The American Hosta Society is an international, not-for-profit, educational, scientific society formed to foster and promote knowledge and interest in the genus Hosta through education and outreach, to encourage the introduction and development of new and improved varieties of hostas into cultivation, and to promote the registration of new cultivars in our role as the ICRA (International Cultivar Registration Authority) for the genus Hosta.
A Message from the American Hosta Society President
Click to Read the President's Message
Welcome to the American Hosta Society (AHS) website!
We are the national plant society concerned with everything hosta. The AHS offers many opportunities to learn about and celebrate hostas, which have been the most popular perennial plant for many years.
Whether you are new to hosta gardening or have been an AHS member for many years, the resources offered by the society are numerous. Membership in the AHS provides you with the following benefits and opportunities:
- A subscription to the award-winning The Hosta Journal, a magazine-quality publication featuring exquisite, full-color photographs, feature articles, and columns covering all aspects of the genus Hosta.
- Access to the electronic The Online Journal, featuring extensive write-ups and photo coverage of our annual national conventions, available through the Members Only section of this website
- Locations of and access to information about more than 25 AHS National Display Gardens found in many regions of the country, as well as other hosta display gardens, many of which are open only to AHS members.
- A listing of reputable hosta growers and vendors available on this website.
- Periodic notification about what’s new and “hot” in the hosta world, including receiving the annual list of newly registered hostas.
- Information about activities for both members and non-members, including national and regional conventions, garden tours, hosta sales and auctions, hosta shows and educational activities on a national, regional or local society level.
- Two hosta auction a year: a live auction of rare and interesting hostas and other garden plants and gardening accessories during the summer national convention; and an online auction in January featuring similar plant material. Proceeds from both auctions help cover society expenses not covered by membership dues.
- Most importantly, developing new and, many times, life-long friendships with people across the country that share a similar interest in hostas, affectionately called the “friendship” plant. Learning from other members and sharing your experiences with them is truly the greatest benefit of membership in any hosta organization.
- A highlight each year is the AHS national convention, held during the summer and hosted by a local hosta society, the location of which varies year to year. Convention events and activities include garden tours, an accredited Hosta Show, educational workshops and seminars, a vending room offering a wide selection of hostas, companion plants and other garden accessories, and an awards banquet to recognize deserving members of the AHS. The convention also provides a unique opportunity to meet fellow hosta gardeners, hybridizers, growers and friends.
For more than 50 years, the American Hosta Society has been celebrating our favorite plant and extolling its many virtues to all who would listen. I extend a personal invitation to those of you who are not members to consider joining our numbers. It’s easy to do. Just click here for more information and our membership application form.
President, American Hosta Society
The American Hosta Society (AHS) is a society dedicated to the study and improvement of the genus Hosta and the dissemination of general and scientific knowledge about them. There are many benefits for its members that result from these efforts, both social and in the nursery trade.
As a consequence of the society’s goals it is recognized by the US Government as a not-for-profit educational and scientific organization and has been granted 501(c)(3) status. Why is this important? Because it allows members of the society to make tax-deductible contributions to the society which helps it to achieve its goals.
The AHS Board of Directors works hard to define and balance the activities and focus of the Society. Most ongoing activities are delegated to specific committees which function under the guidance of the committee chair and report to the President and the Board of Directors at regular intervals. In addition, many report their progress at AHS meetings and publish them (particularly in the areas of basic sciences and nomenclature) in The Hosta Journal.
All of these benefits of membership result from the multitude of volunteers and the numerous hours they donate to the success of the society. If you are interested in participating more actively in one or more of these areas please contact the relevant committee chairperson listed on the Board of Directors page.
AHS Committee Descriptions
The American Hosta Society is dedicated to the study of the genus Hosta. Part of the many benefits provided for members and the hosta nursery trade is the Society’s involvement in maintaining standards for the classification and nomenclature of Hosta species and cultivars. The society has made this task part of its mission by maintaining a classification and nomenclature committee and by supporting the registration of Hosta cultivars.
The mission of the nomenclature committee is to prevent confusion over species and cultivar names in the gardening world and establish standards by which hostas are named. In botany and horticulture, the naming of plant species follow the rules of the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants. The rules for naming garden plants (cultivars), are set forth in the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants (ICNCP), published by the International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS).
