Conflicting Info

lupinguy(s ontario)January 27, 2013

So I am going through a lot of differant websites trying to sort out some sizes for various parts of the Hosta Garden, however I am finding this frustrating because differant sites have differant size categories for the same Hosta.

Anyone have a good accurate source for sizing info and what the actually specs of each category are?

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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

If you are looking for plant width, then you are going to see varied information. There is no online site that is best for this. The Hostapedia gives probably the best information. Online nurseries sometimes have good info. I like Hallson's information. Other nurseries heave either inaccurate or no information.


    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 11:32PM
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thisismelissa(z4a-S Twin Cities MN)

Part of the reason you're finding different information for different categories is that several years back, there was a shift in the way the industry looked at sizing. Some websites base their sizing on the mature plant size, others base it on leaf size (by total square inches).

Even the Hostapedia is difficult, as newer hostas aren't in there, and the ones that are have data based on Zilis' observations of the hosta in that garden. If it was fairly young at his observation, it won't be entirely correct.

So, if it were me, I would work from individual plant sizes, not from "Large"... whose meaning can be many varieties of definitions. Perhaps work from the direction of, "I have a 4'x4' section to plant and it needs to be a blue hosta .... what individual cultivar fits that description?.... not "medium".

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 6:29AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

they will grow .... as they grow.. in your soil.. in your yard ... dependent on your trees.. your sun/shade ... and on your water ...

i dont know what more you want ...

jsut grow the darn things.. its a garden.. not a science lab.. you want specific scientific answers.. for what basically amounts to an art ..

good luck with that ...


ps: its like demanding to know.. back in the day.. how big the next Picasso would be.. years in advance ...

pps: height is genetic ... for the most part ... a well grown clump.. width .... could.. theoretically.. fill the entire yard ... but it wont ...

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 7:44AM
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lupinguy(s ontario)

Ken the reason I am asking is because I keep being told on here I should love them once they are planted so there for I want to make sure I get appropriate sizes in the right areas but I guess I suppost I will have to just let them grow and move them anyway!

Ps I never claimed it was rocket science! However I also wasn't born as a hosta grower!

This post was edited by lupinguy on Mon, Jan 28, 13 at 8:02

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 8:01AM
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irawon(5a Ottawa)

Lupinguy, sorry to make this more complicated for you BUT another consideration is whether the hosta in question is a slow grower or not.

For example I planted Tokudama Flavocircinalis (slow) behind Cutting Edge (faster), so TF is being dwarfed by CE. I also allowed the widest space for my hostas that any website required, not realizing that my hostas would never reach maximum size because of tree root competition.

What I would do if I were you is average out the width requirement and go from there. Also research your hosta selection as much as you can re size, growth rate, sun tolerance, etc. This is especially important for the larger cultivars. You don't want to have to move Empress Wu for example. I recently moved a five year Bressingham Blue and that was a big chore. As someone above mentioned fill in the bare spots with smaller hostas and other perennials while you wait for the large ones to grow.

BTW it can help to know the ancestry of the hosta in question. The Tokudamas are known to be slow growing. Hallson's is a great website. I have also found Fransen Hostas useful for parentage.

And it never hurts to ask questions. Forearmed is forewarned.

This post was edited by irawon on Mon, Jan 28, 13 at 9:01

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 8:54AM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b


What is important is that the Giants are placed in spots where you will want them to stay. Others can be moved, but a mature Giant plant would require a Bobcat to be moved.

Generally speaking I give 6 feet to a Giant, 4 feet to a Large, 3 feet to a medium and 2 to a small. But there are exceptions to these widths, and as Ken points out each zone, each latitude, each sun exposure, each garden's soil, and each season are different, resulting in different growth. Still I think someone should give some guidelines even given the variation.


    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 8:57AM
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bernd ny zone5

The information in the Hosta Library seems many times to be for young plants and did not get updated as information for mature plants became available. I do not have the Hostapedia, too much paper for me. I agree that L does not give a good idea, it could be 20 or 29 inches height. I like to see information which has height and width in inches of mature plants.
I use the numbers the nursery 'Mickfield Hostas' provides. They show hostas they have grown themselves.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 9:05AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

did you know.. when they find a new plant in TC ... and name it..

wrap your head around this ====>>> they market it.. BEFORE ever growing it to maturity ...

and that answers why you see such great diversity in opinion of ultimate size ...

some plants just have not been around long enough for anyone to know..

they take the two parents.. and INTUIT what might be ultimate size .. and frankly.. they arent very good at it.. lol ...

so when liberty came along in TC .. they simply 'guessed' based on sagae ... since it was tc.. there arent two parents .. just that from which it came ...

and that is why.. the info online.. varies wildly ... THEY ARE ALL GUESSING!!!!

the peeps who are telling you things based on size ranges.. like mini.. large.. giant.. are doing the best they can with RANGES ... because.. as i said.. there are no scientific .. precise answers ...

what you need to do.. is join your local hosta society ... and VISIT GARDENS .... and 'SEE'.. how they grow ...

which loosely means.. turn off the computer.. when summer rolls around ...

