African Hosta Care: Growing African Hostas In The Garden

African Hosta Care: Growing African Hostas In The Garden

By: Mary Ellen Ellis
Image by Gerry Roe

African hosta plants, which are also called African false hosta or little white soldiers, somewhat resemble true hostas. They have similar foliage but with spotting on the leaves that adds a new element to beds and gardens. Grow these warm weather plants for a unique new garden feature.

About African Hosta Plants

The African hosta goes by a few different Latin names, including Drimiopsis maculata and Ledebouria petiolata. Its placement in a plant family is not fully agreed upon, with some experts putting it in the lily family and others with hyacinth and related plants. Regardless of its classification, African hosta is a warm weather plant, growing best outdoors in USDA zones 8 through 10.

What draws most gardeners to the African hosta is its unique, spotted foliage. The leaves are oblong in shape and fleshy. Most noticeably, the leaves are green with spots that may be darker green or even dark purple. Spotted foliage is not typical, so these plants add a bit of flair and visual interest to the garden.

The flowers are nice but not spectacular. They are white or white with a little bit of green and grow in clusters. Each individual flower is bell-shaped.

How to Grow African Hosta

Growing African hostas isn’t difficult. The plants grow like a groundcover, but also do well in clumps or edges or even in containers. Growth is slow, though, so if you want to fill in a space with groundcover, put the plants fairly close together. African hostas do best in shade or partial shade, much like true hostas. The more sun they get, the more watering your plants will need. Otherwise, they do not need to be watered often.

African hosta care is simple once the plants are established. They are not picky about soil type, tolerate some salt, and do well in heat and drought. There are no particular pests or diseases that bother African hosta, but shade-loving pests like slugs or snails may do some damage.

Deadhead your African hosta plants to ensure that they put more effort into producing more beautiful foliage and spend less energy on seeds.

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