Hosta is a herbaceous perennial, which means it will die back in autumn to bare earth with new growth emerging in spring, quite late around May time. Although the earth looks bare over winter with nothing to be seen, Hosta returns reliably each year.
Hostas are grown for their impressive foliage, which is very varied both in size and colour. There are Hostas with bright green leaves, striped leaves, grey and blue leaves, gold and green and all different shades of green. Hosta vary in size, some are only a few centimetres ranging up to giant Hostas, which can grow up to a metre across and which make a dramatic statement in a border.
In terms of leaf colour, most Hostas grow best planted in semi shade. The general rule is that gold and yellow-leaved Hostas will tolerate more sunny conditions; those with green, blue and white leaves are better in shady areas. Hostas mix well in borders, but also make a bold statement when planted on their own, especially in a large container. When planting a Hosta, remember its eventual size and leaf shape because some Hostas grow very large and can congest a border. Too close and the Hosta will over shadow anything nearby, although if it's also a shade loving plant, the combination may work. I have found the common spotted orchid quietly growing in the shade under the leaves of a large Hosta.
The best varieties for shade are those with green and yellow variegation on their leaves, such as Hosta fortunei var.aureomarginata (AGM)