Also known as the plantain lily, this herbaceous perennial is grown for its attractive, decorative foliage. It is long-lived, and foliage may be tiny or up to 18 inches wide and 36 inches high. There are a wide range of cultivars with leaves that may be light or dark green, chartreuse or yellow, gray-green or blue. Many are variegated. Leaf texture also varies: it can be smooth or shiny, matte or powdery, puckered or corrugated. Hostas are excellent at forming big, bold clumps that keep down the weeds, but until they emerge in late spring some weeding will be necessary; they also benefit from heavy mulching. Hostas look best mass-planted near water features, or when allowed to multiply in shady areas under trees. Cultivars with cream, white, or yellow variegation will brighten a shady part of the yard, and so long as the tree or shrub canopy is high enough to let sufficient light reach the hostas, they will maintain their variegation. Likewise, plants with acid, lime colored foliage can be used to give a lift to shady areas. Types can be mixed to create a wealth of different effects.