More than 2,500 hardy perennial hosta cultivars provide gardeners wonderful foilage choices. Sun tolerant hosta varieties exhibit at least one of three traits. Thick leaf hostas take more sun than thin leaf hybrids, fragrant bloomers need more sun to develop flowers, and yellow leaf or variegated choices do better in additional light.
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Thick leaf hostas
In addition to having thick leaves almost a foot long and one-half-foot wide, the name Sun Power is a good tip this hosta is sun tolerant. Combining large yellow leaves with fragrant lavender flowers, it has every sun tolerant attribute. In hosta descriptions, look for the word rugose, which means leaves are thick and stiff. Other sun tolerant hostas of this type include Aphrodite and Honeybells.
For scented hostas, H. plantaginea is the most southern-growing hosta in its native China and tolerates heat and sun. It puts out six-inch-long white flowers, which are huge compared with most hosta blooms. Other fragrant sun tolerant hostas include Royal Standard, Sugar and Cream, Fragrant Bouquet and Invincible. The Invincible variety is a cross between H. plantaginea and a thick leaf Japanese hosta, increasing its sun tolerance even more than its parents.
As pointed out by the American Hosta Society in its website article "Growing Hostas," the greener the leaf, the less sun is necessary for healthy hosta growth. The more yellow and lighter green the leaf, the more sun a hosta needs to do well. Variegated or yellow leaf hostas need less chlorophyll and do better with additional light, while blue and white leaf types do best in shade. Francee, So Sweet, Allan P. McConnell, Guacamole and H. undulata Albo-marginata are good variegated choices.
Sun tolerant limits
A sun tolerant hosta does not mean a hosta is sun proof. When possible, avoid full afternoon sun. Hostas receiving too much sun will exhibit leaves with wilting or browning, starting at the leaf tips or edges and moving inward. For hostas planted in full sun, leaves could show faded spots and a duller color than sun tolerant plants that receive some shade protection. Deep soaking rather than superficial watering helps almost all hostas, whether shade loving or heat tolerant, as does a layer of mulch to slow water evaporation. With proper selection, hostas are rather low maintenance plants that thrive in rich soils with a pH between 6.5 and 7.5. Slugs and snails are hostas' most common pests.