Hosta 'White Christmas'

The wide white medial variegation of this hosta accounts for its name. It is a slow growing plant of unidentified parentage which grows into a medium size hosta about 15 inches tall with a spread of 35 inches. Pale lavender flowers bloom from mid-July into August but are sterile and do not set seeds. This cultivar was registered by Peter Ruh of Ohio in 1999 on behalf of the originator, "Palmer" of New York and Gus Krossa of Michigan who introduced it around 1971.

Since this cultivar lacks chlorophyll in much of the leaf surface area, it produces thin leaf tissue. This is more easily damaged by hot, dry weather and may be more attractive to slugs. It also makes it a rather slow growing, tender plant overall.

The Hostapedia by Mark Zilis (2009), says that this is the stable form of a streaked plant once known as Hosta fortunei 'Krossa Variegated' that was available decades ago.

According to The Hostapedia by Mark Zilis (2009), "Probably its main claim to fame is being the mother plant of 'Night before Christmas' which has a much better growth rate."

The New Encyclopedia of Hostas by Diana Grenfell (2009) states in its Hosta Hybrids for Connoisseurs chapter: "Origin: Stable form of H. 'Fortunei Krossa Variegated'. Once thought to be a sport of H. 'Undulata'...Early to emerge. Careful siting is essential...Succeeds best in cooler regions and requires expert cultivation...The raceme is often surrounded by attractive ivory bracts, finely margined dark green."


An article by Akira Horinaka in The Hosta Journal (2006 Vol. 37 No. 1) says,  "Other white-centered hostas with bold green borders are 'Banana Boat', 'Warwick Delight', 'Pandora's Box', 'Sea Thunder' and 'Fire and Ice'. Those with a narrow green border include 'Morinji Nishiki', 'Otome-no-mai', 'Hakuba' and 'White Christmas'."

Mikiko Lockwood in an article on The Hosta Library titled, A Little About Japanese Hosta Terms defines the term otome as maiden, 'Otome Gibōshi' or H. venusta and the term nishiki as brocade (rich-colored woven fabric) i.e. something colorful and beautiful.

Warren I. Pollock in The Hosta Journal (2006 Vol. 37 No. 2) writes that, "...'Christmas Candy'...a new hosta discovered by Gert van Eijk-Bos in tissue-culturing 'Night before Christmas' the Vitro Westland propagation laboratory in Rijswijk, Holland...How do 'Christmas Candy', 'Night before Christmas' and the old timer 'White Christmas' compare?...all three have pure white leaf centers and dark green leaf borders."

A summary of Pollock's comparisons of 'Christmas Candy' (CC), 'Night before Christmas' (NbC) and 'White Christmas' (WC) included:

     - Width of green margin: NbC - widest  CC - mid   WC - narrowest

     - Clump height: NbC - tallest  CC - mid  WC - shortest

     - Upright growth habit:  NbC and CC more upright than WC

     - Resistance to melting out (leaf substance): CC - thick substance may be a tetraploid - NbC somewhat resistant - WC often damaged

James K. Langhammer and Mark Derrick wrote an article in The Hosta Journal (2012 Vol. 43 No. 2) titled, "H. 'White Christmas' - a Victim of Identity Theft". They point out that, historically, the first plants sold as 'White Christmas' originated with hosta pioneer Gus Krossa. It was a small plant with a wide, white medial (center) variegation which had a reputation for being difficult to grow. A somewhat larger, hardier type was later developed at Mobjack Nursery and was sold as 'White Christmas' but is not the original plant. To further confuse the issue, they claim that the 'White Christmas' that was registered by Peter Ruh in 1999 on behalf of the deceased, Gus Krossa, fits the description of the Mobjack plant and not the Krossa, smaller one. The article concludes that there should be two names to differentiate the plants. H. 'Krossa's White Christmas' and 'Mobjack's White Christmas' were suggested.

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