Simply Trees

First Frost Hosta

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Once a weekPartial shadeSummer
  • Vibrant and Durable Foliage: Boasts heart-shaped leaves that start with blue-green centers and creamy margins, transitioning to striking white edges, offering visual interest from spring to fall.
  • Shade Tolerance and Easy Care: Thrives in shaded areas where other plants might struggle, with minimal care requirements, making it perfect for low-light gardens.
  • Slug Resistance: Unlike many hosta varieties, 'First Frost' offers increased resistance to slugs, ensuring its lush foliage remains unblemished throughout the growing season.
  • Also known as Plantain Lily

More Details

The First Frost Hosta, scientifically known as Hosta plantaginea 'First Frost', is an award-winning perennial that brings elegance and vibrant color to shaded garden areas. Celebrated for its striking foliage, which features blue-green leaves with creamy yellow to white margins, this hosta variety brightens up any garden space. As the season progresses, the margins fade to a pure white, creating a stunning contrast. 'First Frost' emerges in spring and maintains its beautiful foliage well into the fall, earning its name by thriving until the first frost hits. Ideal for shade gardens, borders, and container planting, this low-maintenance plant is a must-have for gardeners looking to add long-lasting beauty to their outdoor spaces.

Growth rate: Moderate growth rate; typically reaches 16 inches in height and spreads up to 36 inches.

Please note: Images on our website depict plants and trees at full maturity to showcase their expected grown characteristics. These images are illustrative examples only and do not represent the size of plants or trees upon delivery.

Pruning: Remove spent flower stalks to maintain a tidy appearance and cut back foliage in late fall after it has died back.

Fertilization: Apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in early spring to encourage vigorous growth.

Winter Protection: 'First Frost' is winter-hardy in its growing zones, but applying a layer of mulch after the ground freezes can help protect the roots in colder areas.

Plant in spring or early summer. Select a location that offers partial to full shade with rich, well-draining soil. Dig a hole slightly larger than the root ball. Place the hosta in the hole, ensuring the crown is at soil level. Backfill with soil, water thoroughly, and apply a layer of organic mulch to conserve moisture and suppress weeds. Space plants about 36 inches apart to allow for mature spread.

Water regularly to keep the soil evenly moist, especially during dry periods in summer. Mulching can help retain soil moisture and keep the roots cool. Flourishes in partial to full shade, requiring minimal direct sunlight to protect its vibrant foliage from scorching and to promote the best leaf coloration and plant health.

We process and ship your order as quickly as possible, typically within 1-3 business days. You will receive a shipping confirmation with tracking information once your item(s) ship.

We have perfected packaging and shipping plants & trees! That is why we DO NOT use any third-party fulfillment like most other online retailers. Your trees go straight from our farm to your door, safely packaged by our team of seasoned professionals. Our process ensures your plants leave our facility and arrive to your door in the best condition possible!

In cases of extreme cold or hot weather, we may temporarily delay shipping to ensure the well-being of your plants. Our primary focus is on delivering healthy and thriving plants to you. Rest assured, we'll make every effort to notify you of any delays promptly.

Please allow additional ship times during inclement weather and sale periods. We do not process or ship orders on the weekend or U.S. Holidays. Simply Trees is not responsible for delays due to carriers, local disruptions, or weather.

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At Simply Trees, we're committed to your satisfaction. If your plants arrive considerably damaged or sustained damage beyond the point of recovery, please contact us within five days at with clear photos for assistance. Our 30-day guarantee covers issues after planting, subject to our terms and conditions. We can't cover plants in the wrong climate or with inadequate care, but we're here to help in other situations. For a detailed understanding of our 30-day guarantee and how we ensure a fair process, click here to learn more.


Zones 3-9

Adaptable to a wide range of climates within USDA Zones 3-9, the First Frost Hosta is a hardy and versatile addition to any garden. It prefers moist, well-drained soil rich in organic matter and thrives in partial to full shade, making it an excellent choice for under trees, on the north side of buildings, or in any shaded landscape area. Its ability to maintain vibrant foliage color and texture throughout the season, even in cooler climates, makes it a standout choice for adding continuous interest to shaded garden spaces.

Frequently Asked Questions

First Frost hosta is a moderately sized hosta cultivar known for its attractive foliage and clumping growth habit. When mature, 'First Frost' hostas typically reach the following size:

Height: Generally, 'First Frost' hostas grow to about 12 to 18 inches tall. However, in optimal conditions, they may reach heights slightly taller than 18 inches.

Spread: The spread, or width, of 'First Frost' hostas is typically in the range of 24 to 36 inches. Their broad, mounded habit forms dense clumps of foliage that gradually expand over time.

