British Columbia: Hostas seeds ?

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by vicarious1, Sep 22, 2021.

  1. vicarious1

    vicarious1 Active Member 10 Years

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    Hi these are my favorite hostas in our garden. They make these mini banana like seed pods
    Can I grew and multiply them from these pods
    If so what do I have to do. We have a shade garden under trees that could use these been leafy grey/ greens.
    Actually these other very green ones created the most stunning huge nearly Bell like flowers this year's. I must find the pics. To share it was extra beautiful. Sorry I don't know the names of these. Anyone can share some big bright yellow and green/grey ones next spring? I am in North Burnaby . I gladly share pieces of these. Thank you
     

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  2. Pieter

    Pieter Active Member 10 Years

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    Were the bell-like flowers fragrant?
    To answer the seed question, yes you can sprout hosta seeds. I usually start mine indoors in February, depending on variety they may take 3-4 weeks to sprout. If you have some pictures of the flowers I MIGHT be able to identify the variety. I suspect the green ones to be a fragant cultivar, possibly H. 'Honeybells'.
     
  3. vicarious1

    vicarious1 Active Member 10 Years

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    Thank you. SO I have cut the branches with the seed pods hanging on. I have put them on a paper by the window to dry. Is that the correct thing to do ? How shall I keep them till February ? This makes me happy Much appreciated. I think I might go a a thiefing trip to the parks to see if I can get some pods from other colours. Although only this one in our garden makes really BIG pods.
    I will post pics (yes like trumpet) of the very green Hosta flower I mentioned. Have to find them I take too many flower pics :-)
     
  4. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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    Lots of us here like hostas

    Some do better than others

    Amazingly - they do just fine in fairly dry shade at the coast — even during this varying hot / wet / dry summer 2021

    QUESTIONS

    How old are your hostas? Did they come ore-existing with your property?

    I highly recommend your new hostas get planted in dry shade with some sun each day (i have lots of hostas in large pots - and they do very well)

    How large is each of your favourite hostas?
    I ask because they divide very easily with a sharp garden shovel (I have a sharp clean bread knife from thrift store for this purpose)

    I would take some pix and label while leaves are still vital & visible — then dig in winter and divide them.

    There are many names that are lovely including

    Midwest Magic
    Stained Glass
    Guacamole
    Sum & Substance
    Empress Wu (it is huge!)
    Mouse Ears (it is tiny!)
    Etc

    I think - from a design point of view - repeat the same hosta over and over to « knit » your garden together

    That said - some people like to have a patchwork of one of each like a gallery collection

    I have never tried growing from seed tho my neighbor does - kudos to those skilled gardeners for doing so !
     
  5. vicarious1

    vicarious1 Active Member 10 Years

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    Hello "Pieter" Are you Dutch, Flemish or South African origin? I am Austrian South African mix :-)
    I created a new sort of main day time shade garden under tall cypress and pines .
    So it gets no sun from like 11am till 4-5pm depending the time of the year.
    Most my Hostas are from friends, only a few from shops.
    I am a recycler for everything from plants to rocks, tiles, wood. glass etc
    People can believe it as it doesn't look shabby :-)
    I built at 96sq green house only the screws and pyramid blocks holding the wood upright were new.
    My best are all growing in POTS in shade or semi shade.
    It seems that every time I put them in the soil under the tree they don't do so well.
    So I want to try in pots that I have many always in stock.

    I wanted the bright yellow/green variegated ones but 2x they died under these trees in the soil.
    I'd say the ones with the pods (my biggest) are like 2feet wide and maybe 2-3 feet tall but I stand the pots on
    wooden stumps to they emerge better they are in full shade
    AGE well beside the BIG trees in our garden I started all from scratch 13 years ago when we moved here from RSA. (South Africa)

    This was the sort of beginning only with my first potted trees that I actually bought in a nursery in then center of Richmond near Superstore I recall
    Now it's a jungle :-)
     

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  6. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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    @Pieter - pls see prev post from @vicarious1 - there are some questions for you (as it happens, we too have some old connections to Southern Africa)

    @vicarious1
    Your garden is lovely - nice sunshine and views

    and using so many recycled and salvaged products and plants

    Your approach makes a difference
     
  7. Pieter

    Pieter Active Member 10 Years

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    SO I have cut the branches with the seed pods hanging on. I have put them on a paper by the window to dry. Is that the correct thing to do ?
    VC1, that's not the optimal thing to do, the seeds likely haven't fully ripened as yet. Take a look at the attached pictures.

