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Hosta Collecting

Keeping Track

Often people don't realize they are starting a hosta collection till they are already there. While we remember (at first) who everyone is, loosing track of who's who is a common problem.

To get an idea of what you have, visit a good nursery or to see Hosta and also check when they were released for sale. It is likely the Hosta you got across the fence from your neighbour 5 years ago was not released 6 years ago.

A dedicated notebook with careful records is one way, or a looseleaf binder (where sheets can be inserted alphabetically). Information such as; Name, Date purchased, notes on eventual size, performance and so on can all be put on the sheet.

A more modern solution would be a spreadsheet in excel, with as many headings as you like. 

Before heading out on a collecting trip, it is good to know what you already have. Many collectors come with a printed sheet showing what they have, which we can then compare with our availability.

A small flattish riverstone can be written on with a SHARPIE marker, then left writing down beside the plant. This will help you know who's who when in the garden. The aluminum plant stakes from Lee Valley are also useful using pencil (hint, write name on underside as well) although the can easily get raked out of the garden. 


Miniature Hosta are a fun way to collect while not taking up large amounts of space. Be careful not to put them where they will be covered or crowded out by larger Hosta. They are less tolerant of wet feet than their bigger cousins so a slightly sloped area can work well. One hole from a slug can take up a whole leaf on a tiny variety such as Itsy Bitsy Spider, so careful attention to slug control is a good plan.

Wintering in Pots

We winter over 1,000 Hosta in their pots outdoors each winter. To do so we have found some tips that help our survival rates;
1- It should be cold out when you are putting them to bed. Mid November works well for us.
2- We have the best success when we leave the foliage attached, although we do trim flower stems.
3- Choose a shaded area where snow usually collects, for instance the north or east side of a building, fence or hedge
4- The Hosta should be neither dry nor overly wet. Usually fall rain has been enough, but if very dry we might water as late as Oct 30th.

5- We lay pots on their sides, close together and interwoven, trying to create the most contact with the ground. By laying pots down we prevent the over wet frozen plant cycle of late winter, which is a real killer.

6- Rodent damage is a big problem, we have found that leaves, blankets etc. seem to attract moles and mice. We have less damage when we use leaves aroung the edges of the pots but not over. Using bark chunks in our potting mix has really reduced rodent burrowing over winter.

7- Tops of the pots where exposed should not face south or west.
8- An indoor non-heated dark space is ok, but plants seem to be much more likely to dry out. 

Made in the Shade Perennials Inc.
3626 Hwy 2 RR 3 (4.5 km east of Joyceville Rd.)   Gananoque,  Ontario    K7G 2V5
Phone: (613) 382-8251      eMail: