Hosta of the Year

By National Gardening Association Editors

For more information on Hosta 'First Frost' and a list of all the Hosta of the Year winners since 1996, go to: American Hosta Growers Association.

Hostas are the backbone of the shade garden. Easy to grow and generally trouble-free, they are available in a myriad of sizes and leaf shapes, colors and variegation patterns. In fact, the biggest problem with them is that, once you get bitten by the hosta bug, you're liable to want every one- and there are thousands!

Fortunately, the American Hosta Growers Association helps gardeners choose from among so many intriguing cultivars by selecting a Hosta of the Year, one that has outstanding merit, is distinctive, grows well in all the zones to which it is adapted and is readily available in the nursery trade.

Their 2010 selection is 'First Frost'. This beauty has intense blue-green leaves that are 7 inches long and 5 inches wide on a plant that grows 16 inches tall and up to 36 inches wide at maturity. When the leaves first emerge, they are bordered with yellow; later the leaf margins turn pure white. In August, pale purple flowers sway above the foliage on 22 inch scapes. Hardy in Zones 3-8, this hosta would look delightful fronting rhododendrons or combined with the contrasting texture of gold Hakone grass.

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