    P9750920-rectifolia-pods-seeds.JPG
    The first shot is a pod that was savaged, by a furry rodent I suspect, and the pod itself is still green. While the seeds around it look fine, I wouldn't expect a high yield out of those, didn't bother to collect them.
    P9750930-rectifolia-pods-stinkbug.JPG
    This next picture shows pods at various stages of development, the paler they get, the riper they are. It's generally acknowledged that when you have a scape with pods at various stages of development that all the pods will be ripened when the first pod starts to split open.

    P9750931-rectifolia-pod-seeds.JPG
    The last picture shows the stage @ which I prefer to take mine if I'm looking to sprout them. I let them dry on the scape for as long as possible before I collect them and put them in a paper bag or envelop and overwinter them in a dry spot, indoors or outdoors, doesn't really matter but it's easier to keep them dry indoors.
    When you collect seeds from open pollinated hostas it's really a crapshoot as to who's your daddy, you don't know where that pollinator has been before it landed on that flower and started rooting around on the inside for nectar. A rule of thumb is that seeds collected off variegated hostas will result in a high percentage of all-green seedlings, having said that, some varieties are quite vigorous at seed production and a variety called 'Revolution' for example does throw some streaked or variegated seedlings along with what are called fatal whites, which don't have enough chlorophyll to develop properly. The only hostas that come true from seed are species, there's about 38 of them and none are particularly common in the trade. Hybrids and cultivars rule the hosta trade, with around 10,000 or so named varieties out there.
    I won't discourage anyone from trying their hand at sprouting hosta seeds, just be aware that you will likely NOT get replicas of what you have and who knows, you may well get something unique. When I sow hosta seed I'm quite ruthless when it comes to culling and I'll start that as early as cotyledon stage such as with fatal whites and then by the time the 3rd set of true leaves starts to develop you'll get an idea of what the potential is. Serious hosta hybridizers will grow 1000 seedlings and up and start those off indoors not long after the seeds were harvested, by the time spring rolls around they'll be ready go outside to grow on and the culling process will be a constant one, with only select few being kept back for in field growing the next year for further evaluation and garden worthiness.
    I'm a transplanted dike-plugger, born in Rotterdam, and while I can still express myself somewhat in my mother tongue it is now very much a foreign language to me.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2021
  8. Pieter

    Pieter Active Member 10 Years

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    GS, I don't really want to hijack VC1's thread, but yes, I'm a hostaholic, I'm around 80-100 plants, mostly all in pots. I have 4 species, the rest all hybrids and I've kept back a handful of seedlings over the past few years that I think are garden worthy. Because I'm on a small suburban lot -just under 5000 sq ft- I tend to favour the smaller varieties but having said that I have an 'Empress Wu' that had 39 shoots on it this year! We're in the process of doing major renovations to the house in preparation for a move to a larger property, likely on the island, and I have not bothered with growing hosta seedlings this year and probably won't next year either, takes too much time and space. All of last year's seedlings -guess you could call those yearlings- were given away late spring.
    Thanks to Wendy I have now figured out how to insert images, so....
    P9740133-hostacorner-north.JPG
    First shot gives an overview of a section that receives a fair bit of direct sun. Far right/upper is 'Tiki Torch' -not available in the trade, probably the only one in Canada- 'Rainforest Sunrise' is doing it's best just below it, next to it is 'Feather Boa' and the yellow one is 'Dawn's Early Light', one of favourite ones in spring, it's viridescent so it's green come this time of year.
    P9740132-hostacorner-north.JPG
    This next picture, in the red draped hypertufa pot is what is invariably the earliest breaking one I have, 'Chinese Sunrise', always a reliable performer. Just above it in the large draped tufa pot is 'Guacamole' with a division of it in the 5 gallon pot just to the right of it, behind 'Chinese Sunrise', and to the left is a relative: 'Stained Glass' and over the summer an interesting thing occurred in this grouping. The variegated one far right is 'Sugar and Spice'. Yes, I do have a thing for fragrant-flowered hostas. The 'Guacamole' to the right, in the 5 gallon pot, has decided to sport over the summer to 'Stained Glass', haven't taken a close enough look to see how many shoots have gone off script.... Hostas will sport, they're not particularly stable, they will sport. I've seen sporting this year on about 5% of the plants I have, most of that will likely not re-occur on the same plant next year, an example of that is the third picture, a shoot on a variegated small hosta called 'Princess of Karafuto' that had a couple of all-white leaves and the other leaves had a much wider variegation.
    P9740290-princessofkarafuto-sport.JPG
    This particular shoot developed a few pods that had white stripes on them, a classic sign of the distinct possibility of variegated seedlings and unfortunately the same bloody rodent that went after the pot I showed chewed in the previous post decided that of all the scapes on this plant that one was the juiciest one, so nothing doing. Very unfortunate. Hopefully the sporting shoot shows again next year and based on post experience with another sport that showed this much change in its first year there is a good chance it will.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2021
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  9. wcutler

    wcutler Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Pieter, see the second video at Attach photos and files | UBC Botanical Garden Forums. There is text under the video with a description of the process. You can edit your posting above by clicking Edit, then More options. From there, you can place your cursor, then click the Thumbnail button for the photo you want to go where your cursor is. The process is the same when you are uploading photos.
     
