plantaginea sports - are they worth the trouble?

bkay2000(8a TX)March 10, 2013

My plantaginea turned out to be an Aphrodite, which turned out to have flowers that don't open. My Venus seems to be a poor specimen. It still had juvenile leaves in it's second year. (Both came from dedicated hosta growers.) I'm not looking to repeat these two plants.

However, how can you live in Texas with our March 1 to November 15 growing season, love hosta and not try to make Aphrodite and Venus work?

It looks like getting more of these plants is limited to Made in the Shade and Wade and Gatton. Wade has Venus listed as "OS" for $50.00. MITS has very reasonable prices on plantaginea, Aphrodite and Venus. W&G has reasonable prices on the other two.

Chris says there are some Aphrodite that open. He doesn't currently have any. If I interpreted what he said correctly, he seemed to think it was a bad strain of Aphrodite that had gone into tissue culture and had proliferated (the one that doesn't open).

The Aphrodite I have is Q&Z. It was supposed to be plantaginea. It could have really been a plantaginea that sported in TC. Or, it could have been mixed up at either Q&Z or the grower level.

So the questions are:

Does Venus grow well for you or anyone you know?

Does it bloom?

Have you known of an Aphrodite that has open blooms fairly regularly?

Would you avoid another Q&Z Aphrodite?

Would you expect a grower to know if the plant he sells, blooms with open blossoms?

Or, would you just get a real plantaginea, chunk the Aphrodite and the Venus if it's the same this year, forget the rest of them, and go on down the hosta road to the crosses?


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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

expecting a TC producer to grow on his plants for 3 to 5 years.. to maturity.. to verify flower form.. would lead you to pay a lot more than $50 for a plant .. i would guess ...

i find it hard to believe.. that only two sellers have the plants you want ... i would suggest that perhaps more 'in ground' growers have them.. they might jsut not list them for sale...

i would call someone like land of the giants.. and discuss it with him.. and ask him if he could verify such in august.. and sell you a piece in early fall ...

i think they are worth the flower and the fragrance ... even if it takes a few years for them to mature enough for such ...

but what i cant answer .. is whether you have the patience for such..

and reading between the lines.. i dont know if you should mess with them ... lol .. lifes to short too mess with things that might well irritate the bee-gee-bees out of you..

and with how many other thousands of hosta to pick from.. just how much banging your head on the fence.. do you want to put up with ...

some of us ... would enjoy the challenge.. if it killed us..

others will stress themselves to an early grave..

i dont know where you are in that spectrum ...


ps: IMHO.. get a true plantiginea.. and move on with the variations on a theme ...

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 7:54AM
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I have plantaginea and the double "Aphrodite". I live in NJ in zone 6-ish and have not really had trouble with either or these two. I got my original plants about 19 years ago so maybe there is a problem in recent tissue culture clones which would be a shame. I like them both.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 8:05AM
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gogirlterri(5 IL)

"ps: IMHO.. get a true plantiginea.. and move on with the variations on a theme" ... I like that Ken

Any hosta is worth it until it proves not to be; and it sounds like you are sitting on that cusp. I call it "banging my head on the driveway" but with what Ken uses his driveway for I can see him banging his fence. LOL

If you never try you might never know bkay; but you don't need ME to tell you that. It's more a reminder to myself.

I am very fortunate to have both a very consciensous nursery owner, and a field grower in business nearby. Yet the nursery owner has to rely on the propogater he buys from. He gets his starts last season to sell this spring.

Muddy Paws Nursery, in Custer Park IL is a small field growing operation that specializes in hostas. She is only open on weekends but welcomes 'snoopers' like me. She would be able answer. Another would be The Fields on Caton Farm in Crest Hill IL. The Fields is a much larger operation.and has a lot of land and few greenhouses. Most of the hostas and daylily they sell are field grown, hence their name.

Muddy Paws is more of a 'hobby' business. Yet I would trust her more than the Fields if I were in your situation. Since you aren't likely to have such businesses so close, perhaps you should see if a vacation could include a visit to such a place where field growers might be in business.

And yes-at Muddy Paws she is quite aware of HVX. A mistake could wipe her out. I think most field growers ARE more HVX conscious. I can 'tip-toe through the hostas' with her and see exactly what I might be buying.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 8:24AM
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bernd ny zone5

I bought a plantaginae 'Aphrodite' in July 2011 at a local nursery. I live in zone 5. The first year it had a scape but flowers did not open. In spring 2012 I moved it to a spot with midday sun, watered it regularly, and it had many beautiful shiny green leaves without burns. It developed several scapes with 2 flowers opening. Therefore, this year I hope for more flowers.

This post was edited by berndnyz5 on Mon, Mar 11, 13 at 9:25

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 9:24AM
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BKay, I know the pain! With me, the whole trip down Hosta Lane is due to plantaginea, and I now have 8 basic species plants.

I had a Venus, which I shipped back to Rob Mortco for testing since it had some sort of virus going on. Hopefully that will be replaced this year. From him, it cost under $20. I think I'd rather get more of the sports of mama plantaginea than any of the hybrids further away from the fragrant genes.

If you decide you want a WadeGatton Venus OS, it will be a good buy. Plants received from them, the ones "dug" from the fields, were not skimpy on the eyes, were healthy. And, I love OS which will come true to type.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 12:21PM
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MadPlanter1 zone 5

I'm starting to wonder if my Aphrodite is a freak. It's been in 3 or 4 years, grown like a weed and flowers like crazy. The flowers open just fine. That said, I've also heard a lot of people say it's a fussy, hard to grow hosta. Mine came from
Bluebird Nursery in Clarkson, NE. and sits in full early light and dappled shade. It gets plenty of water, too.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 12:43PM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

Why don't you order Doubled Up from Bob and Nancy Solberg?

"H. plantaginea Doubled Up (Solberg 2011) (Tetraploid sport of H. plantaginea) Medium to Large, (20" X 30") smaller and more compact than the species. Found in tissue culture stock at Green Hill Farm and tested for ploidy in Holland by Ben Zonneveld, this fully tetraploid form of the species has very glossy and rubbery leaves, makes a more compact clump, and has larger flowers and a unique fragrance. It makes a great pot plant for the deck or patio."


Here is a link that might be useful: Green Hill Hosta

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 3:39PM
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bkay2000(8a TX)

Steve, thanks. I had seen that previously, but forgotten it. I'll get it this year.

Madplanter, thanks, I looked up your nursery and the only online presence they have is their wholesale group. Thanks for the lead, though.


    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 10:05PM
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