Siebold hostas (Hosta sieboldiana) are the largest hostas. They have gray-blue, ridged foliage and show lilac flowers in late spring. They develop into clumps 30 inches tall and up to 4 feet wide.
‘Elegans’ has rounded, crinkled bluish leaves at maturity and pale, lavender-white flowers in mid-summer on 2 foot stalks.
Blunt hostas (Hosta decorata) have less pointed, broader heart-shaped 8 inch long leaves, bordered by narrow white edges and lilac flowers.
‘Butter Rim’ has yellow edges. They make good groundcovers because they spread underground. zones 3-8.
Fragrant Plantain Lilies (Hosta plantaginea grandiflora) are sometimes called August Lilies. They bear 5 inch, fragrant white trumpet type flowers toward the tips of sturdy 2 1/2 foot tall flower stalks in early fall. They rise above somewhat heart-shaped, medium green leaves up to 10 inches long. zones 3-8.
Narrow-leafed Hosta (Hosta lancifolia) has narrowly pointed leaves with lilac flowers
‘Louisa’ is very small, ideal for edging, and appears earlier than others.
‘Kabitan’ has yellow leaves with narrow green margins and rarely flowers. zones 3-8.
Hybrid hostas are bred from parents of several of the types above. There are literally hundreds of different varieties. Some distinctive ones are:
‘Gold Standard’ is an American Hosta Society award winner and has creamy gold leaves with green edges.
‘Royal Standard’ has smaller, but more numerous, flowers and deeply veined glossy green leaves. It is exceptionally hardy, having weathered temperatures as low as -10°F. Its fragrant white flowers appear on 18 to 24 inch tall stems in late summer. Expect it to spread 36 inches wide. zones 3-9.
‘Francis Williams’ has white flowers and variegated chartreuse and blue leaves.
‘Love Pat’ is a top award winner of the American Hosta Society. It has intensely blue, puckered, cup-shaped leaves and white flowers that appear in mid-summer. It grows 2 1/2 to 3 feet tall.