  10. Pieter

    Pieter Active Member 10 Years

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    Thanks Wendy! As you can see I have made changes. I do wish there were more formatting options, but, it is what it is at the moment, I'll do a bit more digging and see if I can find some more details on that.
     
  11. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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    @Acerholic - you like Hostas too and have a well-labelled display (based on pix I have viewed here on forums)

    I wondered if you’ve seen this recent thread asking for input

    The OP is on a sunny slope (a steep hill) in Burnaby which is a nice city that adjoins Vancouver (it blends together on east side of city)
     
  12. Pieter

    Pieter Active Member 10 Years

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    I'm with you on the recycling bit! While I don't have a permanent greenhouse -yard's too small- I do repurpose many things, for example last year I built a sideboard and hutch out of repurposed channel siding we replaced on the house the year before.
    Hostas can become very stunted and just waste away when grown under shallow rooted trees or shrubs. Mine are in pots largely because the roots of the cedar hedge are so close to the surface. Matter of fact those roots become very evident when you lift a 5-gallon pot out of the way for repositioning or re-potting. You can't even dig the pots halfway into the ground because the roots will come in through the drainage holes. I have a couple of 'June's planted in "spin-out bags" which are made from a material that drains and repels tree roots, that's the only way I can grown them in the ground under the cedar hedge.
     
  13. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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    I am curious @Pieter - what are « spin out bags » and where does one purchase them?

    Do they last a long time in Vancouver SW BC climate

    Do you have a photo?

    Thank you
     
  14. Pieter

    Pieter Active Member 10 Years

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    GS, they're made from a Canadian manufactured product and I bought them from a US supplier, matter of fact, you made reference to them in a post last year. I've had mine for I think it's 4 or 5 years and they're not showing any signs of wear. As you mentioned in said post, Wildrose Distributing was in the process of discontinuing the product and the url you gave is now dead, so it's safe to assume they're sold out. A quick Google search brought up a US company called Hostaplantingbags. Follow the link and you'll see pictures. I seem to recall the ones from Wildrose were more expensive, but I'm not @ my desktop computer, so I can't begin to try and figure that out, which ultimately is futile anyway seeing as they no longer are available.
    20210930_184232.jpg
    This is the way they ship, you open them up and turn them inside out to use.
    20210930_184344.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2021
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  15. Pieter

    Pieter Active Member 10 Years

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  16. vicarious1

    vicarious1 Active Member 10 Years

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    Hello Peter
    Thanks for reply. Sorry was just busy watching my seeds dry (hosta that is:-) Now could you enlighten me which on is the actual seed. Is it the dark near black petals inside the popped open pods or is the tiny tiny grains along the wall of the pods? So delicate. For such strong majestic plants.. Amazing. Thanks for your advise and do I put them in the fridge? Thank you very much. Finally done Sun to do some cleaning garden work. I thought the sun died of COVID.
    Cheers. Have Great weekend.
     

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  17. Pieter

    Pieter Active Member 10 Years

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    The article I linked to shows the seeds in their husk and the bare seed once they've been cleaned. The only reason I can think of for cleaning them is to eliminate any chance of mould or fungus developing on the husks. Personally I have never bothered with that. I've also never bothered keeping the seed in the fridge or freezer, just put them in a small paper envelop and kept them dry.
    The picture you posted shows a nice crop of seeds BTW.

    The serious hosta breeders will start their seeds indoors late fall/early winter, under lights, and have the seedlings ready to be potted up and go outside come spring and have them grow big enough to even potentially have them flower and set seed their first year. These folks will grow thousands upon thousands of seedlings and do extreme culling to end up with perhaps a few dozen plants that show promise. Whenever I've sown seed and grown seedlings my guiding principle is that first of all it has to have vigour and secondly there has to something potentially unique about it. So I look at leaf shape, colouration and growth habit, if it strikes me as having potential as a mature plant I'll grow it on rather than give it away or assign to the compost. Then in their second year we'll see how many offsets it produces and I keep an eye on the flowers. I kept back an open pollinated seedling out of 'Hacksaw' which I labeled as "Tousled Hair" -because that's what the growth habit reminded me of- and over the years I've had it the flowers have shown a very unique form: they haven't ever fully opened up, the petals are fused.

