How do I harvest and plant hosta seeds?

tomahawkclaimJuly 28, 2009

I was starting to clean up my garden by cutting off stalks of spent flowers, when I noticed that some really wonderful cultivars (Powder Blue, e.g.) had formed seeds. I presume I should leave them until the outside casing starts to open.

Should I plant the seeds this year? What kind of planting medium? Should I leave the newly planted seeds in the garden to get the same treatment as my regular plants?

But most of all, is it worth it or will I end up with hundreds of ventricosa-like seedlings?

Thanks in Advance -- Nance

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julie_mn(z4 MN Henn)

Hi there Nance!
Starting hosta from seed is a fun and rewarding enterprise.
I like to let the seeds ripen on the stalk- but I watch for drying and harvest the stalk before the pods burst open. I let the stalks finish drying in a paper lunch bag indoors in a cool dry place.
Later on- I will use a tooth pick to coax the remaining seeds from the dried pods.
I like to winter sow my hosta seedlings- and others have great results indoor sowing under lights indoors in the winter. Both of these options have forums here in GW.
I take old icecream buckets, the ones that let some light through- poke drain holes in the bottom- and another 4 holes just under the lip at the top for transpiration. I add at least a thumbs depth of soil less potting mix with time released fert mixed in wet it good - sprinkle the seeds on top- put the lid back on and place out in the cold- sometime in January.
There is not much more to do till you have sprouts. It is the lazy mans way to sure fire sowing.
Most of your seedlings will probably be plain old hosta- but some may really shine!


    Bookmark   July 28, 2009 at 9:43AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

check the FAQ's ...

when the lowest or first pod opens.. all the pods on the scape are mature ...


    Bookmark   July 28, 2009 at 10:07AM
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After you have done all your research on collecting the hosta seed, here is a great resource on growing the seeds.

Hosta Library, click on the square with seed growing. I believe it is hi-lighted in black. Bob Axmear has done a wonderful tutorial on seed growing.
Also there is a square that has a link to a great forum of hosta seed growers that you will learn lots of valuable info.

Hosta Seed Growing is a wonderful addiction :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Hosta Library

    Bookmark   July 28, 2009 at 10:17AM
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bernd ny zone5

Years ago I collected seeds from several of my hostas and grew hostas from those seeds under lights the same time I grew also perennials and vegetable plants there. It was simple, and then I had a few Blue Umbrellas, etc., which after a few years some of them I gave to guys in my office. It was a good experience.
Now some hostas are self-seeding in my garden.
Have fun!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2009 at 7:32PM
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Nance, I planted hosta seed for the first time this past March. Figured it would keep me busy and pass the winter - it did. I just followed instructions from on-line links. A couple of cultivars didn't germinated, but most did. Lots of green, some yellow, and I think a few blues (know better next year), and a couple with some white (irregular, not on all leaves).

Here's some of the seedlings I selected for repotting. Still have some culling to do.

Going to find some seeds from streaked breeders and try these this winter. Probably start a bit earlier, say in late December or early January.


    Bookmark   July 28, 2009 at 9:48PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

the most important thing to know..

hosta do NOT come true from seed..

its the quest to find something new.. not to replicate those already there ..


    Bookmark   July 29, 2009 at 9:11AM
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Where is a good source to buy hosta seed? I plan on gorwing some from my own plants, but I would like to buy some from streaked breeders as well.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2009 at 9:39AM
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Pagrdnr, I was able to get some hosta seed on ebay for very little a few years ago. I played around with my (then) boyfriend's growlight, but had issues keeping the seeds from drying.

Julie, I love your ice cream bucket idea!

My concern with ebay seeds would be diseases that might come from them, but I used my standard process of keeping everything clean. I ended up giving all the seedlings away because I didn't have room for them at that time (we lived in a tiny apartment in a high rise, and my other hostas were a couple of hours away at mom's house.

I've also seen people here on GW advertise seed for trade.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2009 at 2:11AM
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idiothe(4 MN)

There is one exception to the rule that hostas do not "come true from seed." The seeds of self-pollinated species hostas will be true to type.

I mention this only because someone who wanted a drift of green hostas could hardly do better than collecting seed from H. ventricosa. It has nicely shaped leaves, a great deep green coloration, and a sheen on the leaves. If there is some magnesium in the soil, it will be a particularly dark green. Two popular hostas from Mary Chastain, Lakeside Coal Miner and Lakeside Black Satin appear to me to be pretty much the same as a dark H. ventricosa.

I've got ventricosa seedlings popping up here and there every year... easy to find as they have very dark purple buds right now... and they grow into plants that appear identical to the parent plant... so this might be useful to somebody looking to do a mass planting.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2009 at 8:53AM
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Try the hosta library auction in the fall, there are usually a lot of Hosta seed for sale there too!! and to learn more about growing hosta from seed try this

full of info there and VERY NICE people to help you


I spend most of my time there, it is a hosta seed growers forum

    Bookmark   August 1, 2009 at 5:08AM
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