Hosta 'Sum and Substance'


Family: Liliaceae (lil-ee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Hosta (HOSS-tuh) (Info)
Cultivar: Sum and Substance
Additional cultivar information:(aka Sum & Substance)
Hybridized by Aden
Registered or introduced: 1980
» View all varieties of Hostas
View this plant in a garden

Plant Size (check one):

Giant (leaf >144 square inches; plant >28 tall)


6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)


USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)

USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

Sun Exposure:

Partial to Full Shade

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:


Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

Growing Habit:


Growth Rate:


Leaf Shape:

Broadly Ovate

Leaf Appearance:


Degree to which the appearance is present:


Leaf Texture (top):

Very Shiny

Leaf Texture (bottom):

Glaucous Bloom

Leaf Substance:

1 (Thick)

Leaf Color:

Light Green

Color of Leaf Margin:

No margin

Number of Vein Pairs:

16 to 18

Appearance of Margin:

Flat/Nearly Flat

Margin Width:

No margin

Bloom Time:


Flower Shape:


Flower Fragrance:

No fragrance

Does it set seed?:

Yes; seed is viable

Bloom Color:

Pale Lavender

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

, (5 reports)

Enterprise, Alabama

Meridianville, Alabama

Montgomery, Alabama

Anchorage, Alaska

Sitka, Alaska

Malvern, Arkansas

Clayton, California

Crockett, California

Paradise, California

San Francisco, California

Golden, Colorado

Meriden, Connecticut

Oxford, Connecticut

Bonifay, Florida

Bradenton, Florida

Albany, Georgia

Canton, Georgia

Cordele, Georgia

Dacula, Georgia

Lawrenceville, Georgia

Marietta, Georgia

Waleska, Georgia

Chicago, Illinois (2 reports)

Hammond, Illinois

Mchenry, Illinois

Mount Prospect, Illinois

Nilwood, Illinois

Peoria, Illinois

Quincy, Illinois

Washington, Illinois

Waukegan, Illinois

Granger, Indiana

Indianapolis, Indiana

Ames, Iowa

Council Bluffs, Iowa

Keokuk, Iowa

Oskaloosa, Iowa

Sioux City, Iowa

Shawnee Mission, Kansas

Wichita, Kansas

Covington, Kentucky

Ewing, Kentucky

Henderson, Kentucky

Gonzales, Louisiana

Sumner, Maine

Adamstown, Maryland

Gaithersburg, Maryland

Upper Marlboro, Maryland

Dracut, Massachusetts

Marstons Mills, Massachusetts

Wayland, Massachusetts

Bellaire, Michigan

Dearborn Heights, Michigan

East Tawas, Michigan

Muskegon, Michigan

Plainwell, Michigan

Port Sanilac, Michigan

Royal Oak, Michigan

Spring Lake, Michigan

Sterling Heights, Michigan

Traverse City, Michigan

Minneapolis, Minnesota (5 reports)

New Ulm, Minnesota

Leakesville, Mississippi

Natchez, Mississippi

Carthage, Missouri

De Soto, Missouri

Grandview, Missouri

Independence, Missouri

Kirksville, Missouri

Moberly, Missouri

Ozark, Missouri

Saint Louis, Missouri

Billings, Montana

Lothair, Montana

Reno, Nevada

Sparks, Nevada

Cape May Court House, New Jersey

Jamesburg, New Jersey

Corfu, New York

Greene, New York

Ithaca, New York

Penn Yan, New York

Southold, New York

Syracuse, New York (2 reports)

Tonawanda, New York

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Fayetteville, North Carolina

Monroe, North Carolina

Pittsboro, North Carolina

Raeford, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina

Winston Salem, North Carolina

Belfield, North Dakota

Grand Forks, North Dakota

Medora, North Dakota

Cincinnati, Ohio

Coshocton, Ohio

Geneva, Ohio

Glouster, Ohio

Orrville, Ohio

West Union, Ohio

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Sand Springs, Oklahoma

Florence, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

Salem, Oregon

Chalfont, Pennsylvania

Coopersburg, Pennsylvania

Darby, Pennsylvania

Norristown, Pennsylvania

Reynoldsville, Pennsylvania

Sarver, Pennsylvania

Souderton, Pennsylvania

Upper Darby, Pennsylvania

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania (2 reports)

