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Re: hostas of course

  • Subject: Re: hostas of course
  • From: Pat Mora patmora@comcast.net
  • Date: Thu, 19 Jun 2003 07:07:34 -0500

    This is a well written piece on how our Hostas can change either in our
own gardens or in the labs. I have a Whirlwind, bought 3 years ago and only
3" tall, I think it's time to give up on that one but not to worry, I bought
another one last year and it is performing as it should. Thanks

----- Original Message -----
From: <halinar@open.org>
To: <hosta-open@hort.net>
Sent: Thursday, June 19, 2003 12:37 AM
Subject: Re: hostas of course

> Chris:
> >So we are all out there buying TC's for cheap money. What are we
> >getting.   Admittedly  there are some hostas that retained their
> >qualities in TC but not all.
> Using TC for propagating hostas produces lots of hostas cheaply, but
> it is becoming obvious that many hostas just do not easily propagate
> true to type.  The TC plants are sent out as very small plants, but it
> can take another year or two to figure out if the plants you have are
> true to type.  However, there is also another problem.  Many people
> who buy the TC starters place them into gallon pots or maybe smaller
> pots and then move then up to gallon pots and all of this is being
> done by minimum wage labors who are being supervised by people who
> don't really know anything about hostas.  To them the hosta in the pot
> is a plant to be sold.  When you look at these pots in the garden
> centers you are impressed because they are loaded with fans.  I
> recently saw some gallon pots of Wide Brim that had 10-12 fans each,
> for $4.95.  When the average garden puts these into the garden the
> plants are already way overcrowded.
> The problem with propagating true to type hostas isn't limited to TC
> plants.  If you push standard techniques to the limit you can get just
> as many off types as with TC.  Francee and Whirwind are particularly
> difficult to maintain.  If you keep isolating the "off types" you can
> eventually select out some superior types.  For example, I have
> several selections of Francee that are larger, have wider edges and
> look a bit like Patriot.  I also have some Patriots that I've been
> selecting and reselecting and now have two plants that probably
> qualify as being different enough to register.  I have a selection of
> Whirlwind that isn't as twisted as the normal form, but I have so many
> other off types that I don't know what to do with.
> Hostas sports that are simple histogenic layer switiching are easy to
> understand, but I think there are two things happening with these
> other off types.  Some times when you are propagating hostas you will
> find a plant that is clearly different.  However, other times you look
> at the plants and see something a little different, but maybe not easy
> to see.  If you take these plants and keep propagating them you will
> eventually end up with a plant that looks similar to the original
> plant, but otherwise be superior - maybe the substance is better or
> the edge is wider.
> It's my feeling that some hostas sport slowly and it's necessary to
> keep reselcting to stablize these plants.  When we do this by
> traditional hosta propagation techniques we can pick out superior
> forms.  However, when hostas are TCed they are repeatly put back into
> TC.  At a certain stage of development it may be possible to see that
> they are off types and a honest propagator will discard them, but many
> off types may not be easy to detect.  This is where I think some of
> these weak growers are coming from.
> These sports, other then the histogenic layer switching, are propably
> the result of transposible elements jumping around.  It's my belief
> that some of these transposible elements jump to locations that cause
> a significent change, but other transposible elements move about in
> such a way that they don't have a dramatic effect.  If you don't pay
> attention to these changes you can easily end up with off types and
> these off types are then propagated by other people who don't know
> they have off types.
> Joe Halinar
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
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