Sunday, June 6, 2010

Miniature Hostas

Have you seen the little hostas that sometimes rise only a wee 6” above the soil? They are cute miniature hostas - tiny versions of the big leafy plants most of you know and hopefully love. These little hostas are just too adorable to pass up when I’m hosta shopping and I now have about 33 of these petite hostas in my collection. However, they may not all be minis. Many a hosta has been registered as a mini and bought as a mini only to grows out of its size classification as it matures over a number of years. Did you know it can take some hostas as many as five years to mature and show their true characteristics?
When you own mini hostas, one of the challenges is how to display them. They may be cute, however sometimes they are so tiny that they appear insignificant in the landscape. I originally designed two places to display my minis. I thought if I grouped them together, they would have more impact. Not really so. They were still small and insignificant. 
They are adorable, however after viewing these pictures I believe you can understand why placing them next to their bigger brethren does nothing to highlight their cute stature.  In fact, many an online hosta forum topic has explored options for displaying miniature hostas. The one solution that seems to me to have the most impact is to place these little darlings in a raised bed of some sort to provide closer viewing.
So I finally decided to create a raised area for my mini hostas. I chose to do this with a grouping of containers. The perfect setting for these containers was under a maple tree that casts wonderful shade; however the root system of the tree killed any hosta planted within five feet of the tree trunk.

This display houses about 2/3 of my collection.  Here are a couple of my other favorites that are not shown in the display.
Blue Mouse Ears


Here are a couple of nice mini hostas displays I photographed in other people's gardens.  In both cases, the garden owners created raised beds for their minis using cobbles or stone.

A mini display in the Adams Garden in Rhode Island.

A nice display of miniature hostas in the Apter Garden in Connecticut.
And back to the debate on size. A miniature hosta is determined by the leaf size - leaf length X leaf width. It has nothing to do with the spread of the clump. The American Hosta Society (AHS) judge’s handbook indicates that the miniature hosta leaf size can be no greater than 6 square inches. There has been much discussion about this size criteria for the reason noted above. A recent article in the AHS Hosta Journal suggests that the powers that be are looking to increase the mini leaf size somewhat...stay tuned.


  1. Your mini Hosta display well in your trough and metal containers. I like the contrasting mixed groups with solid, white margins and white centres. I don't have any minis, but my smallest is Ginko Craig.

  2. Do you know of Kathy Guest Shadrack? She's got a new book out now on mini hostas with her husband, Mike Shadrack. They live here in Buffalo (I just left a meeting with them) and I have not yet seen her book in person. Can't wait to get a copy. Yours is the nicest collection of mini hostas I've seen outside of theirs!


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