Re: update on seedlings
- Subject: Re: update on seedlings
- From: Bill Nash email@example.com
- Date: Sun, 15 Dec 2002 21:21:56 -0500
At 11:11 AM 12/13/2002, you wrote:
>Just wanted to send a quick note to say thanks for the wonderful seeds! I
>have 12 beautiful 'Breeder's Choice' seedlings and dozens of Let's Streak
>seedlings! I only started a small amount of the seeds you sent and nearly
>all of them germinated! I am very pleased with the variation of leaves and
>colors, too! They are just starting the second leaf stage!
>I am also curious about your success with the application of pulverized bone
>meal! You said that you could tell me more? Please do! I just got some
>more (ran out last August) and am getting ready to start some more seeds!
>All your advice has been great so far!
>Also, Is it possible to order more seeds directly from you or do I need to go
>thru EBay. I am thinking that I'd like to get some more after the holidays.
>Thanks so much!
````````````Hi Kathie Sisson, I'm happy to see your positive
hosta-seedlingresults; and I shall do for you, whatever you may like me to
do -- tell me more? ;>) <wink?>
In the meantime, here is some bedtime reading I wrote, having just you in
mind, by your questions...above and here.
*AN ULTIMATE CHALLENGE FOR HOSTA HYBRIDIZERS* written by "Bill Nash Guelph
Ontario Canada Zone 4" <firstname.lastname@example.org> and also known as "hostaseed"
at: www.Ebay.com PER *HOSTA* seed-selling-forums. This was written, to try
to answer questions put to me by Kathie Sisson. FIRST ROUGH DRAFT, excuse
any errors in grammar.
How to get, Multi-colored and Variegated Hosta-leaves in Seedlings?
-- The Hosta Seedling Grower, must use seeds picked from pod-parent
Mothers: having streaky-striated leaves. This hosta-form, or leaf-type, is
an 'UNSTABLE HOSTA FORM' by it's very leaf-coloring nature. As such, only
these striated-leaf hosta-types (the unstable form); will provide for
streaky-leaf offspring results (and similar to Maternal Aspect (pod-parent)
SEEDLING RESULTS: from STABLE hosta leaf-forms, produce only monochrome
seedlings (one single colored leaf-form)
The stable hosta-leaf-forms are as follows:
1).. A single leaf-color of yellow or green (blue-green included?) and
referred to as being monochrome.
2).. Leaf-edging marginated in white or yellow; surrounding a yellow or
green leaf (blue-green included) a stable form.
3).. Center-leaf-variegation of white or yellow and known as 'MEDIO
VARIEGATED' hostas. The stable MEDIOS, are the most interesting hostas, by
my opinion, since the multi-coloring leaf-aspect, can go beyond the two
color spectrum range, and usually is exactly that. One can have a
center-leaf-coloring of yellow and white shades, and this, can be
surrounded by several different shades of green (blue green
inclusive?). This kind of multi-color combination within a single
hosta-leaf; can be seen in a hosta-cultivar example known as H. Choko
Nishiki (and/or H. 'On Stage', being the exact same plant!). Other medio
hostas, like June/Great Expectations; and most other medio-typed hostas,
also show this same-kind of multi-coloring in leaf; in shades of white
through yellow in the leaf-centers; also showing and surrounded by, pale
green through darker green leaf-color-tones around; and inside this
center-leaf-variegation (blue-green inclusive?).
It might be interesting to note here; that growing seeds from a medio
variegated hosta-type pod-parent: results in the maternal-plant
(pod-parent?) attempting to reproduce all of the colors contained and seen
within her medio-leaf coloring (all colors try to re-appear?). Using Choko
Nishiki, as my example again, some very interesting and attractive
color-shades of yellow through green-spectrum seedlings have resulted in my
trials? One particular leaf-color I liked, was a light green which almost
leans into yellow; and this coloring seems, to be changing by the time of
day, light exposure and so on. A LEMON AND LIME kind of combination of
coloring, so to speak? Of course, all seedlings resulting from medio
pod-parents and all other stable hosta-forms are: monochrome types, having
a single leaf color.
