Hostas are an ideal shade-tolerant ground cover since they are easy-to-grow, low maintenance plants. When planted in mass as a ground cover, they provide an attractive and lush covering, particularly under trees where shade and roots make grass difficult to grow.
As a ground cover, hostas are best where the soil remains slightly moist. Excessively dry soil may cause the foliage to burn around the margins or partially die back. An irrigation system or additional watering during periods of drought may be necessary for optimal growth.
There are some hosta varieties which can tolerate long hours of direct sunlight. In full sun, however, the leaf color of many cultivars turns pale by mid-summer, and leaf dieback may be somewhat severe, especially during dry periods.
While large hostas make wonderful specimen plants, smaller varieties are more suited for ground covers. Often, a single variety that is known to be a fast grower is mass planted close together, quickly forming a thick mat of foliage to cover the ground and prevent weed growth. Because hostas spread, but not to the point of becoming invasive, it's relatively easy to cover a large area of the landscape in a short period of time.
In addition, hostas can be used as edging plants to soften the line between the garden and lawn, or along a sidewalk or paved area. Another common application is to form a tree ring. Usually a single variety is used to accomplish this and the result is very effective.
The following list of ground cover hostas includes those which are small to medium in size and which are known to be fast, dependable, and compact growers, capable of readily producing a carpet of thick foliage.
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