Hostas are a group of plants (genus) native to Japan and eastern Asia. There are about 40 species of hostas, but they interbreed fairly easily to produce thousands of cultivars. There are over 3,000 registered cultivars that can be acquired by growers. At Savory's Gardens, we offer about 750 hosta plants for sale. They are closely related to agaves rather than daylilies or true lilies.
Some wild hosta species are at home growing on steep slopes or even rock walls. Most take on a growth form we would readily recognize as a Hosta. While their shape and form may date back to ancient times, their variegation and coloring has exploded in the past 25 years. Nearly all of the plants that you see in our website are younger than Savory's Gardens.
Hostas are widely cultivated, being particularly useful in the garden as shade-tolerant plants whose striking foliage provides a focal point. Though Hosta plantaginea originates in China, most of the species that provide the modern plants were introduced from Japan to Europe by Philipp Franz von Siebold in the mid-19th century. Newer species have been discovered on the Korean peninsula as well.
Hostas have become a common plant in shady backyards throughout hardiness zones 3 to 7/8. They do require dormant phase — a period of cold temperature — in order to survive year after year, so don’t be tempted to use one as a house plant. From their origins in the Far East, they have moved to Europe and North America where they are now planted quite widely. However, their prevalence has overshadowed their heritage.
Nothing has changed the hosta industry more than tissue propagation. It allows the wholesale grower to create hundreds of genetically identical plants in a sterile and controlled environment. Disease can be carefully eliminated from the reproductive process. These plants can be delivered to market much faster than previously.
Tissue propagation allows for sports to be created, isolated, and used to create new products in just a few years. This has led to an explosion of new product offerings over the past decade.