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There are more than 70 species and 2,000 cultivars of hosta. All hosta are herbaceous perennials. Species are native to Japan, Korea and other parts of Asia. A common name for hosta is plantain lily. Bell-shaped flowers are produced on stalks that rise about the foliage. Although flowers are produced, the primary interest is ornamental leaves. Leaves vary widely among cultivars for color, size, texture, and shape. Although considered to be shade-tolerant, sun requirement varies among cultivars. In general, hostas with lighter colored leaves require more sunlight than hosta with dark leaves.

Plants emerging in spring, with folded leaves coming up through mulch. Full plant showing green leaves, no stripes. Full plant with leaves that are dark green with a light green edge. Close-up of a two-toned leaf with vertical stripe in center. Close-up of trumpet-shaped flowers and floral buds. Hosta plant with a line of fruit hanging from a branch.