Did you know that hosta cultivars grow at different rates? It surprised me when I first started getting into these plants to see that some had a quick growth habit and some were slow. My goal was to get a full yard along the edges in the shade as quickly as possible, so I did a little digging to see what the fastest growing hostas are.
I found I don’t have to sacrifice color or size for growing speed, so I could mix and match different hosta types and create a colorful and vibrant space. I decided I wanted to share my findings with you to ensure that you too can pick out fast growing hosta varieties to plant in your yard to enjoy all spring and well into the fall.
The goal is to have a lush and full yard or garden area all growing season long. So, the quicker your hostas grow and fill in, and better off you’ll be. Are you curious? If so, let’s dive into what I found and you can see whether you want to plant varieties from my list of fast growing hostas this year.
What are Fast Growing Hostas?
First off, you have to know what I mean when I refer to a fast growing hosta variety. Most people mistakenly believe that fast growing refers to how quick the plants come up in the spring and develop their new leaves. However, this is incorrect.
When I talk about fast growing hostas, it encompasses how quickly the plants add new divisions or buds to the plant’s crown. This will enlarge the clump as a whole. Any size category for hostas deal with the clumps once they mature at five or six years. The clump size will depend on the number of new buds that each plant adds every year since you first planted it. The new buds will influence the plant clump’s width.
It’s also important to note hostas that have a high amount of color variations can put out divisions more slowly than fully green ones. Having mostly white or yellow coloring means the plant has less chlorophyll, and this can lead to plants that get stressed more easily because of sunlight or lack of water. In turn, they can grow slower.
Obviously, you want to get the hostas that produce as many new divisions each year as possible, and that are hardy.
Understanding the Three Growth Rate Categories
I found that most garden centers, hosta specialty growers, and various hosta societies divide hostas into three growth rate categories; slow, medium, or fast. Keep in mind that these are relative classifications instead of hard and fast rules. How quick your particular hosta adds new buds will depend on your growing conditions.
Therefore I like to take my time and make sure I have the perfect hosta soil ready for them to help encourage fast growth. Remember, the better your growing conditions are, the more true your hosta will be to their growth rate category.
So, say that you got a fast growing hosta that can add five divisions each year under the correct growing conditions. After five or six years, this hosta could easily have 25 or 30 new divisions to help it fill out. By comparison, a slow growing hosta may only add one or two new divisions a year. So, after five or six years, they’d only have 5 or 10 new divisions.
A medium-growth hosta could add two or three divisions a year to bring it to 10 or 15 divisions after five or six years. It’s better than the slow-growing category, but it’s still not quite on the same level as the fast growing ones. If you’re like me, you want the fastest growing hostas possible.
Popular Fast Growing Hosta Varieties
Now that you know what I mean when I talk about fast growing hostas and the three broad growth rate categories, it’s time to look at a list of fast growing hostas. These hostas have a reputation for producing several new divisions under the correct planting conditions, and you can get a bigger payoff with them in just a few years. The table below will list several options.
33 Fast Growing Hosta Varieties
Allen P. McConnell
Little Red Rooster
Lone Trail Gulch
Ohh! Blue Bounty
Prince of Wales
Tears of Joy
Twist of Lime
Tips for Dividing the Fastest Growing Hostas
Since we’re talking about the fastest growing hosts, I want you to know about dividing them. They can have slightly different requirements than your run-of-the-mill hostas that grow slower. This isn’t to say that you should leave your slower growing hostas to their own devices. Instead, I’m going to walk you through how and when to divide your fast growing hostas.
Best Time to Divide Fast Growing Hosta Varieties
Spring isn’t a bad time to think about dividing your hostas, especially if you have a variety that grows much quicker. The ones that grow the fastest are the ones you need to divide first. However, you want to make a point to not over divide them and damage the plant.
I like to split the clumps in half or in quarters at the very most. Make a point to only divide the fast growing cultivars during the spring so they have time to recover before the active growing season. For small hostas, division usually happens every two or three years to keep them cute and small. Larger fast growing hostas can get divided every year or two.
Be careful to avoid damaging the plant’s roots. The roots grow at the tip, so if you cut them, they won’t get any longer and they rarely branch. This can negatively affect your plant’s growth because new roots will need to grow from the crown to take the cut root’s place.
Any hosta also usually has a small growth spurt in August. During this spurt, they’ll grow a small amount of leaves as the temperatures cool down from July’s scorching temperatures. This is especially true if it rains. The hostas will start to grow after their heat dormancy period during July.
If you divide your fast growing hostas now, they’ll form new roots quickly. They’ll also make new foliage before the frost hits and keep it well into the fall months. You may even spot flowers later in the fall.
Fast Growing Hostas Frequently Asked Questions
Many people get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information they find when they first look into fast growing hosta varieties. To make it easier for you, I’ve picked out a few of the most frequently asked questions for you below.
How can you encourage hostas to grow faster?
If your hostas aren’t growing fast enough for you, there are a few tips and tricks you can try. Try to get a good balance between sun and shade, protect the shoots, add mulch to control soil moisture, and clean around your hostas routinely to make them less appealing for pests.
Are the fastest growing hostas resistant to deer?
No. Deer considers hostas to be like a type of candy. Don’t be fooled by marketing schemes that claim some hostas are deer-resistant. You and I both know that a deer will eat just about any type of plant if it gets hungry enough, especially in the spring and fall.
What does division do for fast growing hosta varieties?
Many people mistakenly believe that dividing your hostas will make them bigger. This is false. Instead, dividing your hostas will make them fuller. Planting more of the same hosta species in one area will give the appearance of fullness, even if they’re smaller plants.
Just like any type of hosta, fast growing varieties need ideal growing conditions and care to thrive and add buds. I’ve given you a short list of fast-growing hostas and outlined the best growing requirements for them. You can take this information and use it to encourage strong and healthy growth for your plants.