Cultivar names are registered by the International Registrar Genus Hosta under the auspices of the American Hosta Society. More information is available on the Hosta Registry website at www.hostaregistrar.org. Registration provides benefit to registrants by establishing a record of “ownership” of a cultivar (and its name), and provides the means for having cultivar names and their description published per ICNCP rules.
The Hosta Journal
The Hosta Journal is widely regarded as one of the premier specialty horticultural publications in America. This alone would be worth the price of membership. The editing and solicitation of articles is performed with great skill and dedication by a highly qualified and talented staff.
The journal has been successful because it blends a mixture of pragmatic gardening articles, information about newly developed cultivars as well as those of great interest, information about organizational activities across the US, articles deemed of scientific interest and merit, and other subjects related to the AHS and/or hostas. The decision by the editors to strive for this mix has resulted in a publication which is read and appreciated by virtually all of our members. It is not a trade journal, nor a social journal, nor a (dry) scientific journal. It is geared to cover the hosta front and provide the latest and most reliable information about hostas — in particular on how to identify, breed and grow them as well as their backgrounds and characteristics.
The Hosta Journal is now mailed twice a year with a third Convention issue online in the members only area of the AHS website. This is a great expense for the Society due to the extremely high quality of the numerous color photographs of plants and gardens that are included. These illustrations are one of the keystones of the publication and the result has been widely hailed as the bench mark for quality among gardening and horticultural scientific/educational publications. The Library of Congress has an on going subscription as do many university horticultural libraries, academic gardening societies and arboretums both in the USA and abroad.
The Hosta Journal is our single largest expense and the money for producing it comes from our dues and our National Auctions of Donated Plants.
There are two auction committees. The National Online Auction is a committee of one that handles the entire auction. It comes on line in January of each year with donations from individuals and businesses from all over the country.
The National Convention Plant Auction occurs at the annual AHS Convention. Donations from individual members and large commercial growers feature rare and valuable hostas and some other fine plants and other materials. These donations further the work of the AHS and are primarily used to support our fantastic Journal. This is a place where members can obtain plants that are literally “not for sale” anywhere. The largest single donor is given an engraved plaque at the Convention Awards Banquet. The auction is run entirely by volunteer help from the sponsoring local hosta society with national assistance. The AHS auction committee also sponsors an Internet auction. Watch this site for dates and how to participate in the next on-line auction. Both of these auctions are exciting events and truly worth your participation. You need not be a member of AHS to participate.
Exhibitions & Judges
This committee provides information on how to conduct flower and leaf shows to the public at large — members and non-members — free (there is on occasion a small charge to cover the cost of printed matter and other enduring materials).
The committee conducts the largest hosta show in the world each year at the annual convention. At this show the latest cultivars are exhibited, educational displays provided, artistic displays are entered by national champion flower arrangers, and the finest examples of registered cultivars are entered into competition for awards (plaques and ribbons). There is a special class for new seedlings and sports of existing plants and for container-grown plants from hothouses. The Show is always free to the public and has been a valuable vehicle for attracting interest and enthusiasm for hostas and for the love of gardening.
The Show is judged by a panel of accredited Master Judges. Apprentice Judges train with them at this show during and after the judging process. The Master Judges also run clinics/workshops for other members who wish to improve/maintain their skills at the AHS Convention. There is no charge for this training.
Other clinics are operated by the Master Judges at various local hosta societies around the country throughout the year under the auspices of the American Hosta Society and coordinated by the Chairs of the Exhibition and Judges Committees. There is no fee for the clinics and the Master Judges are volunteers. Meticulous records are kept of the judges status and the results of the Show conducted by the AHS at their convention as well as the shows sanctioned by them at the local society meetings.
AHS eNewsletter & Publications
The AHS e-Newsletter is published quarterly and emailed directly to all our worldwide membership and anyone interested in hostas. It includes Regional and local news and events, passes on good ideas and practice from the various clubs and societies together with information ephemeral to the world of hostas.
