The first year I tried growing from Hosta seeds was 2006. I had some seeds from OP 'Ginko Craig' pods off a plant in some nursery, a few of my own 'June' seeds and a couple from Virginia was most generous in sending me some of their OP seeds. My 'June' seeds were a bust, but I did reasonably well with the others. Because of a severe lack of space I had to do a fair bit of culling and went into 2007 with 4 of the 'Ginko Craig' seedlings and 3 each of the different 'Xanadu' ones from Virginia. The latter did not fare all that well and all I have left from 2006 now are 3 of the 'Ginko Craig' seedlings. This one here is the most interesting one. In it's first year it showed a small degree of red mottling on the lower part of the petioles, but that didn't show much the second year. However, as you can see, it did produce a scape and that is mottled on the lower portion. At the time of writing -September 1st, 2007- buds were forming but no flowers yet.
I like the leaf form of this seedling, it has a gentle wave to it, has a very nice and unusual taper to the leaf that makes it look as if there is no petiole. The other two also have somewhat of a wave to their leaves, but not near as pronounced.
About a month later, by the first day of fall, September 23rd, the flowers are nicely showing their colours. I haven't bothered with trying to get pods to set seed, kinda late in the season, but I do have a planned cross in mind for this one next year with 'Stiletto'.
This smallish seedling is from a Revolution pod parent with Minute Man pollen. Seedlings like these, with lots of white, tend to be quite small and slow growing. I have 2 of these and keep my fingers crossed that they make it through the winter.
This the other one and it's actually about 50% larger than the one above but at that it is still less than half the size of the various green seedlings from the same crossing. I'd be generous to say this was one and a half inches in size, whereas some of its green brethren are large enough to have their leaves over the edges of the 5 inch pots they're in.
From everything I read, seedlings like these with lots of white in them are never strong growers since they really lack in chlorophyl. For a lark I'm willing to try and hang on to these long enough to determine what their substance is like and maybe even get them to flower and use the pollen for some cross breeding.
It's amazing to see how these seedlings are holding their colour. Here it is October 21st and the 'Ginko Craig' seedlings are just barely showing any signs of senescence. Curious as to whether or not the parent plant does the same thing? Guess I'll have to try and swap for one next year to find out for myself. Hopefully these seedlings will flower a little earlier next year and then we'll be in a better position to use them for some crosses.
While the 'Ginko Craig ' seedlings haven't shown face as yet, this is one of the two mottled seedlings from last year. Over the Easter weekend, 4th weekend in March '08, you can see a new shoot developing right along with a leaf this seedling maintained all winter long. It was kept in a rather sheltered area and it was quite something to see this leaf still in January. The other mottled one is pretty much at the same stage of growth, with a nice shoot nosing its way up. Can't wait for them to start showing their colours!
By April 12th, this 3rd year Ginko Craig seedling is showing very nice vigour: 4 shoots for 2008 for this one, and the other 2 are both showing 3 shoots each. Now, let's hope they all flower!
Here's one of the 'Ginko Craig' seedlings on May 2nd '08 and it's a good example of how the waviness is developing on them this year, nice to see. It makes me look forward to when they flower and do some crosses!
As an aside, it would appear as if the 2 white 'Revolution' seedlings will likely succumb this spring to a lack of chlorophyl. Neither of them are showing much green at all and without the chlorophyl there's no ability to take up nutrient matter. Oh well, it is an ongoing process at the moment, so we'll see, but, what are doing gangbusters are the green seedling we got out of those 'Revolution/Minute Man' crosses. Good growth and some of them are actually showing mottling and striping, which would indicate to me they are not terribly stable and may produce something interesting, we'll see.
In 2008 I did some more, this time only 'June' and 'Katherine Lewis' OP seeds. Out of necessity I sprout my seeds outdoors and that does mean unfortunately that they are still quite small by the time fall rolls around. This is the tray with the 2008 seedlings on August 23rd, 2008 and they're coming along nicely. I had a higher rate of success with the 'Katherine Lewis' seeds and let's hope enough of them survive the winter to still have something to grow on.
There were quite a few of the newer varieties that produced OP seeds in 2008, including one only pod on a 'Blue Mouse Ears' that I hope will lead to seedlings in 2009.
Unfortunately out of all those seedlings in 2008, only 3 of them came back up in spring of 2009, one 'June' and two 'Katherine Lewis'. None of those three made it into summer, root rot. However, there will be plenty more seeds of these two cultivars to work with from 2009. The 'Blue Mouse Ears' pod mentioned above held about 6 or 7 seeds, wasn't a big pod, isn't a big plant. Of those seeds 2 germinated and this is what they looked like on September 25th, 2009.
This is by far the better looking of the two seedlings and you can already tell the strong family resemblance. With 8 leaves on it, this is probably the best growing Hosta seedling I have raised. I'm really looking forward to next spring to see how it comes back up and how much bigger it'll get next year.
By the date these pictures were taken there hadn't been any signs of new growth for about 2 or 3 weeks and it's indicative of the plants going down for the winter. They're both still looking quite green though, with not a hint of browning as yet.
It's a little early in the life of these two plants to get a feel for the substance of the leaves, certainly the shape is unmistakeble: them's 'Mouse Ears'.
Both of these seedlings came back up in 2010, but the smaller never really looked particularly vigorous and kicked the bucket in mid-May. The second one however is going gangbusters. Here it is in early June, not quite up to the size of its neighbouring 'Green Mouse Ears', but hey, it's only in its second year. Unfortunately it succumbed to crown rot in August, yet another victim to the lack of proper drainage with commercial soil mix.
Continue here for more seedlings.