"I believe that part of the problem is the huge
influx of product from overseas. With cheap labor available in China,
Wal-Mart can source product from US TC propagators that actually originated in
China. Purchasing 500 or 1000 Stage III plants at a time, or 10,000,
leads to the need to grow these explants on to Stage IV and then
to unload them. "
I think you have the cause and effect a little
mixed up. The bottom line is hostas from TC are available for as little as ten
or fifteen cents apiece from overseas sources. These TC liners are propagated
for the mass market and that's where they will end up. None of the specialty
hosta growers could even touch the quantity of liners that are being produced by
these labs......and we're just seeing the beginning....
Nurseries that only specialize in hostas are going
to see increasing market pressure for a long time to come. Our landscapes the
country over are wanting for more and better hostas....and unfortunately
the prices that these hosta specialty nurseries are charging.......and need to
charge to stay in business......is not going to be supported by the general
Hostas are easy to grow. This is part of the
problem too. Homeowners rarely need information from a specialty nurseryman to
grow hostas. If information is needed the internet is now and will be even more
in the future where these homeowners can find out what they need to grow hostas.
If a hosta is so hard to grow that people need special instructions a good
argument could be made that this hosta is not really worth growing. After all,
how many great landscape plants do we see in the general publics yards that are
hard to grow?
The specialty nurseries will just have to cater to
that snobbish few that get their feel goods from having hostas other don't have.
I count myself as one of these snobbish few but I admit I feel a little more
foolish every year as I see the classic hostas out perform my expensive hostas
year after year. I really think some hosta collectors would be better off
collecting baseball cards...but I will not mention names....but I have a
A point to be considered:
I think the American Hosta Society Hosta Growers
Association has made a blunder of sorts with the Hosta Of The Year
announcements. It sounds good on the surface.....but what I think it really will
amount to...is that the hosta of the year will be propagated and sold
by the mass marketers.....
(who don't give a damn about the Hosta Grower
Association) and the members of the Hosta Growers Association(who pay $35 a year
to be members) will find the market is saturated with the very hostas they
planned on selling through their promotion. The end result.....more good hostas
make it to more landscapes at lower prices........and this is what the American
Hosta Society is supposed to be all about.....and this is a good thing for
Imagine how many good hostas could make it to the
mass market if the AHS focused on truly trying to promote hostas......instead of
what we have now......a small group of people trying their best to keep control
of a plant........
I apologize for in advance for my statements that
step on the toes of these specialty hosta growers. I have met many of them and I
like them.......I just think the writing is on the wall......and keeping our
heads in the sand won't change a thing.
I'm all for more, better and cheaper hostas in
And it's happening now........but not the way some
Those that want to get rich by selling
hostas.....ought to ask Alex Summers, co-founder of the American Hosta
Society.....about his take on the big picture.....
I've got to get some weeding done.