Hosta Halcyon

Learn about classic Hosta Halcyon, an all-time favorite blue hosta.
By: Julie A Martens
Hosta Halcyon Blue Gray Leaves and Lavender Flower

Hosta Halcyon Blue Gray Leaves and Lavender Flower

Photo by: DK - Gardening Step by Step © 2011 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Gardening Step by Step , 2011 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Paint your garden in shades of blue with the steely leaves of ‘Halcyon’ hosta. Known botanically as Hosta ‘Halcyon,’ this leafy perennial brings blue tones to shade gardens. Like all blue hostas, Hosta ‘Halcyon’ leaves get their blue hue from a waxy layer that reflects light in a way that makes the leaf appear blue. It’s simple science, but the result is a stunning blue hosta leaf most gardeners can’t resist.

Hosta ‘Halcyon’ leaves have a thicker waxy layer than other blue hostas, making it a go-to variety when gardeners want a blue hosta. ‘Halcyon’ hosta has such a strong blue color that it’s been used by hosta breeders to create many other new blue hosta varieties, including Hosta ‘Bix Blues’ and Hosta ‘Halcyon Harmony.’ Some blue hostas with variegated leaves also boast Hosta ‘Halcyon’ genes, such as Hosta ‘Blue Ivory,’ Hosta ‘Great Escape,’ Hosta ‘First Frost’ and Hosta ‘Cream Topping.’

In the garden, Hosta ‘Halcyon’ packages those pretty leaves in a neat, compact mound. Plants typically grow 24 to 36 inches across with a height of 12 to 18 inches. This hosta is hardy in Zones 3 to 9, making it a feasible choice for all regions. Many gardeners use Hosta ‘Halcyon’ in mass plantings to create a ribbon of blue in shade gardens. This beauty also has the good looks to hold its own as a specimen in a small planting area. Lavender flowers appear on Hosta ‘Halcyon’ in midsummer, adding to the eye candy.

Many blue hostas, including Hosta ‘Halcyon,’ boast a degree of slug resistance, especially the mature leaves. Protect young leaves of Hosta ‘Halcyon’ from slugs by using traps, baits or barriers. Once leaves are fully unfurled, you shouldn’t have to worry much about slugs feasting on this hosta.

The blue color on hosta leaves is really just a coating on the leaf surface. Grab a leaf and rub it, and you’ll see a change in the hue. That coating is much like the substance on plums or blueberries, which you can rub off. Botanically it’s sometimes referred to as a “bloom” or “glaucous coating.”

The blue color on Hosta ‘Halcyon’ and other blue hostas can fade during the growing season. Blue tones are strongest on young leaves. As leaves age, the color may fade somewhat. Overhead watering and rain dilute blue tones, as can direct sunlight and high temperatures. As summer wears on, many blue hostas lose their blue sparkle simply because the blue leaf coating is wax based—and wax tends to melt in high heat. This is a common issue, especially for Southern hosta growers. Hosta ‘Halcyon,’ though, tends to hold its blue color very well, especially in cooler regions.

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