RE: Hosta Ramblings---and milking the AHS membership
>Hostas are at a point in their history where it is impossible for a
>collector to keep up with all of the new introductions. This is just
>as well because in time at least 75% of these new introductions will
>disappear from the trade because they are not worth growing.
>Daylilies have been down this path already and hostas are hot on
If hostas follow daylilies, there will be a lot more then 75% of new
introductions disappearing from the trade. Right now there aren't as
many hostas being registered as daylilies, although more hostas are
probably being sold that are not registered then for daylilies. The
daylily society was registering about 1000 daylilies a year. Off hand
I would say half of these were vanity registrations. Maybe 200-300 of
the registered daylilies get a formal introduction, although many of
these are not given much serious promotion. After a few years maybe
50 of the 1000 plants registered are readily available in the trade.
Hostas are somewhat different from daylilies in that many people who
claim to be involved in hybridizing are really not doing much more
then looking for sports rather then making crosses and working for a
long term goal. What happens when you get a certain number of people
involved in hybridizing is that there becomes a race to stay ahead and
hybridizers/growers tend to start introducing plants just to support
their hybridizing rather then to introduce plants because of some
superiority. It's not difficult to get a decent hosta seedling, but
it's difficult to find something that is really different from
anything else already in the trade. What will happen is that there
will be more and more "new" hostas that are not worth the high
introduction price. You will easily be able to find a lower priced
and older hosta that has a similar look. We are at that stage now
with daylilies where the new introductions are not much different from
introductions from the last three or four years and few of them are
really worth buying. The only people buying the new, expensive
introductions are collectors and propagators.
I don't know about other parts of the country, but many of the mass
marketers out here in the Pacific Northwest are starting to ask for
certain named hostas rather then "variegated" hostas. The problem
with mass marketers is that they respond to a name. If enough peope
come in asking for June, then they will ask their suppliers for June.
They probably have no idea what June looks like, but they do know
enough customers are willing to buy it.
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