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Hostas, or plantain lilies, are popular because they give color and texture to perennial gardens from mid-spring until mid-fall. Large clumps of basal leaves with pronounced veining and smooth or wavy edges distinguish hostas. Leaves come in various shades of green, often with variegations. Lilylike flowers on tall stems (or scapes) in white and lavender bloom from late spring to late summer. Size and shape vary tremendously, with petite types a few inches tall for rock gardens at one end of the scale and giants with a single plant the size of a large barrel at the other. All varieties are attractive and are a favorite in the shade garden. These shade lovers have a mounded growth habit suitable for borders, specimen or groundcovers.