Two ways to grow chrysanthemums
Spoons for Escargot and more crazy plant names

Hostas for late season leaf color

HopstaPaulsGloryFallThis is not the time of year when we usually think of hostas turning on the color but look at this ‘Paul’s Glory’ outside my window here in Pennsylvania. All summer the golden leaves with their narrow blue-green edges have made an impressive clump but now, as the edges turn yellow and the centers fade to white (as they tend to do in shade), ‘Paul’s Glory’ takes on a whole new look. And it’s not the only one.

Years ago in my garden in Northamptonshire I grew that old favorite ‘Halcyon’ in a terracotta pot (below right, click to enlarge). And every year it turned this lovely biscuit brown in the autumn. The little hardy geranium in amongst it is a self sown Geranium thunbergii. I grew some from seed collected in China but it proved to be a small-flowered weedy ground cover although its autumn leaves take on these attractive tones. Hosta-Halcyon-2UP-700

The other hosta I especially like for its autumn display is the oddly named ‘Christmas Tree’ (below, click to enlarge) whose bold puckered leaves are turning a lovely soft yellow now.

Regular readers will appreciate that these all fall in a group of plants for which I have a special enthusiasm - individual varieties which have two different seasons of display. Powerhouse Plants, my publisher insisted on calling them for the book in which over five hundred such plants are covered – some of which actually have four or five different seasons of interest.

And after all, what's not to like about hostas that look wonderful all summer – and then turn a different shade of wonderful in the fall?!


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Chad Turner

I had no idea that hostas did this, Graham, mine certainly don't. Are there any other varieties that do this, in addition to those you mention?

Graham Rice

‘Birchwood Parky’s Gold’, ‘Gold Regal’, ‘Great Expectations’ and ‘Spilt Milk’ all have good fall color, Chad, although it can vary from year to year. These varieties have also been recommended for their autumn colour - but I've not grown them myself or seen them in autumn: ‘Alex Summers’ (a sport of ‘Gold Regal’), ‘Crusader’, ‘Gold Standard’ and ‘Sergeant Pepper’.

Ian Warden

Hi Graham
Would you have any objection to my reproducing this short article in The Sport, in Spring 2015? I would, of course, give due attribution<;
Ian Warden

Graham Rice

Yes, Ian, that's fine. Thank you for asking.

For those who don't know, The Sport is the twice-a-year journal of the Variegated Plants Group of the British Hardy Plant Society ( and well worth joining for anyone with the slightest interest in variegated plants.

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