    If you have a cold frame I'd suggest sowing the hosta seeds around late March and let nature take its course. Sprouting may be 2-3 weeks, depending on ambient temperature.

    Good luck! Let me know if there are more questions....
     
  18. vicarious1

    vicarious1 Active Member 10 Years

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    HAHA a Dike Plugger that's intriguing if not "funny" the least to say. Is that sort of an expression of anyone from the Netherlands? Or was that really a carreer lets highten this to an engineering level and stop the sea kind of work?
    Wow I only got this message today but see that others got interested in my post
    especially when I read "'Empress Wu' that had 39 babies. Is ther one for sale or exchange before moving to the Island
    but then I can only offer tiny concubines or hand made Chinese dumplings for an "Empress Wu" as I only read she's the biggest I have never seen one live in a garden. Please share pictures with
    We'll only get more envious. I tried to order online the are always sold out.
    I am happy to read that my seeds are looking fine still I don't know is the dark elongated wing like thingy or the tiny dots inbetween.
    Meanwhile they are still trying by the window and I will do my best to get them going in an incubator
    I was wondering I do have a greenhouse that is only 1/2 exposed to early to noon sun due to a 20m pine
    but it's not heated and rather lofty it's all recycled naturally. In summer I do tomatoes in there
    but I was thinking maybe I can start them there its about 2m2 25cm deep
    but I think in winter it goes close to 3-4C if the weather is very cold.
    I did try the terracotta pots and candles and big water pots but it did not make a big difference.
    I realize I don't take many pics of the inside of my greenhouse this a few steps of the building process
    Lucky so many people building houses throw so many good nearly new and lots of old wood away.
    This was a carpark space next to our garage that become a dumping spot for local students so we fenced it off
    then three years I grew veggies in elevated beds. The students still hoop shot coffee cups etc to annoy us
    so came the idea to built it up and make a sundeck and mini health club in front of it
    It makes me very happy ALL recycled
     

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  19. Pieter

    Pieter Active Member 10 Years

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    The expression finds its origin in the fable of the little Dutch boy sticking his finger in the dike to stop the flooding...or so the story goes...
    Hosta 'Empress Wu' has PBR in Canada and as such I cannot sell you any offsets. Technically I cannot even divide the plant but if you won't tell, I'm not talking...
    When you start seeing the spring mail-order catalogues pop-up again -should fairly be soon- check out places like Botanus, Brecks and Veseys to see if they offer it for 2022 as a bare root.
    I ordered mine as a bare root plant from Botanus, back in 2014. Giant hostas like the Empress take a few years to grow to size, BTW.
    It's the 'winged things' you're after, and you'll see the actual seed on one end, should be rounded and hard.
    Your greenhouse contraption should work a charm for getting the seeds started late winter/ early spring!
    P9740012-empresswu.JPG P9740053-empresswu.JPG P9740342-empresswu.JPG P9740198-empresswu.JPG
     
  20. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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    @Pieter and other hosta seed growers

    i have always bought a full plant fr store

    And following your conversation here, I am now curious about what the seedling looks like

    i think the term is « cotyledon »
    Cotyledon - Wikipedia

    If you have a photo to post, i am curious

    i have some Swiss Chard in « two leaf phase » in a sheltered container (and hopefully some viola) so I am doing my own informal cotyledon study
     
  21. Pieter

    Pieter Active Member 10 Years

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    P1080376_hacksaw_sdlg_op.JPG Here's container with hosta seedlings from back in 2012. They're open-pollinated from a variety called 'Hacksaw' and if you look closely you'll see quite the variability in terms of leaf and petiole colour. There's the obvious greens -pod parent is green- and you'll find some of the yellow seedlings have reddish petioles.
     
  22. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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    Fascinating - thank you for the photo of your infant hostas

    it’s hard to imagine Empress Wu ever being that tiny

    WHEN do Hosta seedlings start to show their adult leaf characteristics? Example - a leaf with variegation like Stained Glass (green yellow) - does it show from the beginning?

    i suppose this seedling stage is the only time in Hosta plant life that the leaf appears fully from start — when it’s an adult, the leaf emerges tightly wrapped out of ground as a group of spikes — then each spike « unfurls »
     
  23. Pieter

    Pieter Active Member 10 Years

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    P1080064_seedlings_hacksaw_op.JPG The detail isn't quite what I'd like it to be but this shows seeds just beginning to sprout. You may be able to see the adult leaf characteristics with some varieties starting with the first or second leaf, but that'll vary somewhat. Certainly you'll be able to tell once they get to the 4 leaf stage what the colour will be with a high degree of confidence, having said that, with some characteristics, such as lutescence for example, you may have to wait until later in the season. Variegation or streaking will show up soon as the leaves grow, so you'll see it right off the bat.
     
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