Aberdeen, South Dakota

Rapid City, South Dakota

Christiana, Tennessee

Holladay, Tennessee

Memphis, Tennessee

Mount Juliet, Tennessee

Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Rockwood, Tennessee

Sharon, Tennessee

Austin, Texas

Hereford, Texas

Royse City, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Salt Lake City, Utah

Amelia Court House, Virginia

Big Stone Gap, Virginia

Danville, Virginia

Lexington, Virginia

Newport News, Virginia

Richmond, Virginia

Springfield, Virginia

Bellevue, Washington

Kalama, Washington

Lynnwood, Washington

Newport, Washington

Seattle, Washington

Shoreline, Washington

Buffalo, West Virginia

Charleston, West Virginia

Madison, Wisconsin

Marion, Wisconsin

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Pound, Wisconsin

Prairie Du Sac, Wisconsin

Stoughton, Wisconsin

Cheyenne, Wyoming

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On May 24, 2013, Imnirisfan from Saint Louis, MO (Zone 6a) wrote:

My Sum and Substance gets dappled morning sunlight and a little afternoon sun. It has grown very well. It burns somewhat from the afternoon sun, so I am going to arrange some shade for it to protect it from the sun; maybe some kind of simple yard decoration. That way, it won't need to be moved in order to be sufficiently shaded.


On Aug 27, 2012, underpaid1 from syracuse
United States wrote:

This host is a second year addition to my garden, situated on the northwest side of my zone 5a home. It receives indirect light all day. It has been slow to start. However, I exhibit in the NYS Fair and it won first place in Best in Class! The only question I have is about the color classification as I don't have the official host handbook, entered it as green and the judges changed it to yellow. If someone knows the correct color class, I'd appreciate it.


On Jun 23, 2011, ogon from Paradise, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

Sub and Substance is one of the most popular hostas in my area, and for good reason. This beauty has enormous chartreus leaves and is very slug and deer resistant. The only negative I have found with it is that, like many of the chartreus hostas, in my climate it does not tolerate direct sun well. I've had to move it twice in one year, but have finally found what seems to be the perfect place. It now gets plenty of indirect light, but only short periods of direct light as the sun filters through oak trees. When choosing a location for this hosta, it's also important to keep in mind that it will ultimately get very large and seems to grow fairly quickly.


On May 5, 2011, cimonc from Grand Rapids, MI wrote:

I love these !!!!! I have some planted on the east, west, and north side and they all are great. No maintenance what so ever. I just watch them come up in the spring and uncurl their large leaves and I don't do anything to them. Not even fertilize them. I have one plant that has been growing slower than the other ones. They are growing in an area that has small pebbles mixed with the dirt. I don't know if that has anything to do with it, but I would be very sad without my S&S hostas in my garden


On Sep 13, 2010, SkyWolf07 from Meridianville, AL wrote:

I love Hostas and had wanted one of these for sometime. This is the end of it's 3rd growing season for me and it hasn't grown one little bit. Nor has it produced any flowers. I have it in deep shade and the color is beautiful. I've fed it, kept snails/slugs away from it and even talked to it! It just doesn't seem to grow. It looks healthy though. I'm in zone 7b. Does anyone have any suggestions?


On Aug 22, 2010, 30floret from Hingham, MA wrote:

My Sum & Substance started losing leaves at the base in July. It gets sun from 2-5 (Massachusetts). Since I transplanted it last Fall, it is quite small this summer. It sits about 4 ft. from an irrigation head. Could it be getting TOO much water?
Please post an answer if you know.


On Jul 31, 2010, Crit from Sand Springs (Tulsa), OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

I have a very large one of these Hosta's at the new home I just purchased. It had many eyes trying to grow 'under' the plastic that was in place to ward off weeds. I dug them up and moved them to two other locations and they are doing great. Two are on the east side of the house, shaded by trees, but gets sun from about 9-11 in the morning then shade. The one on the west is protected by privacy fence and trees. It gets direct sun from about 12-2 in the afternoon. They seem to grow well here with some sun and some shade. I'm delited with these Hosta's! ! ! !


