How to Grow Hostas from Seed: A Comprehensive Gardening Guide
Cultivating your garden can often feel like handcrafting a one-of-a-kind piece of artwork, and when you’re growing hostas, it’s no different. These particular shade-loving perennials are a staple in numerous gardens across the globe. In this guide, we will walk with you through the journey on how to grow hostas from seed successfully.
1. Understanding Hostas
Also known as Plantain Lilies, Hostas are shade-loving perennials that are admired for their striking foliage. They come in a variety of forms, ranging from miniature plants suitable for a rockery to much larger ones that can reach up to 1 meter in height. The leaves of hostas are often broad and ovate, sometimes featuring a variegated pattern, depending on the type.
Although hostas are usually propagated through division, they can also be grown from seed. However, it’s important to note that it may take a little longer to see your hostas sprouting in comparison to dividing. What’s exciting about growing hostas from seed is the element of surprise; you never quite know what you’re going to get in terms of leaf color, form, and size.
2. Selecting and Gathering Hostas Seed
Not all hosta plants produce seeds. The ones that do will develop tall, slender stalks that flower in midsummer; these flowers eventually transform into seed pods. When the pods turn brown and dry, it’s time to harvest. Simply, cut the stalks, let them dry in a paper bag for a few days before shaking them to remove the seeds.
It’s important to remember that hostas don’t reproduce true to seed. This means if you collect seed from a particularly fancy variegated hosta, the seedlings may not retain the original plant’s traits. It’s this unpredictability that can inject your garden with that personal, unique appeal.
3. Starting Seeds Indoors
Starting hosta seeds indoors is a great way to get a jumpstart on the growing season. The seeds should be sown into small pots filled with a sterilized seed starting mix. Place the pots in a warm location, ideally at a consistent temperature of 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Keep the soil moist, but not waterlogged as this could encourage the growth of mold. Seedlings generally emerge between two to four weeks but sometimes, it could take several months so patience here is key.
4. Transplanting Seedlings
After the hosta seedlings are about 2 inches tall, and have developed true leaves, they are sturdy enough to withstand transplanting. The seedlings prefer a rich, well-drained soil and a cool location. Remember to harden off the seedlings, by gradually exposing them to outdoor conditions over a course of a week, before planting them in the garden.
Continually give your hostas care in their first year, ensuring that they are well-watered during dry periods. Mulch can be incredibly beneficial to help retain moisture and reduce weed competition while the seedlings establish.
5. The Waiting Game
Hostas take time to mature. It is commonly observed that these plants take about 4 years to reach their full size when grown from seed. But, once established, they are relatively low maintenance and can grace your garden borders and pots for many years.
Not only are hostas incredibly versatile and easy to care for, but they are also loved for their resilience. As long as they are placed in a cool location in well-drained soil, they will continue to thrive.
__Frequently Asked Questions__1. Can I grow hostas in the sun?
Hostas are shade-loving plants. However, some varieties can tolerate sun if provided with adequate moisture. But in general, they prefer a shaded or semi-shaded location.
2. Are hostas deer resistant?
No, hostas are not deer-resistant. They are actually a favorite snack of deer. If deer are a problem in your garden, you may need to take measures to protect your hostas.
3. Should I remove hosta flower stalks?
Removing the flower stalks, or deadheading, isn’t necessary for the health of the plant, but it can improve the plant’s appearance. Additionally, if you don’t want your hostas to self-seed, removing the stalks can prevent this.