or two plants. They also look wonderful grown in containers (and there is always room for one or two of these). My knowledge comes from years of growing these lovely plants. In this book I would like to share my experience of how, why and where to grow hostas and discuss which hostas, out of the infinite choices available, I have found to be best for the garden. For ease of use, I have listed all the species and varieties mentioned in the book in chapter 9, including details of leaf color and plant size. There has been a great upsurge in the use of hostas in gardens in the last few years, no doubt because they are not only beautiful, and beautifully diverse, but because they are very easy to grow. For the modern gardener who does not have a great deal of time, or perhaps does not wish to spend it in the garden, the hosta is an answer to a prayer. As we shall see in chapters 2 and 3, their cultivation is easy -- and the rewards are great. While understanding the constraints of budget, it seems a great pity to perhaps own half a dozen of the more common varieties and just keep splitting them up and spreading them around the garden. I feel continuity can be taken too far, and that gardeners are limiting themselves by ignoring the beautiful and different hostas that are available. I hope this book will provide you with information on not only what is available but the many ways in which these lovely plants can be used and enjoyed. Excerpted from Hostas by Rosemary Barrett All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Discovery and Development
European Introduction
Hosta Species
Focus on Foliage
Development in North America
Hosta Flowers
Shade requirements
Soil and mulch
Three Difficult Beauties
Raising from seed
Vegetative propagation
The "roundabout" method of propagation
Landscaping with Hostas:Color Selection for Borders and Beds
For mixed beds
Seasonal changes
Blue selection
Green selection
Gold selection
Variegated selection
For a white garden
For a "hot" border
For a hosta walk
Landscaping with Hostas:Some Typical Garden Settings
A large woodland-style garden
A small shade garden
Formal gardens
A small city or retirement garden
Courtyard gardens
Landscaping with Hostas:Enhancing a Garden's Special Features
Integrating strong focal points
Hostas for water features
Growing Hostas in Containers
Why grow plants in containers?
Choosing suitable containers
Planting up your containers
Container gardening in cold climates
Positioning your pots
Container creativity
Good Companions
Trees for hostas
Shrubs for hostas
Companion shade plants for hostas
Catalog of Hostas
descriptions of 170 species and cultivars
Useful Addresses