On Jul 29, 2009, Marlina from Blaine, MN (Zone 4b) wrote:

Mine is planted on the North side of my house and also gets some shade in the afternoon on the West from the real intense afternoon sun . It is the second year I planted it about this time last year and I couldn't be happier but it seems to be getting darker as the summer gets on....Is this normal...It has grown immence already...


On Jun 22, 2009, eclecticLC from Oskaloosa, IA wrote:

I am in zone 5 and I purchased S&S because it was advertised as loving morning sun. I planted it on the east side of my house where it was in shade by 11am. It did not do well there so after 2 years I moved it to deep shade in the afternoon and good light in the morning and it has thrived. I have it planted beside a big blue hosta of comparably size and they look great together. I love big hosta, I just have limited space and am consistantly creating more shade. Under any shrub I can trim up. Forsythia, hydrangea and lilacs work great trimmed like a short tree with multi stems, they then have wonderful shade for hosta.


On Jun 11, 2009, perthwain from Pittsburgh, PA wrote:

My daughter has a magnificent Sum and Substance at her home in CT that I greatly coveted. So I recently got one from a well known plant supplier and I planted it in the fall (2008).

It was a bare root plant so I never saw it until this Spring when it came up. Now, approaching mid June it just doesn't look right to me. Instead of being huge and chartreuse it is small and bluish. I wasn't expecting a specimen plant in it's first year, but I thought it would at least look a little like it was supposed to.

Has anyone ever had a similar experience with a new Sum and Substance? Should I call my supplier and tell them that they sent the wrong variety? I'm not a novice gardener and I have 6 other varieties of hosta plants that are extremely beautifu... read more


On Jun 11, 2008, telenpo from Mount Shasta, CA wrote:

I have grown Sum & Substance for 3 years in a very large pot. The first year I had it in late morning sun and it burned. I moved it to deep shade and it languished. Last year I moved it so it gets a little early morning sun and bright light all day. Now the edges of the leaves are browned and thinned, almost transparent. I am not sure what is causing this, does anyone have any ideas? It is watered regularly, I grow many other hostas and have not seen this before.


On Jan 27, 2008, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

Mine tend to be slow to multiply in woodland shade with two to three leaves for each plant. Doesn't thrive as well as other hostas and may prefer more sunny location.


On Aug 21, 2007, aliceg1369 from Raeford, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:

When I planted these hostas in 2004, I didn't know much about them, and didn't research them first. Unknowingly, I planted them at the head of my flower bed on both sides of a climbing rose, in the full sun. Not only did they grow fast, but I have had to divide them this year. Since they are growing in full sun, they do have a tendency to slightly burn, but I keep the damaged leaves trimmed off. This is one of those type of plants that even the novice gardener can grow with excellent results.


On Jul 10, 2007, Jennie_in_MT from Lothair, MT (Zone 4a) wrote:

Each year this hosta gets bigger and bigger. This summer it is huge and the color is so beautifully intense.

Be patient and let this monster take its will be worth the wait.


On Aug 1, 2006, kathy1955 from Mchenry, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

I absolutely love this Hosta. I have giant pine trees over 50' tall so I took out all the grass in my front yard and planted a nice shade garden. I have about 30 varieties of hostas. This is one of my favorites. The color is stunning in a shade garden, almost chartruse. Mine is a bit slow growing, probably because it has to compete with the pine roots. It is in dappled shade. It is superb, about 4 years old. It is easy to propagate from a leaf cutting if you cut down to the root area and put some rooting hormone on the leaf and pot it up.. I do not let mine flower for the first few years. They seem to grow bigger for me this way. As soon as I see a flower shoot coming I cut it off. Gorgeous must have for your shade garden! When it finally does flower they are beautiful.


