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Rossizing works!


For many old timers this is old hat and *b o r i n g*, but to some of the
relatively new hostaholics (like I) it may be interesting and good news.

Last October I was given two identical H. Sieboldiana (spec) plants by a
friend.  These were plants that had been in her garden for about 5 years
and had never grown!  Why?, who knows.  She hoped that I would have more
success than she.  They were not plants I coveted nor ones I thought
valuable, so I talked them into dedicating and donating their lives to
science and perhaps a bungling neophyte for an experiment in propagation
by Rossizing - a process about which I had just learned but had never
done.  Each plant was about 8" tall and the crown about 5/8" in diameter.
 Both single crowns.  One crown was left untouched and potted up in a 1
gal container.  The second crown was Rossized with two cuts at 90 degrees
from each other, i.e. "+", beginning at the middle of the crown
(vertically) and the cuts continued down through the basal plate where
the roots join the crown.  It was planned so that each "quarter" would
have roots attached.  This second crown also was potted up identically to
plant  No. 1.  Along with all the other potted Hosta (about 70 of them),
they were watered and cared for until Thanksgiving weekend when they were
all ceremoniously transferred to the shelving in the garage, where they
stayed until about a month ago.  Since then they have been outside
getting their daily dose of sunshine and watered daily.  To avoid heavy
frosts, there have been three dashes back into the garage to protect the
young against frost bite.

What has been observed.  Pot No 1 (untouched - the "control") has two
shoots:  one relatively large and dominant, the second one about half the
size of the larger one.  Total: two shoots.  Pot No. 2 (the one that had
been Rossized) has seven (yes, 7) shoots:  one rather large and six
shoots that are half the size of the dominant one.  Conclusion: 
Rossizing works.

What will I do with this knowledge?  ALL new plants arriving in the
garden this spring (I am still anxiously awaiting about 30 of them  -
shhhh, don't tell Virginia because she'll will not find out because they
will be delivered to my office - sneaky, huh?  one of the signs of a true
Hostaholic) will be Rossized and sprayed with Benomyl (a fungicide)
before being planted in their new home in the garden beds.  Other plants
that came up as only a single crown will be lifted and Rossized.  These
are all young plants and I am willing to sacrifice size this year to get
multiple crowns/divisions for next year.

Being a Hosta gardener is FUN!!  Hope you are enjoying your spring.

Charles Tuttle
Columbus  OH   Z5, where a heavy frost is forecast for tonight.
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