Cherry Tart Hosta - A Gorgeous Red-Leafed Perennial

Cherry Tart Hosta - A Gorgeous Red-Leafed Perennial
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An Introduction to the Cherry Tart Hosta

Hostas are a popular perennial plant grown for their attractive foliage. There are over 45oo registered cultivars of hosta, providing plenty of options for gardeners. One standout variety is the cherry tart hosta, prized for its red-hued leaves and reliability as a garden plant.

Background of the Cherry Tart Hosta

The cherry tart hosta (Hosta 'Cherry Tart') is a relatively new hosta cultivar, registered in 2017. It was bred by renowned plantsman Chuck Anderson of Minnesota. Like many modern hostas, cherry tart exhibits striking foliage colors and patterns that have expanded the range of leaf forms and colors available to gardeners.

This exciting new introduction has quickly become popular thanks to its glowing red foliage that holds its leaf coloration well, even in warmer climates. The shiny leaves emerge cherry red in spring, mellowing to burgundy-red as the season progresses.

Physical Characteristics

In terms of physical form, cherry tart hosta reaches about 10 inches (25 cm) in height at maturity with a spread of 20 inches (50 cm). This makes it a compact variety suitable for smaller spaces.

The leaves have a rounded, cupped profile with lightly rippled edges. Each foliage mound is formed from many individual red leaves that emerge closely stacked together. Their slightly folded, rubbery leaves create lavish texture and dimension.

As with many hosta types, the flowers are less showy than the foliage. Cherry tart bears pale purple blooms on short scapes in midsummer.

Growing Conditions

Cherry tart hosta is cold hardy to USDA Zones 3-9. It can tolerate even severe winters with proper siting and reliable snow cover as insulation.

These hostas perform best in partially shaded locations with some protection from hot afternoon sun. Dappled sunlight under high trees is ideal. Too much sun causes the leaves to scorch and fades their rich colors.

Hostas flourish in moist, organic-rich soil. Adding compost or leaf mold when planting improves drainage and moisture retention. Established plants have some drought tolerance but prefer consistent soil moisture especially when establishing.

The red pigments forming the beautiful foliage can become washed out without sufficient nitrogen. Apply a balanced fertilizer or nitrogen-rich plant food in early spring to keep leaves vibrant.

Using Cherry Tart Hosta in the Garden

Thanks to its glowing ruby foliage that stays neat and compact, cherry tart hosta always stands out in shade gardens, perennial borders, and containers.

It combines beautifully with green- and gold-leafed hosta varieties for bold color contrast. Try pairing with frosty blue hostas like 'Blue Mouse Ears' or subtle green types like 'June'. The fine texture of fern fronds also makes an excellent textural contrast.

For harmonious companions, look for other red-hued plants like coral bells (Heuchera), Lungwort (Pulmonaria), and Foamflowers (Tiarella). Lift these wine-colored partners with bright white variegated Brunnera, blonde Carex grasses, or silvery Artemisia foliage.

This dwarf hosta truly shines at the front of partly shaded foundation plantings, massed as a formal carpet of color. Use it decoratively around accent features like boulders or garden art.

Container plantings allow maximum control over soil moisture and fertility. Plant cherry tart hosta alone or combined with other shade-loving plants for striking color combos on decks, patios or entryways.


Propagating your own plants from divisions is simple with hostas. Divide congested clumps in early spring or fall by cutting back leaves and splitting apart into smaller sections with a sharp knife. Be sure at least one bud eye or emerging leaf shoot is included on each division.

You can also take advantage of the prolific offsets that form at the mother plant’s base. Carefully detach while avoiding damage to the root system. Replant divisions at the same level they grew before, watering well until established.

Maintenance and Care

Hostas require relatively low maintenance but do benefit from occasional care and attention.

Apply a new layer of mulch around your cherry tart hostas each spring. This regulates soil temperature and moisture while suppressing weeds. Two to three inches of shredded bark, leaf mulch or other organic matter is perfect.

Water whenever the top few inches of soil become dry until moisture penetrates deeply. Soak the entire root zone then allow excess moisture to drain away.

Pinch away spent flower stems to conserve the plant’s energy. Remove damaged foliage as needed to maintain a tidy appearance.

As the foliage dies away in fall, leave it stand over the winter. The dead leaves help insulate crown buds from harsh cold and prevent soil heaving from freeze/thaw cycles.

The Lasting Appeal of Cherry Tart Hostas

New and distinctly colored perennial varieties like the cherry tart hosta enrich every gardener’s plant palette. Introducing its vibrant red leaves into your beds, borders and containers guarantees an eye-catching focal point with graceful texture.

Beyond gorgeous color, hostas require little maintenance while proving tough and resilient. These versatile perennials provide lasting value and beauty across a range of garden sites and situations.

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