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Mr. Smarty Plants - Propagation of hostas

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Tuesday - September 06, 2005

From: Woodbridge, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Propagation
Title: Propagation of hostas
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I have many different types of hostas in my yard. This year they bloomed abundantly and now have large pods where the blooms were which are full of seeds. My questions: 1. If I plant these pods, or individual seeds, will the seeds grow into a new plant? 2. If they are seeds, should I scatter them throughout the hosta bed or in individual pots? In the past, I've divided them early Spring, but it would be wonderful if I could develop new plants from the seeds. I will most appreciate your advice. Thank you.

ANSWER:

The genus, Hosta, is native to Asia and is not within the area of our expertise since we focus solely on North American native plant species. However, I'll give you what help I can.

First, I would encourage you to review the information on the excellent website provided by The University of Kentucky for more information about propagating hostas. I am sure you will find answers to most of your questions there.

Regarding your specific questions, your seeds will probably germinate and grow into new plants just fine. However, they are unlikely to closely resemble their mother plant. Since most of the commercially available hostas are hybrids, they do not produce seedling offspring "true" to their parents. Usually, the seedlings of hybrids are disappointing, but occasionally (rarely, actually) an exceptional new cultivar may occur.

While it's possible that seeds sown in the garden will germinate and grow there, your best chance for success is to sow you seeds per the instructions given on the aforementioned website.

Hostas may be divided anytime except winter, with spring being considered the ideal time for division. You should be able to successfully divide your hostas this fall, but I would recommend dividing only a portion of them to insure against unforeseen problems.
 

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