These dimensions make 'First Frost' hostas well-suited for use as ground cover or border plants in shaded garden areas. Their compact size and attractive foliage make them versatile additions to landscapes, where they provide texture, color, and visual interest.

It's important to note that individual plant sizes may vary based on environmental factors such as sunlight, soil quality, and moisture levels. Regular division of mature clumps can also help maintain the health and vigor of 'First Frost' hostas while controlling their size and preventing overcrowding.

First Frost hosta is known for its relatively moderate growth rate. However, the exact growth rate can vary depending on factors such as environmental conditions, soil quality, and cultural care.

On average, 'First Frost' hostas typically establish themselves within their planting site during the first growing season after transplanting. They will gradually increase in size each year, forming larger clumps of foliage as they mature.

Under optimal growing conditions with adequate moisture, shade, and nutrient-rich soil, 'First Frost' hostas can achieve their mature size within a few years, typically reaching their full spread in about 3 to 5 years.

It's important to note that while hostas are not rapid growers like some other plants, they are reliable perennials that provide long-lasting beauty in shaded garden areas. Regular maintenance, such as dividing mature clumps every few years to maintain vigor and prevent overcrowding, can also promote healthy growth and vigor in 'First Frost' hostas.

First Frost hosta thrives in locations that provide the right balance of shade, moisture, and well-drained soil. Here are some considerations for finding the best planting spot for hostas:

Partial to Full Shade: Hostas, including 'First Frost,' prefer locations with partial to full shade. Look for areas in your garden that receive filtered sunlight, dappled shade, or indirect light. Avoid planting hostas in full sun, especially in regions with hot summers, as this can scorch their foliage.

Morning Sun and Afternoon Shade: In cooler climates or during the milder seasons, hostas may tolerate some morning sun. However, afternoon shade is essential to protect their delicate foliage from intense sunlight and prevent leaf scorching.

Moist, Well-Drained Soil: Hostas thrive in moist, well-drained soil that retains moisture without becoming waterlogged. Amend heavy clay soils with organic matter such as compost or peat moss to improve drainage and fertility. Avoid planting hostas in low-lying areas prone to waterlogging or areas with compacted soil.

Protection from Harsh Elements: Choose planting locations that offer protection from strong winds, which can damage hosta foliage and dry out the soil. Planting hostas near taller plants or structures can provide additional shelter from wind and create a microclimate with more consistent moisture levels.

Under Trees or Along Borders: Hostas are well-suited for planting under deciduous trees or along garden borders, where they receive filtered sunlight and protection from direct sun exposure. These locations mimic their natural habitat and provide the ideal growing conditions for hostas.

Aesthetic Considerations: Consider the overall design and aesthetic of your garden when choosing planting locations for hostas. Plant them in groups or clusters to create visual interest and complement other shade-loving plants, such as ferns, astilbes, and hellebores.

By selecting planting locations that offer partial to full shade, moist, well-drained soil, and protection from harsh elements, you can create an ideal environment for Hosta plantaginea 'First Frost' to thrive and showcase its beautiful foliage in your garden landscape.

When planting multiple First Frost hostas or any other hosta varieties, spacing them appropriately allows each plant to develop fully and prevents overcrowding as they mature. The ideal spacing for hostas depends on their ultimate size and growth habit. Here are some guidelines for spacing hostas:

Spacing: Generally, space hostas about 18 to 24 inches apart when planting multiple specimens. This spacing allows the plants to grow and fill in the space between them while still maintaining their individual form and aesthetic appeal.

Consider Mature Size: Consider the mature size of Hosta plantaginea 'First Frost' when determining spacing. While young plants may seem small, they will eventually reach their full size, so provide adequate space to accommodate their mature spread.

Create Visual Interest: To create an attractive display, stagger the placement of hostas in a naturalistic pattern rather than planting them in straight rows. This approach adds visual interest and prevents a monotonous appearance.

Overlapping Foliage: Planting hostas closer together can create a lush, full look more quickly, but be mindful that as the plants mature, their foliage may overlap. Ensure that each plant has enough space to spread out without crowding or overshadowing neighboring specimens.

Soil Preparation: Before planting, prepare the soil by incorporating organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure to improve soil structure and fertility. This creates a favorable growing environment for hostas and promotes healthy root development.

Mulching: After planting, apply a layer of mulch around hostas to conserve moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature. Maintain a mulch layer of 2 to 3 inches deep, keeping it several inches away from the base of the plants to prevent moisture-related issues.

By spacing First Frost hostas appropriately and considering their mature size, you can create an attractive and healthy garden display that allows each plant to thrive and showcase its unique foliage characteristics.