Striated leaf hosta-types (seedlings, or even bought streaky cultivars?) do
become and/or will show: stable hosta leaf-forms within a single clump, at
the matured stage. As the single stemmed eye-plant clumps-up into a
matured specimen (say for example, becoming a large multi-eyed and single
root-crown?): then these seedlings-plants or cultivars, will show different
kinds of eye-shoots within the single root-crown. STREAK (please keep in
mind?): is not a stable hosta aspect, and in time, it
*SORTS-ITSELF-OUT*. It's striated-leaf-aspect: begins to show any of the
HOSTA STABLE FORMS, or even all of them. The striated leaf form, which one
started with, is usually still present within the single crowned
hosta-clump however, if and when, most of the clump has stabilized into a
monochrome-green color, then this, can choke out the streak completely, due
to the faster growing nature of green cells via photosynthesis: more
chlorophyll contained within same.
At the mature and multi-stemmed; clumped-up stage of growth; one usually
has different kinds of eye-shoots, by their leaf-coloring; and all of
these, are contained within a single, matured, hosta root-crown. By the
propagation process known as root/rhizome-division, one can isolate any
particular hosta-leaf type one fancies, and propate that stable types one
chooses, further? It might be an idea also-- to become aware of eye and
leaf-bud division also? The preamble explanation to this kind of
hosta-propagation, can be found at the Hosta Internet Library, located at:
The streaky-leaf, matured, hosta root-clump, must be divided on a regular
basis, else the faster growing leaves, having many green cells within them,
can choke out the slower growing and highly variegated
eye-plants/shoots. My reference, to "eye-shoot/plants" is based upon: the
resulting leaves (usually five to seven of them?) which develop from a
single leaf-bud, to become an eye; and then, becoming an eye-shoot, or a plant.
*HOW DOES ONE GET THE BEST VARIEGATED SEEDLINGS OUT OF A SOWN
STREAK-PRODUCING SEED-BATCH?*; and this, is the ultimate challenge to all
hosta seedling growers and hybridizers?
Objectively speaking: what is it that a seedling-grower, or hybridizer is
looking to find via growing streaky-leaf seedlings; and how will she/he go
about finding this?
Firstly, and in my honest opinion, our ultimate objective of growing
multi-colored, streak-variegated-leaf seedlings, goes something like
this? We want to get as far away as possible: from the
monochrome-green-leaf aspect; and we do desire to move as close as possible
to pure-white and multi-colored-leaves (as is humanly possible?). "White
leaves do not survive or grow, due to lack of green cells (chlorophyll?) to
perform needed photosynthesis, so then, how are we to accomplish this?" one
Fact of the matter is, the ultimate objective, as I put above: has already
been done by Tony Avent of Plant Delights Nursery (www.plantdel.com) via
Mr. Avent's introduction of 'Out House Delight' hosta; and it's subsequent
seedling siblings. These hostas unfurl pure-white looking leaves in
springtime; they flourish and grow: coming back every year to year, cycles
of growth continue; and these white-leaf-hostas, become mature specimen
hostas, in time.
HOW ONE DOES THE CULLING TO ARRIVE AT THE ULTIMATE GOAL
Whenever a given seedling-batch is sown; using streak producing seeds (
i.e. seed coming from a pod-parent Hosta-mother; having stripes of white
running up a green flower stem; and also, striated leaves; and very likely,
multi-colored streaky seed-pods likewise?) then the resulting seedlings
will show striated leaves popping up at the first leaf sprouting stage. Of
course we must remember, that the seed which is sprouting monochrome-green
kids, is also sprouting and growing a lot quicker than the highly
variegated and even "pure white leaves" which we are after, to grow into
At the first and second leaf stage, we remove all of the monochrome-green
sprouts, since we are after the "Cream de la Creme!" of this crop (the best
variegates!)? This can be done with tweezers (pulling them out), or
scissor-snipping them off at the root-soil level. Care must be taken, in
doing this green-leaf culling: to not disturb any of those highly
variegated types, which may be just beginning to send up their first
leaf-sprout. If this culling is not done, the odds are good: that the
faster growing monochrome-green-plants, will choke out the highly recessive
and much slower growing white-in-leaf types. The removal of the green
seedlings, provides room for the multi-colored sprouts, to grow and flourish.
