Of course, hostas are known primarily as "foliage" plants in the landscape so the leaves are, perhaps, the most important part of the plant. Leaf color is the primary selection criteria for most home gardener but there are other traits that add to the design fulfillment by hostas. This includes characteristics such as leaf shape, color, seasonal color changes, variegation, texture, appearance and veins.

The base color of the leaves will cover 60% or more of the leaf surface.

Hostas have leaf variegation on the margin and center of the leaf. They also have streaked variegation scattered throughout the leaf tissue.

Certain hostas emerge from the ground in one color but, as the season progresses, change to a slightly different hue.

The base of the leaf where it joins the petiole can be one of several different shapes.

The leaf stalk or petiole, may have different physical traits and may be of a different color from the leaf blade.

In recent years, there has been a trend toward more hostas that display reddish to purplish color in the petioles and into the leaf blade.

From nearly round to long and narrow, the shape of the leaf blade of hostas can vary significantly. They can be a significant identifying trait for different hosta cultivars and species.

Although a few hostas have what could be described as flat leaves, most of them have some undulations that give the leaf a certain character. These traits add to the texture, uniqueness or identification of individual cultivars.

The top surface of the leaf blade may vary in texture and display a number of different traits.


Some hosta leaves come to a point while others are more rounded.

As a monocotyledon, hostas have parallel veins in their leaf blades. The number and depth of the veins may be identifying traits.

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