On May 25, 2006, maijab from Rochester, MN wrote:

Unlike the majority of you, I have my S&S out in the sun. It gets about 5 hours a day of full sun & thrives. I am in zone 4 and finding plants that are beautiful & hardy gets to be a challenge at times. I am surrounded by trees around the house so have resorted to hostas for the beauty part. I have 40+ varieties & love to see them from the first nubs in the spring. I do have a problem with deer every summer so have to spray them frequently.


On Jun 10, 2005, sterhill from Atlanta, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

Atlanta - I had mine (3 of them) in really full shade. They languished and I moved them this year to where they get more sun. They are already perking up.


On Jun 9, 2005, Cesca_B from Henderson, KY wrote:

This is my family's favorite Hosta. It's got humongous leaves and has a great spread and it's only it's second year in my yard. It's in a showcase spot with some aquilegia in front of it and some ferns nearby.

It grows well in the dappled afternoon sunlight. There is no morning or evening sun. I've never tried hostas in the sun and don't plan on it, since I have a yard full of trees and shade.


On Apr 6, 2005, nevadagdn from Sparks, NV (Zone 7a) wrote:

This is one of my "Godzillahostas"--absolutely huge leaves, and it grows quickly. I love "Godzillahostas". I have it in dark, dry shade, and it just keeps going.


On Apr 6, 2005, mikey01h from Lawrenceville, GA wrote:

I bought several Sum and Substance from a local nursery during a hosta club promo several years ago. I first planted it on the east side of the house where it received about three full hours of morning sun, bad move. It couldnt take the sun in my area (burned) and stunted the growth. I moved them to full shade and BOOM they got huge, flowers well and keeps a constant chartreuse color all year. One of the last hostas to show itself in spring, it rapidly takes center stage. Seems to grow a bit slow, couple of eyes a year so far, which is too bad for everyone who sees it (they all want a piece). This hosta got me hooked on hostas, love it.


On Dec 28, 2004, vavsie from Corfu, NY wrote:

I bought mine as bare rootstock from a department store, and all eyes grew well and flowered first year, and produced seed. Did will when it was in containers in full sun and when it was later transplanted to deep shade.


On Sep 7, 2004, BingsBell from SC, MT (Zone 5a) wrote:

I have several of this wonderful hosta. One that gets morning sun and is shaded by grass rest of day. It doesn't grow as well as the others.

We had a late frost this spring and S & S was the only hosta that completely died back....but the good news was that it popped up quickly and almost caught up.

It does better in the shade here at 3500 feet, the less sun the better for it.


On May 25, 2004, hostaguy_52 from Tonawanda, NY wrote:

I have found Sum and Substance to be a very fast growing Hosta here in the western part of New York State. This Hosta of the year for 2004 is by far the largest Hosta I have, even bigger than the established Sieboldiana's in the garden. Of course, the ability to have a huge Hosta in partial to a half day of sun is the big draw with this one. It does need lots of room. I have had Sum and Substance for 5 years now, and I have divided it many times. From one plant I now have 2 dozen near specimens. I highly recommend it. Bill


On May 1, 2004, ctausz from Rock Island, IL wrote:

I live in Rock Island, IL and have a sum & substance that was purchased in 2000. The plant recieves 2-3 hours of pre-noon sun with one portion of the plant getting, maybe, an hour of mid afternoon sun. The portion of the plant that gets the afternoon sun does burn a bit even though I keep all my hostas well watered. I'm thinking about moving it to a more protected location this fall, before it gets too big. Any comments on the amount of sun this plant can handle? Also, the leaf substance of my plant is less than others I've seen. Does this come on with age?

TIA... charles


On Aug 3, 2002, Greenwood from Bonifay, FL (Zone 8a) wrote:

Easy to grow, too much sun turns the plant yellow. It is very hardy and late to show in spring.


On Jul 30, 2002, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Very large leaves - grows to a beautiful, stately size with light green color and lovely texture. Gorgeous plant.


On Aug 31, 2001, Sis wrote:

Hostas take several years to reach
mature form and size,especially the
large-leaved cultivars. Allow ample
room when planting to accommodate their
ultimate size. New shoots are slow to
emerge in spring,so take care not to
damage them during spring cleanup.