PURE-white-leafed appearing-sprouts, normal will melt away and die; as soon
as, the seed-core embryo: stops feeding that first leaf; and if, they do
not have enough green-cells within same, to photosynthesize their
chlorophyll growth function. If however, the seedling batch is growing
inside a rather ideal growing environment; say for example, total
incubation having one hundred percent humidity exposure on the leaf; and
with, ideal lighting, temperature and so on? Then it will be seen that
some of those white-looking leaves: do survive! They move into the second
and third leaf stages and grow. I would like to suggest, that these will
be your most attractive hosta specimens, if you can grow them into
maturity? From this explanation, it should be seen: why it is very
important to remove the monochrome-green sprouts "very carefully" in order
to not disturb the sprouting stage of the highly variegated plants, which
we are after in this seedling growing. THIS WAS OUR FIRST OBJECTIVE, to
find and isolate the most highly variegated hosta types, and the above
explained exactly how this is done.
STABLE HOSTA FORM ISOLATION & PROPAGATION AT THE MATURE STAGE OF GROWTH
CONCEPTUALIZE: a matured hosta clump, having 20 separate "eye-shoots" in a
single root-crown? Some of these have all green leaves; others show white
or yellow margins on leaves; some are center leaf variegated leaves and
even an all yellow leaf type is seen there? "Ah ha?" the
striated-leaf-form is also in the clump! You can isolate and propagate any
type you may choose, within this clump. So how do you do this?
In late-August or early-September, cut all the leaves off of the plant,
leaving about a six-inch leaf stem sticking up. Dig the plant out of the
ground. Wash all the dirt off of the roots. Take the plant to your
favorite MEAT SHOP, and have them, put the meaty-root-crown through their
meat-slicer. You want root-crown-pieces ending up at quarter-inch, to
half-inch sized square-pieces of crown? Take these pieces of meat, (crown
pieces?) back to your preferred growing bed and plant them? The next year,
you shall see each meat-piece (of the root-crown?) will produce an
eye-plant or plants?
I hope that, nobody reading the above meat-slicer procedure? Really took
me serious about having a 'Meat Shop Slicing Machine' do the hosta rhizome
division for you, using a meat-slicer however, that is almost exactly what
one is doing, when they put a knife to a hosta root crown, for
Each piece of the crown, even without roots attached: will develop roots
and grow. Any cut part of the crown, forms a bud, becoming an eye, and
this eye sends up an eye-plant in it's next growing cycle.
It might be a good idea, to obtain some rooting hormone powder, having
fungicide within, to brush onto cut portions of the crown, else soaking the
cuttings in a fungicide solution if good too. Dipping one's cutting tool,
in fungicide powder-rooting hormone, before each cut: is also a good idea,
since this disinfects the wounds?
MAXIMIZING PROPAGATION DURING THE DORMANT STAGE
If you go out, and if, the ground is not frozen: then you can propagate
your favorite hosta to it's maximum: RIGHT NOW! After digging the roots
out of the ground; cutting all frozen leaves off and washing all the dirt
off: it will be seen that there are a great many buds sitting on the
roots. These pointed protrusions, are usually white by color and
appearance, since they were under the ground. Each of these buds, will
send up an eye-plant in the next growth cycle therefore, division down to a
single plant-intended is possible.
