hos·​ta | \ ˈhō-stə How to pronounce hosta (audio) , ˈhä- \

Definition of hosta

: any of a genus (Hosta) of Asian perennial herbaceous plants of the lily family with densely growing basal leaves and tall racemes of white or violet flowers

called also funkia, plantain lily

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There are about 40 species of hostas or plantain lilies, which are hardy perennials in the lily family, native to eastern Asia. They prefer light shade, but will grow under a variety of conditions. They are valued for their conspicuous foliage, which may be light to dark green, yellow, blue, or variegated. The ribbed leaves grow in a cluster at the base, and stalks bearing clusters of tubular white or bluish-purple flowers emerge from the leaves.

Examples of hosta in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The loss of these trees exposes her beloved hostas to too much sun. Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp, Indianapolis Star, "The Hoosier Gardener: The sun is a blessing and a curse in the garden," 1 Aug. 2019 Remove weeds and debris and replace plants known to provide cover, including English ivy, periwinkle, pachysandra and hosta. Jeanne Huber, Washington Post, "How to control rats, those unwelcome visitors to Washington gardens," 1 Dec. 2019 For the past century or more, gardeners have wanted to grow plants that were decidedly exotic and spectacularly different; the list includes non-native versions of roses, azaleas, hostas and lilies, for example. Adrian Higgins, Washington Post, "This unusual garden style could be a sustainable solution for urban landscapes," 5 June 2019 In full shade, please plant: lily-of-the-valley, ferns, wild tawny orange daylilies (but not the colorful hybrids), annual impatien, and, best of all, hosta. Real Estate, "Ask the Gardener: Tips for ridding your lawn of creeping Charlie," 21 Aug. 2019 The work especially shows in the yard, now like a four-acre park with a different outdoor room around each turn, outlined in trees, shrubs and hostas. Judy Rose, Detroit Free Press, "Kresge mansion, one of Detroit's largest, is about to hit the market," 8 June 2019 Here, the space is enveloped by a small shade garden planted as a ring of hostas, ferns, daphne and a massive jasmine plant. Amy Pennington, The Seattle Times, "A couple’s Rainier Beach garden is a place of creativity, vision and function," 19 May 2019 Caladiums are excellent for shady areas and combine beautifully with ferns, begonias, torenia, liriope, impatiens, hosta and coleus. Dan Gill,, "Plant these vegetables in April, and other garden tips," 7 Apr. 2019 Learn more about growing these versatile shade garden plants: How to Grow Hostas Plant hostas in evenly moist, humus-rich soil in light to full shade. Kris Wetherbee, Good Housekeeping, "How to Grow the Most Stunning Hostas," 7 Aug. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hosta.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of hosta

1930, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for hosta

borrowed from New Latin, genus name, after Nicolaus Thomas Host †1834 Austrian physician and botanist

Note: The genus was named in honor of Host by the Austrian botanist Leopold Trattinnick (1764-1849) in Archiv der Gewächskunde, Band 1 (1812), p. 55.

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Time Traveler for hosta

Time Traveler

The first known use of hosta was in 1930

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Statistics for hosta

Last Updated

28 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Hosta.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Feb. 2020.

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