First Frost hosta prefers partial to full shade, making it an excellent choice for shaded or partially shaded areas in the garden. While hostas can tolerate some morning sun or filtered sunlight, they generally prefer dappled shade or indirect light, especially in hotter climates.

Here are some considerations regarding sunlight exposure for Hosta plantaginea 'First Frost':

Partial Shade: Hostas thrive in locations with partial shade, where they receive filtered sunlight or dappled shade for several hours each day. Morning sun or gentle afternoon sun is usually well-tolerated, but avoid placing hostas in full sun, particularly in hot, afternoon sun, as this can scorch their delicate foliage.

Full Shade: In regions with intense sunlight or hot summers, planting hostas in full shade or areas with only indirect light is ideal. Full shade conditions provide protection from direct sunlight and help prevent the foliage from becoming scorched or bleached.

Leaf Color: The amount of sunlight hostas receive can affect the coloration of their foliage. Hostas grown in deeper shade may have darker green foliage, while those exposed to more sunlight may exhibit lighter green or variegated leaves. 'First Frost' hostas feature blue-green leaves with creamy-white margins, which may develop richer coloration in partial shade.

Morning Sun: In cooler climates or during the milder seasons, some hostas, including 'First Frost,' may tolerate morning sun without adverse effects. However, monitor plants closely for signs of leaf scorch or wilting, and provide supplemental shade if necessary.

Overall, providing First Frost hostas with partial to full shade conditions will help ensure optimal growth, vibrant foliage, and overall plant health. Avoid exposing hostas to prolonged periods of intense sunlight, especially during the hottest parts of the day, to prevent damage to the foliage.

The frequency of watering hosta plants depends on several factors such as weather conditions, soil moisture levels, and the plant's stage of growth. Here are some general guidelines to help you determine how often to water your hostas:

Soil Moisture: Hostas prefer consistently moist soil, so check the moisture level of the soil regularly. Water when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch, but avoid overwatering, as soggy soil can lead to root rot.

Weather Conditions: During hot, dry periods, hostas may require more frequent watering to maintain soil moisture levels. Conversely, in cooler or rainy weather, they may need less frequent watering.

Establishment Period: Newly planted hostas need regular watering to help them establish a healthy root system. Water deeply immediately after planting and continue to water regularly until the plants are established, usually within the first few months.

Mature Plants: Once hostas are established, they are relatively drought-tolerant and may require less frequent watering. However, during prolonged periods of drought or extreme heat, provide supplemental watering as needed to prevent the soil from drying out completely.

Mulching: Applying a layer of organic mulch, such as shredded bark or compost, around the base of hosta plants can help retain soil moisture and reduce the frequency of watering. Mulch also helps suppress weeds and insulate the soil, providing additional benefits to hostas.

Morning Watering: Water hostas in the morning to allow foliage to dry before evening, which can help reduce the risk of fungal diseases. Avoid overhead watering, as it can promote disease and may damage the foliage.

Container Hostas: If growing hostas in containers, check the soil moisture regularly, as containers tend to dry out more quickly than garden soil. Water container hostas when the top inch of soil feels dry, and ensure proper drainage to prevent waterlogged conditions.

By monitoring soil moisture levels, adjusting watering frequency based on weather conditions, and providing proper care, you can ensure that your Hosta plantaginea 'First Frost' remains healthy and vibrant throughout the growing season.

Cutting back hostas, including Hosta plantaginea 'First Frost,' is generally not necessary for aesthetic reasons, as the foliage naturally dies back in the fall and winter. However, there are a few instances when pruning or cutting back hostas can be beneficial:

Cleanup: Removing spent flower stalks and yellowing or damaged leaves can help maintain a tidy appearance and prevent the spread of disease. Cut these leaves and stalks back to ground level using clean, sharp pruners.

Division: If your hostas become overcrowded or start to decline in vigor, division may be necessary to rejuvenate the plants. Divide 'First Frost' hostas in early spring or fall by lifting the entire plant, dividing it into smaller sections, and replanting them in prepared soil.

Winter Cleanup: In late fall or early winter, after the foliage has died back naturally, you can choose to cut back any remaining foliage to ground level. While this step is not essential, it can help tidy up the garden and make it easier to apply winter mulch.

Overall, hostas are low-maintenance plants that do not require extensive pruning. As long as you provide the right growing conditions and regular maintenance, such as watering, fertilizing, and pest control, your 'First Frost hostas should thrive without the need for frequent pruning.

Caring for First Frost hostas involves providing the right growing conditions and regular maintenance to ensure healthy growth and vibrant foliage. Here are some essential care tips for hostas, including 'First Frost':

Location: Plant 'First Frost' hostas in a location that receives partial to full shade, as they prefer filtered sunlight or dappled shade. Avoid planting them in direct sunlight, especially in hot afternoon sun, as this can scorch their leaves.

