A "Star" is the leading character in a play who has the primary role of the protagonist. For a plant to serve this role in the landscape, it needs to have traits that make it reach out and say, "Hey, look at me!"

In hostas, this is most commonly achieved with either a large or variegated plant. An upright form or a massive size with color may also fill the bill. This plant will serve as the "centerpiece" of the grouping and those playing the other roles will relate to this star.


Second only to the star, the supporting characters are there to complement the star. They are great looking in themselves but, perhaps, not quite as fetching as the star.

These plants often support the star by being complementary in color or form or texture. They "play off" the star and, in the process, they also display to their best advantage.

An example would be a yellow or yellow variegated plant playing off of an intense blue star in a complementary color combination or vice versa with a yellow star and a blue complementing plant.


One step down the list below the supporting role is the bit player. This is often a smaller plant or, perhaps, one with less "showiness" but still has some attractive features that blend well with or contrast well with the support plants.


An extra, also called a background actor, usually appears in a nonspeaking capacity, often in the background (for example, in an audience or on a busy street scene). Their main role is to fill in the space around the Star, Support and Bit Players and help to focus the viewer's eyes on the main characters.

In a plant arrangement, these may be smaller, single colored plants that fill in the space and may help to more easily identify the Star. They may act as the framing element around the perimeters of the major scene.


Theatrical backdrops are used to prevent you from seeing the mess in the rear of the stage and to help you focus on what is going on out front. In a hosta arrangement, this is usually filled by large specimens of plain colored plants. They act as mass and may also be used as a textural contrast. The help to define the back border of the grouping area.

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