This plant originates from Asia, China but mainly from Japan, for centuries this plant has been used in Japanese garden architecture. It as especially chosen because of the lovely form of the leaves, the colors green and blue and its total beauty. The first mention of the Hosta was by the Dutch. In 1712 the V.O.C (United- Eastindian Company) got permission from the Japanese to found a trading-post on this island of Deschima situated off the coast of Nagasaki.
The first drawings and descriptions of the Hosta are from this period. They were mainly made by Engelbert Kaempfer (1651-1715) a doctor and at the same time botanic for the V.O.C and he was one of the first westerners to really see a Hosta. Keampfer spend a lot of time in discribing and drawing the plant and because linneus had not published his works yet he named these plants. Some times the names were rather funny, for instance "Joksan, vulgo gibbooschi Gladiolus plantagenis folio" meaning: The common Hosta with "plantain like" leaves and another Hosta he called : The other Hosta (Gibbooshi altera).
Carl Thunberg (1743-1828) the doctor who succeeded Kaempfer at the V.O.C on Deschima, gave the Hostas new names and now according to Linneus In 1812 the Austrian botanic Leopold Trattinick (1761-1848) used the familyname Hosta for the first time.
It took several years before Hostas came to Western Europe. The first Hostas to come were two Chinese varieties, the Hosta plantaginea (between 1784 en 1789 from Macao to Paris) and Hosta ventricosa (in 1790 from China to London).
Doctor Philipp Franz von Siebold (1796-1866) who worked at Leyden University played an important role in getting the Hosta all over Europe. He was able to collect and cultivate many varieties. Most of these varieties first went to the Leyden Hortus Botanicus. Fourteen varieties are still to be seen in Leyden.
Von Siebold alse owned a nursery on the Zoeterwoudse Singel in Leyden. In 1899 this Nursery stopped to exist.
During a Hundred years not much changed in the range of the Hosta. Around 1965 the number of hostas for sale in the Netherlands was about thirty. Now in 2001 there are about 2000. There are now lots of colour tones and sizes.