Hostas are usually planted for their attractive foliage. Flowers are generally secondary features. A notable exception are hosta varieties that possess fragrant flowers. Fragrant flowering hostas should be planted near a patio, deck or walk so their fragrance can be fully appreciated. Their fragrance is most noticeable on quiet, summer evenings. Home gardeners wishing to plant hostas with fragrant flowers can choose from the following varieties.
Fragrant Blue grows about 10 to 12 inches tall. It has blue-green, heart-shaped leaves. Fragrant, light lavender flowers appear in mid-summer.
The broad leaves of Fragrant Bouquet are apple-green with wide, irregular, light yellow margins. Fragrant Bouquet is a rapid grower which forms a dense mound about 18 inches tall and 24 inches wide. White flowers with light blue tinge are produced in mid-July to early August. The flowers are extremely fragrant.
Fragrant Gold is a gold-leaved hosta. Plants grow 18 inches tall. The flowers are light lavender and fragrant.
A sport of Hosta plantaginea, Heaven Scent has light green leaves with wide, gold margins. The 18-inch-tall plants produce fragrant, pure white flowers.
Honeybells forms a large plant 18 to 24 inches tall. The foliage is light green. Fragrant, light lavender flowers are produced in mid-August.
The glossy, light green, heart-shaped leaves of Hosta plantaginea are 7 inches wide and 10 inches long. Plants form mounds about 24 inches tall and 36 inches wide. Large, fragrant, trumpet-shaped, white flowers appear in August. It it commonly called August Lily.
Aphrodite is a variety of H. plantaginea. Its leaves are similar to the species. The unique feature of Aphrodite is the double, pure white, fragrant flowers.
The bright, glossy leaves of Invincible form a mound 10 inches high and 12 inches wide. Invincible tolerates considerable sun. Suitable sites are those in shade to 3/4 sun. Fragrant, light lavender flowers are produced in mid-summer.
Another sun-tolerant hosta is Royal Standard. It does well in shade to 1/2 sun. Royal Standard is a vigorous grower that has shiny, green leaves and pure white flowers in August.
The glossy, green leaves of So Sweet have wide, white margins. Plants form mounds 14 inches high and 20 inches wide. So Sweet produces large, white, fragrant flowers in August.
Sugar and Cream has wavy, green leaves with cream-colored margins. Plants are 18 to 24 inches tall. The large, fragrant flowers are nearly white.
Summer Fragrance produces large, green leaves with light, cream-colored margins. It bears large, fragrant, lavender flowers in mid-summer.
The leaves of Sweet Susan are a medium green. Plants attain a height of 18 to 24 inches. Fragrant, lavender flowers are produced in August.
A final variety is White Shoulders. It is a form of H. plantaginea with light green leaves and white edges. White Shoulders produces white, fragrant flowers.
When selecting hostas at your local garden center, consider all their characteristics. Plant size, leaf color, leaf shape, and flower color are all important ornamental characteristics. Flower fragrance is another consideration. Hostas with fragrant flowers are delightful additions to the home landscape.
This article originally appeared in the June 6, 1997 issue, pp. 83-84.