The Vice President of Publications, works with the The Hosta Journal Editor, the Online Journal Editor, the E-Newsletter Editor and others to produce and makes them available to members and others for purchase upon request.
Awards & Honors
The American Hosta Society is a world-wide organization made up entirely of volunteers whose garden passions revolve, for the most part, around one plant. As a society we recognize those individuals whose contributions enhance the growth and well being of the society. These awards are contributed by local and the national society and by private individuals. At the local level, awards are given by local societies. Judges award individual hosta gardeners for outstanding leaves and plants at local hosta shows.
Awards are offered at national conventions for the national show. In addition we recognize individual contributions to the genus Hosta, to the growers and hybridizers who advance hosta, and to those people who advance the society as a whole.
A volunteer committee from a local hosta society(s), (applied and accepted), organizes and orchestrates the yearly National Convention of the American Hosta Society. This is a multi-day event and has occurred yearly for over twenty years (prior to this it was held every other year). At the Convention the business meeting of the Society is held and the AHS Board of Directors meets to determine policy and to give direction to the President and the Executive Committee who are responsible for day-to-day functioning of the Society and provide support for the various committees of the AHS.
There are Scientific Sessions, a Hosta Show, a National Garden Tour, and a Plant Auction mandated by our bylaws. In addition, this is where the workshops are held for: Editors of newsletters, local gardening societies, Judges training clinics, beginner’s introduction-to-hostas seminars, and other similar programs. There are usually two banquets. One, at which the business meeting is held and an Educational Speaker addresses the Society and the other at which awards are made and outstanding contributions to the Genus Hosta are recognized. As the Society grows larger and more complex the National Convention has become one of our shinning stars.
The entire event is run by volunteers from the local society(s) who get guidance from the AHS – Executive VP and previous convention volunteers, but for the most part do it themselves
The historian assembles and maintains an archive containing all the publications of the American Hosta Society and most (if not all of the publications) of the local and regional hosta groups and societies in the United States, Canada, and England. They assemble all the memorabilia of the AHS Conventions and Scientific Meetings and the records of business meetings and important ad hoc task forces.
The historian has assembled and catalogued the papers of important figures in the development of hostas and hosta societies in America (e.g. Mrs. Glen Fisher and Mrs. Julia Geissler). They store photographs and videotapes of important scientific conferences (for example the Winter Scientific Meetings) and will make any of these available to scholars interested in doing research in these areas. The historian is an unpaid volunteer.
National Display Gardens
A committee of volunteers searches for, solicits nominations for, and inspects public and private gardens of outstanding merit to determine their merit to serve as hosta display gardens. These gardens are subjected to rigorous scrutiny to ensure they have accurate labeling of the plants, sufficient educational and artistic merit, and conformance with the stringent requirements set forth in Official AHS National Display Garden Status Requirements as listed in the section Community-Display Gardens on this website. Gardens accepted as national display gardens are awarded a plaque displaying the title “Display Garden of the American Hosta Society.” For a photograph of this plaque and a list of the display gardens of the American Hosta Society, go to Display Gardens.
At the 1980 AHS Convention, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held in Chanhassen, Minnesota, marking the establishment of the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum’s Hosta Glade as the first official AHS Display Garden. At the time, the Hosta Glade was without equal. It was one of the few public gardens anywhere focusing on the use of hostas in a landscape, and it had one of the largest and best hosta collections in the world. It remained the sole AHS Display Garden for over a decade.
Since then, other dynamic hosta societies have established public hosta gardens that have met the criteria required for designation as an AHS Display Garden: an educational mission, a significantly large and appropriately labeled collection and a commitment to maintain the garden.
The idea behind this program is to encourage local societies to support public gardens. We firmly believe that the more people that see hostas, the more they will like them, potentially increasing membership in The American Hosta Society (which is international in scope) and in local societies. The AHS has established criteria to assure a certain level of quality in its official display gardens. It is our hope that every local society will help sponsor at least one public garden, and perhaps even multiple gardens.
Visit the Display Gardens page for more information.
The standing committees include the Memorials Chair, the Advisory Board, the Popularity Poll Chair, Ways and Means Committee, the Parliamentarian, and many others.