Although the blooms of hosta plants are commonly considered secondary to their beautiful leaves, there is a type of hosta, Hosta Plantaginea, that produces beautiful fragrant blooms that have been described as a strong honeysuckle-like fragrance. They are perfect for planting next to walkways, patios, decks, borders or near a garden bench.
Hosta Plantaginea has the largest pure white blooms of all hostas, as much as 6” wide which is enormous by hosta standards. Whereas most hosta varieties bloom around 4 p.m., the Hosta Plantaginea's best bloom and scent time is around 4 p.m. in the afternoon.
They also bloom later in the summer, hence their nickname, “August Lily." They also emerge earlier in the spring than the much more common hosta, Hosta sieboldiana.
These fragrant hostas are often recommended as some of the best hostas for the warmer areas of the Southeast U.S. because of their ability to tolerate and adapt to hot, humid conditions. They need sun, about four to six hours a day, to bloom well and be at their best.
Another benefit of hosta plantaginea is that when other hostas are heading toward the "summer uglies," hosta plantaginea will flush out a second round of foliage.
Some of the fragrant hostas we grow and sell at Sunset Hosta Farm are:
Mature Size: Very Large Height: 30” Width to 42”
Blue Hawaii has giant lightly puckered round blue/green foliage. It has a more upright vase-shaped appearance. The powdery sky blue leaves hold their color from early spring to mid-August. In early summer, heavy blooms of white lightly fragrant flowers emerge. There's no doubt why this one is so popular.
Mature Size: Large Height: 24” Width to 54”
Guacamole is one fast grower and will fill an area quickly. It forms large, dense clumps and thrives in partial shade where the sun can brighten the leaf centers. Its avocado green leaves are shiny with a dark green wide margin. The leaves are moderately folded. Fragrant white blooms appear in early summer making it perfect for planting near walkways, patios, decks or paths. Very sun tolerant. 2002 Hosta of the Year.
Mature Size: Large Height: 22" Width to 45”
Honeybells' long, wavy apple green leaves are puckered downward giving the clump a very unique shape. Strongly scented lavender blooms draw in the butterflies and honeybees. Looks great when planted next to a variegated hosta for contrast. Also, sun tolerant. Scented hostas like Honeybells are wonderful when planted near walking paths, patios or decks.
Mature Size: Large Height: 26” Width to 60”
The compact shape of So Sweet makes this hosta ideal for edging a shady garden. The leaves are glossy green with creamy yellow margins that fade to white later in the season. Its compact growth makes it great for containers, too. It’s sun tolerant as well as fragrant. 1996 Hosta of the Year.
Mature Size: Medium Height: 20” Width to 36”
This fast-growing beauty of the hosta world is especially charming when in bloom. Unlike most hostas, this bright mound of gold foliage produces gorgeous white to light lavender fragrant flowers in late summer. It displays the best color with half a day of sun. A stunner, and one you will want to use as a specimen plant or as a focal point.
Even if the garden fragrance is not important to you, the ability of fragrant hostas to adapt to hot humid summers of the southeast US is enough to give them a great spot in your garden.