Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’

hosta 'Sum and Substance'


A giant amongst Plantain Lilies, Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’ has a huge rosette of deeply veined and ribbed yellow-green leaves that provide a big dollop of brightness to any shaded spot.

Said to be one of the most slug and snail-resistant varieties of hosta, at the Palm Centre we advocate still using your favoured protection to guarantee acres of flawless foliage.


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Origin: Japan, cultivar of horticultural origin
Genus: Hosta
Species / Cultivar: ssp. var. 'Sum and Substance'
Common Name: hosta 'Sum and Substance'

Plant Biography

Hostas are a family of more than 40 species of plants, originating in China and Japan. First described in early 19th century and named after the Austrian botanist Nicholas Thomas Host, these plants have quickly become a staple of gardens all over the world.

They hybridize very easily and this lead an astounding amount of recognized varieties and cultivars, more than 7,200 of them recognized by American Hosta Society.

Though mildly toxic to cats, dogs and horses, the hosta leaves have been reported to be used for cooking in Asia. However, due to some substances called saponins present in the leaves, we highly recommend you don’t try to eat the leaves.


Hosta 'Sum and Substance'
Soil: Moist but Well Drained
Soil that allows water to drain at a moderate rate, without the water pooling.
Growth Rate: Fast
Expect to see prolific growth, especially during growing season.
Toxicity: Mildly toxic
May lead to nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting in pets, if ingested in large quantities.
Situation: Part Shade to Full Shade
Can enjoy several hours of direct sunlight, but also happy in full shade.
Eventual Height: 0.7m
The plant's ultimate height in typical growing conditions.
Eventual Spread: 1.2m
The plant's ultimate spread in typical growing conditions.
Hardiness: Fully Hardy
Will survive unprotected outdoors in most areas of the UK, even in the harshest winters.
Habit: Deciduous
Sheds all its foliage annually, so for a period of the year it will be without foliage.
Lifecycle: Perennial
This plant is persistant and does not die off after flowering. It will return each season indefinitely, if provided with suitable growing conditions.
Care & Size Guidance

Care & Size Guidance

Hostas prefer partial to full shade, although some varieties can tolerate more sunlight. Select a location in your garden that receives filtered sunlight or dappled shade for optimal growth. Avoid areas with intense, direct sunlight, as this can scorch the leaves. Once planted these are best left undisturbed for years – slowly the clump of plants will gather momentum and produce those enormous domes of foliage topped, in mid-to-late summer, by spikes of pale lavender bells.

Hostas are relatively low-maintenance plants, but they benefit from regular watering during dry periods and occasional fertilization with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in spring. Remove any dead or yellowing foliage as needed to maintain the plant’s appearance and encourage new growth

Planting Hostas

Planting Hostas

Hostas thrive in well-draining, rich soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH (around 6.0 to 7.5). Before planting, amend the soil with organic matter such as compost or aged manure to improve its texture and fertility. Work the amendments into the soil to a depth of about 12 inches.

If the roots are tightly bound, gently tease them apart to encourage outward growth. Place the plant in the centre of the planting hole, ensuring that it is positioned at the same depth as it was in the container. Backfill with compost and keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged during the establishment period.

Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as shredded bark or compost, around the base of the hosta plant to help retain soil moisture and suppress weed growth.  Keep the mulch a few inches away from the stem to prevent rot and fungal diseases.

A slug magnet

A slug magnet

Hostas are a magnet for slugs and often fall victim to them, creating a challenging relationship for gardeners. Slugs are voracious nocturnal feeders (insert hosta vampire reference here!) that can cause significant damage to hostas, particularly by consuming their tender leaves.

Hosta plants are particularly attractive to slugs due to their succulent leaves and the moist, shady environments they often grow in. They can consume significant portions of the foliage, compromising the plant’s ability to photosynthesize and ultimately weakening it.

Gardeners often employ various strategies to control slug populations and protect their hosta plants. These may include physical barriers such as copper tape or diatomaceous earth, which create obstacles that slugs are reluctant to cross.


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