Why people raise hostas


OSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteer

Hostas, hostas, hostas.

Everyone seems to be raising them.

There are a variety of reasons why the Asian plant has captured so much space in the American garden.

Hybridizers and plant technology advancements have meant the new cultivars can be brought into commerce faster than ever before at reasonable prices.

Hostas cover shaded areas quickly, it is a perennial, it is a low-maintenance plant and has many different colors and structural characteristics.

In a recent “hosta discussion,” the following reasons for raising or collecting hostas emerged.

There are those hosta aficionados who collect for large size (Sum and Substance or Empress Wu), or small size (Itsy Bitsy, Spider, or Peanut).

Other gardeners choose a hosta for leaf color (Thunder Boomer or Baby Booties), while others like leaf conformation (Love Pat or Chief Sitting Bull).

There are hostas named for famous people (Minnie Pearl, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln) and movies (“Jaws,” “Razor’s Edge,” “Spartacus”).

Some growers select for their garden the names of songs.

Some devotees relish hostas with people’s names or military associations (Blaze of Glory, Battle Star, Enterprise) and trains (Rock Island Line, American Choo Choo).

Other hosta growers look for geographical places such as Colorado River, Smoky Mountains and Lake Erie.

Hostas named for animals are favorites for many as are the various seasons.

Then there are those named for states, such as California Gold Rush.

Popular among growers are hostas named for food items such as curly fries and pineapple upside down cake.

There are more than 8,000 cultivars on the market today. The above suggestions are just a sample.

Happy hunting!

To learn about growing hostas, go to http://go.osu.edu/hosta

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