Viability of seeds

mjzzyzoff(6oh)November 17, 2013

As I embark upon the hosta growing phase of my life, I am curious about the seeds. Am I correct in assuming only the seeds with the fully black wings are most likely viable, or as long as they are of mature size, who cares about the wing?

I've found a lot of info online about hosta raising in general, but I'm still a little confused about the naming/sports/varieties thing. So if I grow out open pollinated seed and get something spectacular, that no one else has gotten, can I register it as a variety? Or do I have to know the parentage? (I realize this is a long shot, just trying to understand how it all works. I'm mainly interested in growing from seed just for my own use and the fun of seedlings.)

Can a sport produce more sports? I would think so...

Anything else I should know?

Also, I just received a baby in the mail yesterday. This makes hosta baby #6 I believe, in about a months time. So far most I have received are unknown but I know I have whirlywind and standard royal. I have 8 now total. Almost to double digits!

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i use a tea cup strainer.. and grind off all the wings when they are completely dry .... you will end up with shiny black seed ... you should be able to feel them in a viable winged seed ... the wings can add pathogens or organic material.. that rot .. and attract molds and mildews .... and indoors.. those can cause trouble ...

sports have nothing to do with seed ..... a mature plant sports... seed from a sport are seedlings.. unrelated to its sporting ...

you can register any UNIQUE plant you care to ... its heritage is irrelevant ... but please.. make it something UNIQUE ... we really dont need another named green hosta.. just because you think its a child.. lol ...

go to the hosta library.. and smack dab in the center of the box.. is bobs seed growing notes... READ THEM.. STUDY THEM.. then ask some more specific questions .... its easier than rewriting a tome for you ....

there is no hosta named whirlywind.. as far as i know... whirlwind???? .. i thought that one is sterile???

whatever you do.. have fun doing it ....

there may also be some seed topics on the forum FAQ page ...

there is one or two other seed growing sites.. hopefully one of the other peeps will link you up ...

there is only one green hosta that come true from seed ... all of yours will be seedlings ... and would be labeled such as: Whirlwind OP .. as in open pollinated ...

if you were to get something really unique.. other breeders might want to use your plant as a pollen parent ... to bring some of the traits to their breeding program ... but you only know momma ... the pod parent ... so you would provide that info at registration ...

if you went out every morning.. and transferred pollen from one plant to another ... you would then have a cross.. and would name it something like: whirlwind x royal standard .... [again.. you need to get those names right.. we can help with that ...]... and then after growing it for 10 or 20 years.. should you wish to introduce it to teh trade ... you could name it anything you want ... such as: mjzzyzoff's dream ...

RS is fragrant .... hence its royalty .. lol ... and getting a fragrant whirlwind... MIGHT be something unique .... and that would be a breeding goal ... but for the fact that you will probably not get an edged plant out of her .... without using a streaked breeder ...

oh crikey.. the more i tell you.. the more i picture your head spinning off your shoulders.. lol ...

bone up at bobs page... and come back often.. i like to see your ambition .... it makes me happy ..

good luck


ps: i am with you.. on kicking out the family.. for more garden space ... lol .... welcome to the GW hosta forum ...

    Bookmark   November 17, 2013 at 3:40PM
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bkay2000(8a TX)

Welcome. If you hang around here, you will have more than 10 by next year. We are experts at helping you find gorgeous hosta you can't live without.

Oh, a sport is when a plant puts out a section that is different than itself. LIke when a solid green hosta puts out a section that has a white edge. You take out that section and grow it by itself. The white edged one is the sport of the green one. The green one can make more sports, but chances are they will look similar to the white edged ones it already sported. The white edged one can sport a yellow edged one. But more likely, it will put our a green one that looks just like the one it came from. When that happens, it's reverting. All (generally speaking) can make seeds and produce seedlings whether they are sports or not.

Don't get your hopes up too much, though. Most of the sports are discovered during the tissue culture process in huge nurseries. Lots of people grow seedlings, though and find it a rewarding hobby.

Again, welcome.


    Bookmark   November 17, 2013 at 6:28PM
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What Ken,and Bkay said,and I would add one more thing;99 percent of all open pollinated hostas will be plain green,no matter what the pod parent is. One exeption would be from a streaked parent;then you may get a streaked baby. I have one now that came from a Korean Snow hosta. Good luck,and welcome! Phil

    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 11:10AM
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Ken - yes, I meant to type whirlwind! And the seeds I currently have are not from whirlwind, they are from assorted unnknowns and one known - 'frances williams'. And don't worry, my head isn't spinning TOO fast... yet!

bk - I realize I probably won't discover anything spectacular, but who knows! I figure a lot of the older varieties were discovered before tissue culture, right? ;) And yes, I intend to find it rewarding in and of itself. I love growing from seed :)

Phil - thanks for the welcome! I'm guessing the majority of my unknown seeds are from plain parents, so that's kind of a bummer. But I have tons of partial shade and need things to grow there, so I'll take plain green if that's all I get. I did see a genetics piece somewhere that showed the probability of getting a streaked seedling. The odds didn't seem that bad if I remember correctly, but could have very well been two streaked parents it was talking about.

Anyhow, thanks for the thoughts everyone, and I will go check out those notes Ken!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 11:42AM
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Okay, except I'm not sure where to find those notes exactly - can you direct me to the "library"?

    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 11:44AM
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bernd ny zone5

The last 2 years, and just beginning now again, I grew seedlings from open pollinated seeds of streaked mother plants, and I got a lot of streaked kids, about 10%. This Fall I planted about 300 seeds and about half of those are from using pollen from other hostas on streaked hostas. Usually fresh seeds have a germination rate of up to 90 % here. From the 300 seeds I might get 30-40 seedlings of interest of which 15 I would grow on into 2015. Bernd

    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 2:29PM
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Oh, don't tell me everyone lets me do the honors of linking to the library for the Newbie.....thanks and welcome, Mjzzytzoff, you have fallen into a nest of hosta addicts.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hosta Library home page

    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 4:19PM
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bkay2000(8a TX)

There is a seed growing group. Some of the guys here participate. Also, there is going to be a seed auction on the hosta library in the near future. I can't remember the details - seems like it was a benefit for something.

I found it. Link is below.


Here is a link that might be useful: Seed auction

    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 7:44PM
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The seed auction is BADITC = Building A Dream In The Country. and it is a benefit auction.

That's the one in its second half which will begin Dec 7 I do believe? Trudy has a thread which I will bump up to the top for your information..

You will find that some good hybridizers will donate seeds from some interesting crosses (done intentionally and not OP=Open Pollinated)....and some from some great breeder hosta....such as Dorothy Benedict (a small plant of her would cost you $200, but seeds are cheaper).

One I'm looking for seeds of would be Foxy Doxy or maybe Neat Splash. Just for myself.

I have seed from my plants this year, but do not know if they are viable. I'll try to clean em up and see if anything remains. They sure are tiny seed to make such large plants.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2013 at 12:01AM
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bernd ny zone5

It is a lot of fun watching those seeds germinate. In my basement there are streaked seedlings with round leaves right now coming up which had pollen from h.'Blue Umbrellas' and 'Blue Mammoth'. You have to get started, plant some seeds and watch them become beautiful hostas over the next 5 months - your own creations! Bernd

    Bookmark   November 29, 2013 at 12:54PM
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