Several varieties of green, gold, blue and variegated hostas do very well in shade to partial shade here in the high desert. Our bright skies offer more light than other locations, so hostas will tolerate more shade here. They do enjoy some morning sun, but their foliage can burn from the typical desert summer afternoon scorch. Properly placed, hostas offer a lush sense of coolness. Their wide leaves help produce that hideaway feeling of a retreat or desert oasis. There are some dwarf varieties you can place in areas where there is little space and the larger varieties work well as border plants, or as weed controlling ground covers. They also do well in containers.
This time of year, it's always exciting to discover your hosta's leaves beginning to emerge from the soil. The foliage is usually more interesting and eye catching than the flowers, although some of the flowers, too, are worthy of attention. In early spring, keep an eye on their emerging stems. If a late frost is predicted, you might want to cover their eyes with mulch.
Spring is a good time to divide and plant your hostas. They need regular watering, especially as they become established, but a moist medium is their preference, although they don't like to sit in soggy soil. Once established, hostas take very little care, except that they need regular water. A good organic fertilizer applied a few times during the growing season will make them happy and keep them healthy. Mulching the ground around their stems and under their leaves will help keep them cool and comfortable during the hottest part of the year. They usually flower in mid-summer. Once the flowers fade, you can cut the stem so the plant can dedicate its energy and nutrients to its leaves rather than to the production of seeds.
Hostas are a great addition to shady areas of the garden. Easy to grow, wonderful to behold, hostas are such a beloved garden plant that there is even an International Hosta Society dedicated to them.