Hostas for Zone 4 Northern Gardens


Hostas can be a versatile plant in your garden because of the variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and textures. Learn how I got started growing these shade loving perennials and which ones are suitable for zone 4 gardens.


My love for these perennial plants started a long time ago before I knew anything about growing anything, and these plants were definitely not in vogue. Read more about how I got started growing hostas.

Here are a few other related pages on growing hostas that you may find useful.

Sun Tolerant Hostas

Fall Hosta Varieties

Hostas as a Perennial Bed Border

Design Ideas for Hosta Gardens

Hosta Journal Gardening Magazine


Favorite Varieties of Hostas

I currently have about 150 varieties of these beautiful shade perennials in the flowerbeds that surround our home and gazebo. So far, I have written pages on only some of them.

Some of my all time favorites are Montana Aureomarginata, Touch of Class, Halcyon, June, Lady Isobel Barnett, Sum and Substance, Majesty, Elegans, Guardian Angel, Krossa Regal, Bressingham Blue, Yellow River, Geisha, Grand Tiera, On Stage, Regal Splendor, Sparkling Burgundy, King Tut, Tokudama Flavocircinalis, Aphrodite, Sagae, and basically all of them! Blue Mouse Ears is exceptional too. It is very hard to pick just a few.

Below are some of the hostas I have written about in more detail. Click on each of the photos or links to read more about each specific hosta variety along with larger photos. Also, keep scrolling down to the bottom of the page where I list some of my other favorites, including Miniatures.

Sum and SubstanceSum and Substance

Lady Isobel BarnettLady Isobel Barnett

big-daddyBig Daddy


flemish-skyFlemish Sky


Jack of DiamondsJack of Diamonds

summer-breezeSummer Breeze



komodo-dragonKomodo Dragon

guardian-angelGuardian Angel


lakeside-looking-glassLakeside Looking Glass

Dwarfs and Miniatures

Little Hosta varieties are Blue Mouse Ears, Pandora’s Box, Baby Bunting, Cheatin’ Hearts, Dragon Tails, Remember Me, Cherish, Dew Drop and many, more in this category also.I have had Dew Drop for many years and this seems to be an overlooked variety with all the new ones coming out.

I like these because they have long lasting power for most of them. They come back year after year bigger and better than ever.

New for this Year

My collection keeps growing each year of course. This spring I have added First Frost, the 2010 Hosta of the year. Also a miniature, Mighty Mouse. (It is early yet, only Mid-May and I have tried to be good about buying more. But, as the season progresses along I will find many others to add I am sure.)

Plants for Sun

These are better choices for sunnier spots in your garden but, not full sun. Paradigm, Halcyon, Honey Bells, King Tut, Golden Sceptor, Gold Regal, August Moon ,and Sum and Substance.

On My List to Purchase

New Hostas that are on my list to purchase are Stitch In Time, Empress Wu, a very large Hosta, Silver Threads & Golden Needles, a dwarf Hosta, Emerald Ruf Cut.

Unusual Varieties

Unusual varieties are Bridegroom, Lakeside Looking Glass, and Praying Hands, a small upright.


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Glenna Boutilier May 8, 2017 at 8:09 pm

Hi – would you be able to give me a few species of Hosta which would thrive in total shade and dry ground conditions found in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
I appreciate any suggestions you have.
Thanks and bye for now.


Judi May 9, 2017 at 11:42 am

Hi Glenna,
I will try to help you! This is quite an undertaking with the conditions you describe. First I would buy some bagged compost or dried manure (or use your own if you have a compost bin).
Then for every hole you dig, mix the soil half and half with the compost. Dig the hole twice as wide as you need it and deeper too. If these are small plants, say in an 8″ or smaller pot, then that should suffice. If they are large mature plants you got from a neighbor, then you need to really dig a large hole for them to thrive.
Wider more than deeper. And, if you can do this and water the soil in for a week or two before you plant would be a good idea too.
You will probably be having to water these quite often too. I am assuming with total shade there are a lot of tree roots to contend with.
Now, varieties……some of the older varieties do quite well, but I would recommend Halcyon as a very nice heavy leaf “bluish” Hosta. (I have had them in clay and almost full sun and they did well. They don’t hold the color in sun but didn’t burn much at all.) So, it would be one to try in deep shade too. Possibly one of the old, old green ones, Honeybells might be a good try. That is maybe a 2′ tall with large green leaves and you find it a lot by older farm houses in this area around trees. They can get to be a very large clump. Both of these are very reasonable to purchase and worth the experiment. Another large real sturdy one, a newer variety is Komodo Dragon. That too, 2′ tall or more and a good grower. Stately and vase shaped. (I wouldn’t try anything too costly for the first couple of years just to see how they do.) These are just a few of the possibilities off the top of my head. Let me know how it goes for you! Happy Gardening! Judi


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