Made in the Shade TCs

Steve Massachusetts Zone 5bMay 20, 2012

I did a small order with Rob Mortko from Made in the Shade Gardens this Spring, mostly because he offered Skylight, a plant at the top of wish list, but also because of his reputation for customer service. To say I was satisfied is a gross understatement.

I ordered three plants, Millenium, Clovely and Skylight. Clovely had a tag that indicated it was a TC from Walters. It had two eyes and a well developed root system. Millenium had a tag from Shady Oaks. It had one very fat eye and an enormous root system. But it was Skylight that really surprised me.

I'll post the picture below. Skylight had 4 good sized eyes and a great root system. With such a rare and new Hosta, I was expecting a typical first year TC plant. This was a much more mature plant than I expected. I had heard that MITS was doing their own TCs and since Skylight didn't have a picture tag with it, I emailed Rob and asked if this was a plant from his own TC process. Here's the answer I got.

"And 'Skylight' did come from our TC lab. We have developed our own protocol to produce multiple eyed plants directly from the lab. There's a cost involved in doing that, but it easily gains you 1-2 years of growing time to produce the same number of eyes in the garden."

A TC protocol that saves 1-2 years of growing time. Isn't that interesting. That means that newly available Hosta can be produced in a much more mature fashion than was available before.

Rob went on to say that over 300 Hostas, almost everything from his available list, (with the exception of patented plants) are currently in production in their own TC lab. You just have to wonder what this kind of operation will do to the business and if any other online sellers will try to follow suit.


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I've wondered whether they grow TCs taking advantage of the dormancy period and force a couple of cycles of growth in a single year. i.e. Grow 4-5 months, induce(chill) 1-2 months of dormancy and then repeat.


    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 9:27PM
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bkay2000(8a TX)



    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 10:24PM
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That truly is interesting! So, Paul, is your assessment of how forced cycles could be possibly done in the tc lab. This may just cause me to go into a side-bar research project to learn all I can about tc.

I am just setting up my photos into annual logs for all my hostas and a chronological log showing year by year progression of each.

I am looking forward to your future posting of pictures of your Skylight, Steve. Got a quick link to Made in the Shade?


    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 10:37PM
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Most of the time companies are trying to maximize production by cutting the tcs into single buds/offsets. If instead you cut them so that you have 2 to 3 buds per TC and grow it from there you are just starting with more eyes from the very beginning. The plant isn't actually any more mature, just fuller, kind of as if you were to put 2 or 3 TCs into a single pot together (which I've seen before) and sell it like that.

So long as the crown is all intact I think it is a great idea to get a fuller looking plant quicker. But if each bud is developing a separate crown so that they aren't really connected then I don't think there is any benefit other than to make it appear larger. I've seen cases were two totally separate eyes were struggling to compete in the garden for the same moisture and nutrients and performed better on their own after teasing them apart.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 10:42PM
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I am really ignorant regarding tc Chris. This is a pic of a hosta I have just bought:

You can see three totally yellow leaves (8, 10, & 11 io'clock) which seem to be part of this Summer Breeze. A closer look reveals 6 such solid yellow leaves growing from what appears to be a seperate crown but so tight to the SB it looks like part of the plant. Is this possibly not only 2 seperate eyes, but 2 different varieties entirely. Is that posssible to happen during a tc-ing process?

As you can see, this appears to be a very strong young plant. I haven't pulled it from the pot yet to see the roots and crown (crowns?).

I am so ignorant I don't know if this contributes to the thread of not.

Steve; I have already visited Made in the Shade'


    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 12:06AM
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bentleygardens(z7b GA)

Hey Les the yellow is most likely a cull planted with the original plant, not all that uncommon on Summer Breeze. I have visited large hosta nurseries that grow in 8" gallons and they were clueless to the solids coming up with the originals, cut it out and plant it is the best thing to do.

Since i have been in the TC business (receiving end) for a lot of years, we have planted single and double sprigs of cultures directly in the cell, but planting 3-5 in a cell will conflict with the other plants. Even if there is 1 crown. I have also noticed "stunting" in the growth of a packed cell. Its almost like continuing the BAP process(growth hormone) once it comes out of the lab. We prefer doubles here, that helps us with inventory and provide customers with a better plant with good growth quicker. The only way (in my opinion) to gain divisions and more maturity quicker is to plant several TC plants in the same container AFTER the lab process is over.


    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 8:09AM
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Not that you need my endorsement Ed, but I feel you are right-on with my SB. I am enjoying this thread and we are barely into it.

Are there any specific links to resources that would help total rookies like me understand tc better, faster?

Growth hormones in tc? - I never thought of "HGH" being "Hosta Growth Hormones". (sorry-just playing with my mind)


    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 8:49AM
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bentleygardens(z7b GA)

yea we could suspend the hostas for 50

I don't know much about the process, I just know how they grow and how they react to different things that us nurserymen do to them to get better results.

Do a google search or i am sure someone will post a link to TC growing


    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 6:20AM
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