While we're years away from seeing a new core hosta color, some newer varieties with red stalks offer a surprise under the foliage. 'Rocket's Red Glare' has dark red stems topped with wavy, glossy green leaves that sit under striped lavender flowers. New varieties with unique variegations distinguish themselves from the standard, two-color pattern. The aptly named 'Rare Breed' offers three colors: a white center surrounded by a green margin with a paler green color in between. 'Autumn Frost' has heart-shaped foliage that starts blue, with bright yellow margins that mellow to creamy white in summer. Large and showy 'Broad Band,' with heart-shaped foliage featuring yellow-to-white margins around a dark green center, is an example of the trend toward chunkier margins.
Glossy leaves offer a nice contrast in texture when paired with the more common matte varieties. The 3-foot-wide 'Irish Luck' has deeply veined dark green leaves with a lacquer-like finish below sweet-smelling lavender flowers.
Shown: 'Atlantis' has yellow margins that get brighter with more sunlight.