National Hosta Display Garden

National Hosta Display Garden

National Hosta Display Garden
National Hosta Display Garden

Hostas, also known as plantain lilies, are easy-to-grow, shade-tolerant herbaceous perennials, cultivated primarily for their beautiful foliage. Their leaves come in a wide range of shapes, colors, sizes, and textures. Like ginger, hostas grow from knobby underground rhizomes or stolons. Hostas are native to China, Korea, and Japan and were first introduced to Europe in the late 1700s and to the United States in the mid-1800s.

The Barnes Arboretum is home to the East Coast’s only National Hosta Display Garden north of South Carolina; here, the genus Hosta and many of its numerous cultivars can be enjoyed by visitors and studied by horticulture students. The garden demonstrates some of the landscaping uses of hostas and the variety of sizes, colors, forms, textures, and flowers available in this genus.

We planted the hosta garden along Latch’s Lane because the area is surrounded by mature shade trees and shrubs, providing the shady environment hostas need. We integrated the hostas into this existing layout; individual specimens are used as focal points to draw attention to particular areas, or to draw the eye from one area to another. Multiple specimens of single Hosta varieties frame the garden’s spaces, act as ground cover, create a sense of direction, and add contrast in foliage. Hosta cultivars were selected for their color and variegation, leaf and mound shape, texture, size, longevity, and distinction. Some important groups of hostas highlight sports, or natural mutant specimens, and seedlings of a given cultivar.

The Delaware Valley Hosta Society (DVHS) took the lead in developing this garden at the Barnes Arboretum in 2012 and the American Hosta Society designated it as a National Display Garden in early 2015. The hosta collection at the Barnes Arboretum is the largest in a 600-mile radius.


Hostas in the Barnes Arboretum’s National Hosta Display Garden (pdf)

National Hosta Display Garden

Hosta 'Atlantis'

Launch Slideshow

Hosta 'Cutting Edge,' The Barnes Arboretum. Photo © Jim Tarantino

Hosta 'Atlantis,' The Barnes Arboretum. Photo © Jim Tarantino

Hosta 'Dancing in the Rain,' The Barnes Arboretum. Photo © Jim Tarantino

Hosta 'City Lights,' The Barnes Arboretum. Photo © Jim Tarantino

Hosta 'Wheee!,' The Barnes Arboretum. Photo © Jim Tarantino

Hosta Clear Fork River Valley,' The Barnes Arboretum. Photo © Jim Tarantino

National Hosta Display Garden, The Wilson area of the Barnes Arboretum. © 2015 The Barnes Foundation

National Hosta Display Garden, Wilson area of the Barnes Arboretum. © 2017 The Barnes Foundation

National Hosta Display Garden, The Wilson area of the Barnes Arboretum. © 2015 The Barnes Foundation

Firebell bed, National Hosta Display Garden, Wilson area of the Barnes Arboretum. © 2017 The Barnes Foundation

National Hosta Display Garden, The Wilson area of the Barnes Arboretum. © 2015 The Barnes Foundation

National Hosta Display Garden, Wilson area of the Barnes Arboretum. © 2017 The Barnes Foundation

National Hosta Display Garden, The Wilson area of the Barnes Arboretum. © 2015 The Barnes Foundation

Hosta ‘T. Rex’ (background), National Hosta Display Garden, Barnes Arboretum. © 2017 The Barnes Foundation

Hosta ‘One Man’s Treasure’, Barnes Arboretum. © 2017 The Barnes Foundation

Hosta ‘Hadspen Hawk’, Barnes Arboretum. © 2017 The Barnes Foundation

Hosta ‘Sagae’ with Alchemilla mollis (Lady’s mantle), Hay-scented fern, and Rhododendron maximum. Barnes Arboretum. © 2017 The Barnes Foundation

Plaque of the AMerican Hosta Society Designating the Barnes Arboretum Hosta Collection a National Display Garden. © 2015 The Barnes Foundation


Press

The Barnes Arboretum's "extraordinary collection" of hostas was featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer.


Horticulture History

Learn more about the history of the Arboretum and Laura Barnes's role in helping these gardens grow. 


Blog

Check out the Barnes Blog for more information about the arboretum and horticulture program.