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Re: Daylily Vs. Hosta

My Dear Friend Bill, y. i. s.

njhosta@hotmail.com wrote:

>       There never really were more
> that thirty or forty people who routinely bought hostas in that price range,
> and maybe twice as many more who only occasionally did. If you're saying
> that there are still that many, then what's the point?

Maybe the problem is that we are not talking about the same things.  I am
talking about what has been happening in the relationship between buyers and
sellers of hostas, which I would define as "the hosta market", while you, on the
other hand are talking utter nonsense.

>           I don't think you can define a market by the number of people who
> are trying to sell to it (but I might be wrong about that too)

among other things

> or by the
> number of items they are trying to sell. If you had ten solid customers who
> every year were interested in the newest stuff and willing to pay between
> $100 and $200 for ten plants each you would stock maybe ten each of twenty
> different plants in that range, wouldn't you?

Very good and very true.  The question is "SO WHAT?".  This game began (and for
those who don't know, this is a game.  Bill and I are friends who do this
occasionally for the fun of it.  By the end of the game, we thoroughly detest
each other.) when I commented that there was one nursery on the web that sold
literally hundreds of daylilies priced over $100.  There is nothing that even
approaches that in the world of hostas.  Your response was "A lot of us in the
hosta world have been wondering if tissue culture has killed the high-end part
of the hosta market. I think the answer to that is there in the daylily market."

Ever since, I have been trying to explain to you that the answer is not in the
daylily market.  Apparently there is something in the daylily market that allows
many sellers, not just one or two, to offer hundreds of daylilies at very high
prices.  There is nothing comparable in hostas.  My conclusion was that the
explanation is that daylily people are nuts.  I have no proof, it's just a

>  Not that I think you agree with
> that, but assuming you do, you would now have 20 plants in that price range
> in your catalog with less than fifteen customers buying them. Now you would
> be showing up in the Hosta Finder as a major vendor of expensive rarities.
> Would that mean there is a market? In the real "real world" that's how those
> listings got in there.

Maybe I'm not understanding your point, because I think that's what I just
said.  The fact that there are hostas priced at $100 doesn't mean that there is
a market for them.  But there are many daylily vendors offering many daylilies
at very high prices. Until you started building your hosta fantasy world,  my
original question was: Do these plants really sell, or is this a case of "I only
have to sell 100 plants to make 10 grand."?  The response from people who follow
daylilies indicated that people actually buy these things.  So in addition to a
number of people selling expensive daylilies, there are apparently a significant
number of people buying them.  Again there is nothing comparable in hostas.

>  If you look at Mary's extensive
> list of Lakeside hostas, you'll see many very nice plants, but how many of
> them were TCed by anbody other than her? Likewise Olga's plants or Savory's
> or Tony's or Ran's. A couple here or there, that's all. When I went to the
> Minnesota Convention, I saw at least fifty or so new plants in the $100 and
> up range. That was late spring 2000. Since then I think only two have been
> TCed ('Liberty' and 'Silk Kimono').

You saw fifty plants priced at $100.  How many did you see walk out the door?
Let's take your examples of folks whose hostas aren't widely tc'd.  Tony's
catalog lists 2 plants over $50.  One for $55 and one for $70.  Olga's plants?
Tony was the only one listed for Mississippi Delta in the Finder last year.  It
was $75 last year, $30 this year.  I've got it for $20, but I'm about sold out.
You could have paid as much as $200 for Manhattan last year, but I've got that
one this year for $20 too.  Oops, just about sold out there too.  Maybe the
expensive one's are OS, while mine are tc, maybe they're bigger, I don't know.
What I do know is that if I can buy the plants at a reasonable price, then I can
sell them at a reasonable price, and if I can sell all I have at a reasonable
price, I make more money than when I tried to sell a few plants at high prices.
I'm better off, the customer is certainly better off, the law of supply and
demand rules.  Why are we trying to resurrect expensive hostas?

In the 1999 Finder, there were 48 Lakeside hostas listed as actually being for
sale by the listed vendors.  7 of them were priced at $100 or more.  Last year
there were 68 Lakesides being sold, but only 4 were priced at $100 or more.

Do you see a trend here?  One year after one of Olga's plants is listed in a
catalog for the first time, it's selling for $20-30 and you don't see what's

Your argument is that there will always be a niche market of people willing to
buy expensive plants, and I acknowledged that several times.  But you expand on
that to conclude that hosta people will soon wise up and once again start
spending money with abandon, totally ignoring the fact that tc propagation has
dramatically increased the supply of high quality new hostas.  And your
conclusion that buyers aren't going to be satisfied with the limited number of
new plants the labs can put out each year?  - Tony has 37 new listings this
spring. I have 53, and we don't have much duplication.  I suspect Naylor Creek
has a couple new things too.  What do we have to do to satisfy you?

> The Law of Supply and
> Demand would apply to a single plant that more people wanted than there was
> enough for, not for the whole "market" that way.

Would you mind diagramming that sentence for me?  I'm stumped.

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