Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Hosta
Hosta 'Sum & Substance'

Family: Liliaceae (lil-ee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Hosta (HOSS-tuh) (Info)
Cultivar: Sum & Substance
Hybridized by F. Shaw/Aden; Year of Registration or Introduction: 1980

» View all varieties of Hostas

15 vendors have this plant for sale.

75 members have or want this plant for trade.

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:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

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

Click thumbnail
to view:

By maozamom
Thumbnail #1 of Hosta  by maozamom

By imiv
Thumbnail #2 of Hosta  by imiv

By jody
Thumbnail #3 of Hosta  by jody

By Greenwood
Thumbnail #4 of Hosta  by Greenwood

By bert
Thumbnail #5 of Hosta  by bert

By HummerRachel
Thumbnail #6 of Hosta  by HummerRachel

By Greenwood
Thumbnail #7 of Hosta  by Greenwood

There are a total of 48 photos.
Click here to view them all!


21 positives
4 neutrals
2 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Imnirisfan 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.

Positive underpaid1 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.

Positive ogon 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.

Positive cimonc 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

Neutral SkyWolf07 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?

Negative 30floret 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.

Positive Crit 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! ! ! !

Positive Marlina 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...

Positive eclecticLC 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.

Neutral perthwain 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 beautiful. HELP!!

Negative telenpo 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.

Neutral Malus2006 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.

Positive aliceg1369 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.

Positive Jennie_in_MT 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.

Positive kathy1955 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.

Positive maijab 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.

Positive sterhill 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.

Positive Cesca_B 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.

Positive nevadagdn 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.

Positive mikey01h 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.

Positive vavsie 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.

Positive BingsBell 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.

Positive hostaguy_52 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

Positive ctausz 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

Positive Greenwood 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.

Positive smiln32 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.

Neutral Sis 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.


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
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

We recommend Firefox
Overwhelmed? There's a lot to see here. Try starting at our homepage.

[ Home | About | Advertise | Media Kit | Mission | Featured Companies | Submit an Article | Terms of Use | Tour | Rules | Privacy Policy | Contact Us ]

Back to the top

Copyright © 2000-2015 Dave's Garden, an Internet Brands company. All Rights Reserved.

Hope for America