If you happen to have a spare fridge, which can be set to run at say 37
degrees Fahrenheit (plus or minus five degrees?) then your cuttings can be
placed inside plastic bags; packed inside moist growing medium; and kept in
the fridge for a dormancy period of six to eight weeks minimum. Then they
can be potted and grown under lights or sunny windows. Or they can be
potted, at the time the rhizome surgery was done, and kept moist inside
their cold storage treatment, that is to say, if you have somewhere which
provides the needed space, to keep potted dormant hosta divisions in cold
When one does the above propagation procedure; and say for example, the
hosta one is working with: is just a single eye-shoot, newly acquired or a
young hosta-plant? And say, one divides fours buds on the roots (cut
apart?). When you put these cuttings into the growing cycle again, it is
usually seen: that multiple eye-plants spring forth; and meaning, you've
missed some very small buds in that rhizome-division? These can be divided
again. The point here was to show how easy it is to propagate hostas:
right now; in the springtime and/or in late summer, or for that matter,
whenever you like: if you have a cold storage place to store the rhizomes
inside, during their dormant period?
*A SEED SOWING TIP* -- For the best possible germination and growth of
newly started seedlings -- sprinkle a bit of powder BONE MEAL, over top of
the seeds, just before covering with growing medium and wetting.
From experimental trials: of applying ground Bone Meal powder; and verses,
Super Phosphate powder; and verses, no seed treatment at all in a sowing of
hosta-seed? Sown in similar fashion, same date, same growing medium and
using identical hosta seed: THIS HAS SHOWN ME (Bill Nash): that by simply
sprinkling a bit of Bone Meal powder over top of sown seed, this provides
for the best germination results possible; and having, the healthiest
looking seedlings. Identical hosta-seed sowing, was done on same date as
Bone Meal additive; and using, Super Phosphate, verses, no seed-additive
treatment at all. The bone-meal seed treatment, showed a two fold result,
by seedling quantity results (Germination?) and by direct comparison to the
no treatment seed sowing?
BONE MEAL: has an element composition of 2-11-0: (Nitrogen=2%, Phosphorus
(phosphate)=11%, Potassium= zero percent.
Super Phosphate: (0-20-0) that is, having a fertilizer-element content of
20 percent phosphorus/phosphate (nothing else).
The application of Bone Meal, provides better results than Super Phosphate
treatment with seed-sowing. The two percent Nitrogen, contained in Bone
Meal, is like a needed helper to work with the phosphate, hand in hand so
to speak (catalyst-like?) and hence, provides the best overall results; and
which, showed me that this extra trouble of sprinkling a bit of bone meal
over top of sown seeds, is well worth this work/effort!
In this experiment, the Bone Meal application showed the best germination
and healthiest looking plants (being larger than both other trials?) and
comparing to seed-sown, without any treatment at all. The Super Phostphate
application experiment, provided a better results than non treated seeds,
but was not as good as the bone meal application experiment hence, the
nitrogen content within bone meal, was the needed phosphate-catalyst which
provided the best germination and growth effect.
*HOW/WHY: BONE MEAL PROVIDES BEST SEEDLING GERMINATION AND GROWTH*
Quoting from a book titled 'BEDDING PLANTS' (published by American Grower's
Phosphorus (P): This fertilizer-element is related closely to vital growth
processes of plants. Like N (nitrogen?) it is part of the amino acids and
proteins that form the structural framework of the protoplast. It is a
catalyst in the energy transfer and may be involved in the conversion of
starch to sugar. Phosphates act as buffers to maintain satisfactory
conditions of acidity and alkalinity in plant cells. P (phosphorus?) is of
special importance in the germination of seeds, in the metabolism of
seedlings, and in the development of roots. Phosphorus is absorbed by plant
roots as phosphate. This Phosphate, is not used by the plant in large
quantities, but it is essential to have a constant supply. The functions
of P (phosphate) and N (nitrogen) in the plant are related
closely. Phosphates are absorbed more rapidly by plants when N (nitrogen)
is present in the soil mix. END QUOTE
[SUBNOTE] and this is why: the Bone Meal application experiment on seed
sowing (having 11 percent Phosphorus AND WITH 2 percent Nitrogen fertilizer
element) by direct comparison to Phosphate, which has 20 percent
Phosphorus/phosphate, but no Nitrogen element contained at all, to provide
the needed catylist = BONE MEAL = PROVIDES FOR THE BEST GERMINATION AND
GROWTH OF SEEDLINGS?
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