Creating a beautiful, low-maintenance garden in the shade is easy with hostas. Their leaves come in lots of various shapes, colors, sizes, and textures. Nurseries and garden centers can help you find just the right combination for your landscape.

Produced by the Department of Communications at Kansas State University. For more information, visit our website at:

Hostas for Low-Maintenance Gardening

Many of us have a situation in our landscape where we end up with shade. Whether we move into an established landscape or one that we started from scratch; as the trees grow we end up getting some shade issues. There are several options for planting in the shade that can be very colorful.

One of our best plants for the landscape in the shade are hostas. They grow in the shade of trees or in the shade of buildings, it doesn’t matter. That root competition won’t affect the hosta. We have many hostas to choose from now with different colors and textures to them.

This one has dark green edges to it with a white center. And the opposite to that is one with a green center and white margins on it. So if green and white is your color theme, then that’s an option.

Many of them have this blue or grayish color to the leaf texture, so that can be utilized in the landscape as well. We have many of them that have this lime green appearance to their leaf. As you can tell, this particular variety also has a darker shade on the margins of the leaf.

Many also come with the yellow to their margins. This variety has a dark green center as it lightens towards the margins. And then we have this larger leaf structure with a very brilliant yellow that is coming from the leaf.

The largest hosta that we can grow is one that we call Sum and Substance. It has huge leaves, and as the plant grows and matures it can get up to three feet wide and three feet tall. So that makes a dramatic impact on the landscape.

As you can see, some of these hostas already come with contrast in their leaves. So you can go that route. If you have a larger landscape you may want to plant many of several different textures and colors to give a different impact.

This feature story prepared with Gregg Eyestone, Kansas State University Research and Extension Horticulture Agent, Riley County. For more information, visit your local county extension office or visit our website at

Horticulture Newsletter

KSU Horticulture Newsletter

Get more information from our weekly newsletter.

Find Your Local Office

Have questions or need help?

Local Extension Office Map

Click the map to find your Local Extension Office.

YouTube Videos

YouTube Videos

Watch K-State Research and Extension Videos.

Kansas Healthy Yards Tagline