Wintersowing hosta seeds

wyldflowerDecember 1, 2008

I was just on the wintersowing forum getting information so I can start wintersowing hosta seeds this month. I'm encouraged by some posts which note that this method works well with hostas. I have collected seeds from about 20 plants and am looking forward to my first attempt at this method.

I'm wondering if anyone on this forum has tried this...what your results were, and if you have any particular tips to share.

Thanks, Vivian

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5


would you please describe.. in one sentence or less.. exactly what wintersowing is.. and why its useful??

the reason i ask .. my hosta shed all thier seeds in fall .. as i cut off the scapes.. and they self sowed themselves .... no special method is/was needed ...

in other words.. if the soil is still bare.. just go throw out the seeds you have ... and scritch them into it ...

when ripe.. they are ready for planting ...

i hope you understand the genetics of hosta seed ... to sum it up.. in one sentence or less .... lol .. may as well hold myself to the same standard ...

without a streaked momma, you will get about 80% green and 10% yellow and blue hosta from plain old seed ...

to add a second sentence.. edged plants will result in solid colors 99.99% of the time ...

only one or two hosta.. come true from seed ... and they are plain and ugly green plants .... that replicate themselves so fast ... it isnt even worth the effort to collect and plant the seed ....

i know you will have fun however you do it.. good luck


    Bookmark   December 1, 2008 at 4:56PM
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Hi, Ken,
Well, interesting points. I know some of the genetics that you're referring to, from this forum and other sources.
Wintersowing is basically creating individual mini greenhouses for seeds rather than directly sowing into the ground. Put them out and forget them until the spring when they sprout.
I plan to do the hosta seeds mostly for the enjoyment of it. I've read of others here that plant their seeds indoors in the winter for spring planting. Wintersowing eliminates the need for indoor space and lighting.

Sometime last year our Hosta Society had a speaker (I think it was Bob Solberg) who suggested that if we run out of room for new hostas, dig up the ones you can live without and plant the new ones there. I earmarked several plants and had folks lined up to take them when (unbelievably) my husband told me I could NOT give them away because they were so beautiful!! (They are mostly undulatas from my early years of growing hostas). I found space elsewhere, lots of space, and I would like to put my seedlings there for now, to help fill it out and to save some serious money. I can always move or give them away down the road. As you know, most folks only know of the "green" and the "green and white" hostas, and are happy to give them a home.
Also, a friend has a landscaping business and will happily take any seedlings I give to her. Again, to lots of folks, a hosta is a hosta.
...And who knows, I may end up with something unique! And it gives me some gardening to do in the winter.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2008 at 5:48PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

sounds like you have all the variables covered ... good luck

but with hosta.. you really dont need to go to any extreme ...

i think i recall.. that bob kuk just plants them in left over flats.. in an area with railroad ties.. covered with chicken wire .. to repel vermin ...

and otherwise.. basically ignores them ... just some water ... he he is a state of the art breeder in result ...

frankly .. you could spread hosta seed on the driveway [i know you were all waiting for that... lol] ... and they will grow in the cracks ... my point.. no need to get real technical or spend $$$ on the process ...

if you want to have real fun ... buy some seeds from a streaked mother.. which will give streaked seedlings ... which over the years.. will stabilize to edged plants ... and once you have the streakers.. you have your breeding program begun ...

i think there used to be seeds offered at the hosta library auction page ...

if so inclined.. get seed from each of the major leaf shapes ... the big blue corrugated.. the lance shaped ... etc ...

new posts if you need any of this explained further ...

have fun.. no matter what you decide to do ...


    Bookmark   December 3, 2008 at 9:02AM
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I wintersowed about 30 milkjugs with hosta seeds and had great success. After they germinated, I transplanted them to a raised bed, in full sun, and watered the heck out of them. They are doing great. I did plant seeds that I had purchased from a seed auction and I did get many streaked hostas and many with pie crust edges... It was definitely fun and a good way to garden in the winter. Enjoy

    Bookmark   December 3, 2008 at 11:29PM
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julie_mn(z4 MN Henn)

I have been wintersowing hosta (and other) seeds for about 5 years now.
It is sow very simple and sow very rewarding!! There is no easier way to start seeds!
I have some Sum and Substance seedlings that were 4 last summer- 2 are smaller than Golden Tiara- most are mid sized- 4 are HUGE! All are gold green with no color distinction- but size is really playing a part in this batch!
It is VERY amazing the diversity of seedlings you will get in any one batch. Culling is the hardest part!
Welcome to the wonderful world of WinerSowing!


    Bookmark   December 6, 2008 at 4:42PM
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