IMHO.. the biggest problem with search engines.. is TOO MUCH INFO ... which is the root of your question here ... take all your answers... find the middle.. fit it in a range.. and WING IT ... lol ..

the easy way.. if its height is 36 inches ... then plant it a MIN of 36 inches from the canopy edge of the next ... unless that one is 36 inches also.. then plant those two 72 inches apart ... really now.. what difference will it make.. if it ends up 60 .. or 90???? ===>> as i said.. height is 90% genetic .... so its your most consistent variable ...


    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 9:24AM
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lupinguy(s ontario)

Thanks for the reponces, it all makes sense! Its just nice ot atleast have a ball park but when you see the same hosta shown as a Small Medium and Large its very conflicting! I think I am going to just as Ken said let them grow and move when I need to other then Giants which as of right now I only have a 1 year old Sum and Substance!

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 10:52AM
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I've noticed that folks tend to gravitate to a site online which they trust to give valid information. Hence, Bernd knows how to read Mickfield Hosta, someone else uses Hallson, and then his own authority from personal observation I think. What Steve_Mass says seems like a good rule of thumb, if you put your hosta in the ground. Me, I'm a pot gardener and plan to wing it.

I suppose I'll wind up with a whole shed full of SMALL pots, and still be out there buying the LARGE ones.

Lupin, if you have a hosta that you are not sure about planting, try it in a container for a season, until you see how vigorous a grower it is.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 3:02PM
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Interesting topic. The AHS has a size scale for leaves to be judged. That is one set, and designed for judging. It has been standardized, albeit a plant may grow smaller or larger leaves in a particular geographical area, soil conditions, at at varying ages.

Nurseries have never had a standardized clump size scale. It is currently being worked upon, in fact two weekends ago at the WSM in Chicago area. The AHGA and publishing group of the AHS sat representatives down to try to get everything coordinated. Results will soon be published in hopes that the members of AHGA will set the model for others to follow. The AHS publications will then use the same standards.

The system is based upon height, NOT diameter. Consumers should then be able to get a ball park idea of whether they want the plant in the back, middle, or front of the boarder/garden.

Yes, there is a great degree of difference in the accuracy of info published, tc sports not grown on do come into play, and some hybridizers have taken measurements at 5 yrs. or older before registering the plant.

Sports DO follow general tendencies. More light tissue = smaller than plant it sported from and more dark tissue = larger.

Any gardening is a process of learning and doing, changing and improving, and of course maintaining. We must love the process - otherwise we would all "plant" plastic plants and place them precisely where we think they look best. Would perhaps solve the deer and pest problems :)

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 11:21AM
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irawon(5a Ottawa)

"Sports DO follow general tendencies. More light tissue = smaller than plant it sported from and more dark tissue = larger."
Medabber that makes so much sense. Thanks for the observation. I never realized it before.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 5:14PM
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Just in after posting this a few hours ago. Check it out and suggest it to your favorite retailers.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 7:54PM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

Here's a clickable link. Very useful information. Thanks to the AHGA for doing this.


Here is a link that might be useful: AHGA Clump Size Information

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 8:47PM
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lupinguy(s ontario)

I appreciate the post! I know its not a complete science I just like to try and plan what this are going to potentially look like once everything is mature as I do have a certain look! As I have already mention I guess I will have to accept that I won't know until I get growing!

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 9:37PM
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I gotta love this map!

At least, Paula over there in Jacksonville FL, at the far east end of I-10, made the cut. And I, in Mobile AL about 2 miles south of I-10, am on the map. I see Lafayette LA squeaked by as well, but, oh my, where is Houston? :) LOL

Most appreciate the information. Thanks so much for informing us of its arrival.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 9:47AM
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One of our purchasing agents told me that you should throw out the high number, throw out the low number and average the rest to determine what a fair price is. Seems to me the same technique would work fairly well on estimated sizes as well.


    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 7:46PM
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