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17+ Hostas You Can Plant in the Sun

Not all hostas are made for the shade. Learn how to grow sun-tolerant hostas successfully, and find out which varieties do best with some sun.

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Some Made-for-the-Sun Hostas

Did you know you can buy hostas that will grow well in the sun? Despite being called full-sun hostas, though, these plants aren’t like coneflower or daisies that can take eight hours of intense sun. Rather, hostas that withstand sun are referred to as sun-tolerant hostas. That means they can take some sun — definitely a little more than most of their shade-loving hosta cousins — but still need protection from the hot afternoon sun.

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Photo: Walters Gardens Inc

Tips for Keeping Your Hostas Thriving in Sun

Kelly Funk, president of plant company Jackson & Perkins has a variety of tips for people who want to try full-sun hostas in their garden. The first tip: don't expose them to too much sun, as in more than six hours. "It's crucial to ensure hostas planted in full sun receive adequate moisture, especially during hot, dry periods," says Funk. She also recommends planting them "under or on the north side of taller plants or under structures with dappled shade to shield them from excessive heat." Adding organic matter to the soil, using fertilizer and a layer of mulch are all critical too, says Funk, in keeping your hostas healthy. "To help full-sun hostas thrive, maintain consistently moist soil by watering deeply when the top inch of soil feels dry."

Shown here: Hosta 'Patriot.' This sun-tolerant and large (23 inches tall by 50 inches wide) hosta features creamy yellow to bright white margins against dark green leaves.

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Photo: Julie Martens Forney

What to Avoid: A Hosta With a Sunburn

Pale, papery spots on hosta leaves that ultimately turn brown and crispy aren’t a true disease, but simply a sunburn. The problem with sunburned hosta leaves is that they weaken the plant as it loses leaves, and diseases can easily take hold. A hosta doesn’t need to be in full sun for sunburn to develop. Even hostas in part shade can suffer if clouds take a vacation. When that happens, water more, which can help plants cope with sun exposure. If your hosta bed is in a part-shade location, fill it with sun-tolerant varieties, like Hosta plantaginea (which boasts fragrant flowers), ‘Sun Power,’ ‘Sundance,’ ‘Honeybells’ or ‘Sun Glow.’

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Photo: Shutterstock/Svetlana Klaise

Growing Tips for Sun-Tolerant Hostas

The thing to know about sun-tolerant hostas is that while they withstand more sun than traditional shade-loving hostas, they do need protection from sun during the hottest part of the day. In Zone 6 and north, hostas can tolerate more sun than in warmer zones. In the hottest zones, even sun-tolerant hostas will have a tough time withstanding more than a few hours of sun.

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