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Re: seedling question


Kate:

The three trys of hosta seeds - are they the same seeds?  Different 
crosses will behave differently.  As mentioned, too much water may be 
a problem.  However, if you use a very coarse planting mix that isn't 
too high in peatmoss, then you shouldn't have too much of a problem. I 
would be willing to bet that you are using a planting mix that is high 
in peatmoss.  Try a planting mix that is bark based.  The high 
peatmoss mixes are intended mainly for annuals and often have a high 
level of nitrogen fertilizer.  Peatmoss mixes tend to get overly wet.

As to the different sizes of the seedlings, remember that not all the 
seeds germinate at the same time.  Also, most hosta crosses will 
exhibit a wide variation in vigor.  Last year I started out with about 
3,000 seedlings germinating.  By the time I did the first transplant 
into plug trays at the 1 leaf stage I could see differences in vigor - 
a lot of the seedlings didn't get transplanted.  I then transplanted 
them to small pots and again I could see some differences.  By mid 
summer it was easy to see that quite a few of the seedlings weren't 
going to amount to anything, while others were very vigorous.  By fall 
I only kept about 300 to look at this year - everyone a vigorous 
grower.

Transplant the seedlings into small pots or plug trays and give them 
some room to grow.  Don't waste time playing around with the seedlings 
that don't have a lot of vigor, unless they are variegated.  Select 
for vigor by looking at the root system.

Joe Halinar

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