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Autumn Frost Hosta – Easy to Grow Slug Resistant Variety

Autumn Frost Hosta is one of my favorite hostas.  The leaves have blue green centers and wide yellow margins around the edge.  By summer time, the margins will turn a creamy white. It’s a slug resistant hardy perennial that comes back year after year.

Autumn Frost Hosta is a hardy perennial that loves a shade garden

Variegated hostas really pop in any shade garden. This variety has pretty yellow and green foliage that is cheerful and sunny.

For a similar version with pure white margins, check out my growing tips for Hosta Minuteman.

Autumn Frost Hosta is an easy to grow Plant for a Shady Spot.

Hostas make great accent plants for shady garden borders. Most of them flower, but the flower is insignificant and not the reason for the appeal of the plants.  Most gardeners grow these beauties for the colorful leaves.

Want to know what to grow in the garden along with hostas?  Check out my post for hosta companion plants for some ideas.

They add splashes of accent color anywhere you grow them.  Not all are variegated. Some have plain colored leaves like this Hosta Royal Standard.

Hosta Royal Standard
Growing Tips for Autumn Frost Hosta

Like all hostas, Autumn Frost Hosta is fairly easy to grow. Give it some shade, don’t water too much, divide as it grows and it will give you years of enjoyment. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your plant.

Sunlight requirements

The plant ideally likes part shade.  I have my plant growing in a west facing border under the shade of large trees. It gets a bit of morning sun and grows beautifully. Like any hosta, if you give the plant too much sunlight, the leaves will easily burn.Autumn frost Hosta in the garden

Variegated hostas can generally take a little more light than the all green varieties. For another variegated hosta that is a very fast grower, check out Hosta ‘Yellow Splash Rim’.

Spacing of Autumn Frost hosta

Hostas will grow larger each year as the plant multiplies.  What starts out as a fairly small plant will turn into a cluster 24 inches wide and 16 inches tall.  Be sure to keep this eventual size in mind when you plant.Mature autumn frost hosta

This photo from the JR Raulston Arboretum, shows a mature size that you have to look forward to!

I add compost to my planting holes when I first set the plant in the ground. The hostas love it!

Autumn Frost Hosta Flowers and Leaves

Autumn Frost hosta is a moderate grower and has thick leaves.  Thick leaves are great news because it means the plant is less likely to be bothered by slugs which are a common problem for hostas.

For other popular slug resistant varieties, be on the look out for Hosta Blue Angel, and also check out hosta wheee!
Leaves and flowers of Hosta Autumn Frost

The leaves have a lovely blue green center with yellowy cream margins. They are a bit heart shaped and the plant clumps beautifully.close up of leaves of Hosta Autumn Frost

It sends out spikes of lavender flowers on 12 – 15″ stems in late spring. The stems can be brought in for cut flowers but are fairly ordinary looking like most hosta flowers.

Cold Hardiness for hosta Autumn Frost

The plant is quite cold hardy and will over winter in zones 3 to 8.  In the colder zones, it may need to be mulched for the winter to protect the crown.

Companion Plants for Autumn Frost Hosta

There are many annuals and perennials that will do well in the same garden bed as Autumn Frost Hosta. If the plants love the shade, they will be good companions for this hosta plant. Companion plants for hostas

I chose these companion plants because of their colorful leaves. The combination makes a stunning shade garden bed.

Other hostas!

There are hundreds of varieties of hostas and I add new ones to my shade garden each year.  I have one garden bed that is almost entirely devoted to hostas and others where I use them for foliage contrast.Hosta Francee has heart shaped leaves with white margins

Some of the hostas that I grow are small and medium sized varieties and others, like this Hosta Francee, have jumbo leaves with lots of textural interest.  This variety is a good companion for Autumn Frost, since it has somewhat similar coloring to the foliage.

Dwarf Hosta cat and mouse in a garden bed

This Hosta ‘cat and mouse’ is one that I discovered on a recent trip to the JR Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh.  It’s a dwarf variety that only grows to about 3 inches tall.

Hosta "stained glass"Variegated hosta that is sun tolerant.

Variegated hostas, like autumn frost, can take more sunlight than those that have leaves of just one color. Another sun-tolerant variegated is Hosta Stained Glass

It is ideal in borders that transition from shade to semi sunlight conditions.

Variegated Liriope

Liriope muscari variegata is a slower growing version which is not as invasive as the traditional green liriope plant. The striped yellow leaves look great in any garden bed that also grows hostas. This plant will take quite a bit more sunlight than hostas do but is very happy in my shade garden, too.Variegated liriope plant

I have also tried growing the green variety but it took over the space very quickly and I had to dig it out this year. (See my tips for controlling liriope here.)

Coral Bells

Heuchera (also known as coral bells) is a great companion for hosta since the interest of the plant comes mainly from the leaves rather than the flowers.  Coral bells come in a wide variety of leaf pattern and color and love a shade garden setting. This variety is called “Carnival Watermelon” coral bells.

Carnival Watermelon coral bells is a good companion plant for hosta

See my tips for growing coral bells here.


Grown for their gorgeous foliage, caladiums are a tender perennial that is treated as an annual in most areas of the country. Once the frost hits, the plant will die off and won’t come back unless you are in the warmest zones. Colorful caladiums look great with hostas

The colorful leaves of caladiums look wonderful against the striking foliage of hostas, including Autumn Frost. They come in many color varieties from white to deep crimson and green like this Caladium Postman Joiner.

I dig up my caladiums before the frost hits (if you wait until after a freeze, it is REALLY hard to find where they were planted).  They keep indoors and I just plant them again another year.  See my tips for caladiums here.

Snow on the Mountain

This ground cover can be a bit invasive, but I’ve had it growing in my garden beds for about 6 years and it’s relatively easy to contain.  If it starts growing more than I want, I just pull up some of it and it’s back to the size I want.Snow on the mountain is a ground cover that will grow in shade gardens as well as full sun.

The plant will grow well in both full sun and shade.  It will even cover the ground under the shade of trees. I like to have it in my gardens where hostas are growing because of the variegated leaves. The botanical name for the plant is Ageopodium podograria.

Spider plants

Chlorophytum comosum is also known as airplane plant, spider plant, ribbon plant and a few other common names.  I purchase a large plant with babies every year and use the babies to propagate for new plants for my garden beds. Spider plant

The striped green and white leaves look perfect near hostas with variegated leaves. The babies are really easy to propagate. See how to do it here.

Propagating Autumn Frost Hosta

The main way to propagate Autumn Frost Hosta is by division.  It’s very easy to do and gives you new plants immediately.

Divide Autumn Frost Hosta when it gets too large and be sure to add compost to the hole when you first plant it.  Make the hole larger than the plant ball and gently release the roots so they will grow outward.

To divide the plant, you can either dig up the whole plant and separate it into several sections with roots.  I find that just using a spade and digging out a new offset will get the roots and save the time of digging up the whole plant.
Shade garden bed

I have a large group of hostas growing in my shade garden.  They were planted fairly wide apart several years ago but make a lush garden bed now. Time to start dividing I think!

Need a reminder for the care tips for this plant? Pin this image to one of your gardening boards on Pinterest to easily find it later.Growing tips for Autumn Frost Hosta, a shade loving perennial

Admin note: This post first appeared on the blog in April of 2013. I have updated it to add more growing tips as well as ideas for companion plants.

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