You know when you type a topic into the Google search bar and it offers you questions, presumably from a list of common questions asked by others?

What part of the hosta is poisonous?

Oh, that’s not a good start. But it ends worse.

The entire plant, including the Hosta flowers, leaves, stems, and bulbs will make your dog sick and can be fatal in rare cases.

All right, then. What part? All parts.

And not just dogs get sick, although that would be bad enough: Hostas are toxic to cats and horses. Slugs and deer, on the other hand, can chow down on hostas with impunity. Sluggish adult humans can also eat them; children, as dear as they may be, should nevertheless refrain.

But my question was not, or had not been, about the toxicity of hostas. Instead, I was wondering whether they were hardy in Alberta. I’d never grown hostas until I moved to Ontario. Was it the plant or just me?

Just me, as this Edmonton-area greenhouse blog makes clear.

They’re one of Canada’s favourite perennials for 3 good reasons:
they’re low maintenance, totally rock in the shade,
and have more elegance in one leaf than most perennials have in their whole plant. – Salisbury Greenhouse (St. Albert and Sherwood Park, AB)

What made me think of hostas this week? The afternoon sun intermittently lighting up the shade under my put-upon magnolia tree and slanting across the elegant leaves of not one but two toxic and yet low-maintenance hosta plants. Hey, nobody’s perfect.

Green ribs curve inward
inviting admiration.
Look, but don’t nibble.



This entry was posted in Appreciating Deeply, Laughing Frequently, Photos of Flora and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to h-o-s-t-a

  1. Dorothy says:

    Yes they grow very well in Alberta. Even my brown thumbs have kept a few alive. But now thanks to you I will keep the dog away from them. Though perhaps dogs are smarter than humans. She doesn’t seem very interested in them.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Dorothy – <> They often seem to be. 🙂 It’s a shame that hostas aren’t just slightly bad for squirrels. I’m still looking for a deterrent.

  2. Ralph says:

    Nice photos !

  3. Glad to know the decrease in hosta life in my fading gardens is a bonus for the cats and dogs!

  4. Carla says:

    They do grow in Alberta, but not nearly as prolifically as in Ontario or BC — they’re puny in comparison 😉 And, there’s a part of me that’s glad they’re not harmful to deer, and another part (the part that peers out my front window at my collection of nearly 20 hostas that have been mowed to the ground by the local deer) that wishes hostas would at least give them a little belly ache!!

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Carla – Oh, no. Maybe we can get the gene editors working on a hosta that just makes a deer forget what it was doing.

  5. Tom Watson says:

    When I left Guelph this morning to drive to Toronto, it was quite foggy. That certainly indicates the last gasp of the garden.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Tom – Yeah, we’re cool every AM now – if we were anywhere near open water we’d have fog, I expect. Now it’s a mad race to get the neglected garden cleaned up before it snows all over it.

  6. The east side of my yard between my house and the next one is being taken over by uninvited but welcome hostas. My search revealed that there are about a billion varieties, which probably means they grow well in any part of the world. Your photos are beautiful, and evidently a different variety than the ones that grow in my side yard.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Judith – Lovely. I think we have at least 3 of those billion varieties right here, but I have no idea any longer what they are although I remember planting them. Like cars, I picked them by colour. They are still, apparently, growing – the rest of the yard has been packed away but I hate to cut down a green plant.

Comments are closed.