Soil: Hostas thrive in moist, well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. Amend the planting area with compost or aged manure to improve soil structure and fertility.

Watering: Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged, especially during hot, dry periods. Water deeply and regularly, ensuring the root zone receives adequate moisture. Mulching around the base of the plant helps retain soil moisture and suppresses weeds.

Fertilization: Apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in early spring as new growth emerges. Alternatively, top-dress the soil with compost or organic fertilizer annually to replenish nutrients and support healthy growth.

Division: Hostas benefit from division every few years to rejuvenate overcrowded clumps and maintain vigor. Divide 'First Frost' hostas in early spring or fall, lifting the entire plant, dividing it into smaller sections, and replanting them in prepared soil.

Pest and Disease Management: Keep an eye out for common pests such as slugs, snails, and deer, which may feed on hosta foliage. Use organic pest control methods or barriers to protect plants. Additionally, maintain good air circulation and avoid overhead watering to reduce the risk of fungal diseases.

Cleanup: Remove spent flower stalks and yellowing or damaged leaves regularly to maintain a tidy appearance and prevent the spread of disease. Cut back foliage to ground level in late fall or early winter after it has died back naturally.

Winter Protection: In regions with harsh winter conditions, provide winter protection by applying a layer of mulch around the base of the plant to insulate the roots and prevent frost heaving.

By following these care guidelines, you can ensure that your 'First Frost' hosta thrives and continues to delight with its attractive foliage season after season.

In winter, hostas, including Hosta plantaginea 'First Frost,' typically undergo dormancy, during which their foliage dies back and the plants enter a period of rest. Here's what hostas, including 'First Frost,' typically look like in winter:

Dormant Foliage: As temperatures drop and daylight hours shorten, hostas begin to prepare for winter dormancy. Their lush green foliage gradually fades and may turn yellow or brown before wilting and dying back to the ground.

Decaying Leaves: The leaves of 'First Frost' hostas may become limp and mushy as they decay, particularly after frost or prolonged cold spells. These decaying leaves often collapse and form a protective layer of mulch around the base of the plant.

Exposed Crown: Once the foliage dies back, the crown of the hosta plant, where the leaves emerge from the roots, becomes exposed. This crown may appear as a cluster of dormant buds or as a slightly raised mound of soil in the garden bed.

No Visible Growth: During winter dormancy, hostas do not produce new growth above ground. Instead, they conserve energy and resources underground, preparing for the resurgence of growth in the spring.

Winter Mulch: In regions with harsh winter conditions, gardeners may apply a layer of mulch around the base of hostas to protect the roots from freezing temperatures and frost heaving. This mulch helps insulate the soil and provides additional protection during winter dormancy.

Overall, hostas maintain a low profile in winter, with dormant foliage and minimal above-ground activity. While they may not exhibit the lush greenery and vibrant colors of the growing season, they contribute to the winter garden with their dormant presence and serve as a reminder of the beauty that will return with the arrival of spring.

The main difference between Autumn Frost and First Frost hostas lies in their foliage characteristics, particularly in their coloration and variegation patterns:

Foliage Color: Autumn Frost hostas feature striking blue-green leaves with wide, irregular margins that transition from creamy yellow to white. In contrast, First Frost hostas exhibit blue-green leaves with narrow, crisp margins that are initially golden-yellow, gradually fading to creamy white as the season progresses.

Variegation Pattern: The variegation pattern on the leaves of Autumn Frost hostas is broader and more irregular, creating a bold and dramatic contrast against the blue-green center. On the other hand, First Frost hostas display a narrower, more defined margin, resulting in a more refined and elegant appearance.

Leaf Shape and Texture: While both varieties share similar leaf shapes and textures typical of hostas, the distinct variegation patterns contribute to their unique visual appeal. Autumn Frost hostas tend to have a bolder and more vibrant presence in the garden, while First Frost hostas offer a softer, more subtle beauty.

Overall Appearance: Autumn Frost hostas may appear slightly larger and more robust due to their bold variegation and broader leaf margins. In contrast, First Frost hostas have a more delicate and refined aesthetic, making them an excellent choice for adding elegance to shaded garden areas.

Despite these differences, both Autumn Frost and First Frost hostas are prized for their attractive foliage, reliable performance, and versatility in shaded garden settings. Whether used as focal points, border plants, or ground covers, they add texture, color, and visual interest to any landscape.

Our Process

We have perfected packaging and shipping plants & trees! That is why we DO NOT use any third-party fulfillment like most other online retailers. Your trees go straight from our farm to your door, safely packaged by our team of seasoned professionals. Our process ensures your plants leave our facility and arrive to your door in the best condition possible!