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Fwd: Ferns, Notes on hosta seeds and good response.

Their on site catalog deserves a download and look. They have answered rapidly.

Since I am blessed with good hostas,  ferns, and foxgloves, I am wanting to expand the plantings.

Spring almost in Chicago, south side tulips are 4" tall!!

Jim Sherwood 

  Chris Wilson - Hallson Gardens <chris@perennialnursery.com> wrote:

From Chris Wilson - Hallson Gardens Sun Mar 11 13:09:42 2001
X-Apparently-To: jimwsherwood@yahoo.com via web10005
Received: from lara.host4u.net (
by mta126.mail.yahoo.com with SMTP; 11 Mar 2001 13:12:09 -0800 (PST)
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User-Agent: Microsoft-Outlook-Express-Macintosh-Edition/5.02.2022
Date: Sun, 11 Mar 2001 16:09:42 -0500
Subject: Ferns
From: Chris Wilson - Hallson Gardens
To: Jim Sherwood
In-Reply-To: <20010311190039.83526.qmail@web10012.mail.yahoo.com>
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Hi Jim,

I'm glad you had a chance to see our site again and I'm glad you liked it.

We have growing areas at our place where we grow all of our ferns except the
Japanese painted. The Japanese painted ferns are grown in 3" pots, which we
shift up to 1 gallon sizes for sale at the nursery. They have a lot of
growth and will fill a 1 gallon quickly. We sell about 100 of the Japanese
painted ferns each year so we can't propagate them field grown like the
others. The other ferns are usually a little too big to fit in a 1 gallon
and are grown in 2 to 3 gallon pots when we pot them for the nursery. I
think you would be pleased with the size of all of our ferns.

As far as your evergreen ferns being beaten down by the snow, I'm not sure
there is much you could do to prevent that. To enjoy the Christmas ferns a
little longer you could cut some for indoors before the snow crushes them.
There are cold frame hoops that you could cover them with, but do you really
want a bunch of these in the garden?

The sizes of all your ferns will vary greatly depending on their culture.
Ostrich ferns will spread invasively in the right conditions. They like
rich, moist, marshy soil and with constant moisture tend to grow about 4
feet in gardens. In the wild they will often reach 5 feet or more and in
dry soil might spread slower and only get about 2 feet. I have a couple
that reached a very sandy area under an oak tree that don't even get that

The tallest of our ferns would be the cinnamon, interrupted, and royal
ferns. In the wild these ferns can all exceed 5 feet, and I've seen wild
royal ferns over 6 feet tall. But once again this reflects their culture.
They need acidic, constantly wet soil in full shade. The tallest plants in
the wild spend some of there time with the crowns in standing water. In
gardens these plants do really well at the edge of ponds or in bog areas.
Under normal garden conditions you might only see these plants growing 2 to
3 feet.

I'm not sure what your small oak-leaved fern could be. It's not an
interrupted fern though. They are tall and similar to cinnamon ferns.

Growing hostas from seed is actually pretty easy, and they grow like weeds
in our nursery areas. Once the seeds have ripened in the fall they can be
immediately planted. They don't need a cold period to sprout. As you've
probably seen, the seed pods contain lots of black husks which each contain
a hosta seed. I always just plant the whole black husk and make sure it is
watered good. Put them in a good seed starting mix and cover them just
lightly since they need some light to germinate. I usually sprinkle a
little sand over the seeds to prevent damping off. Then put them under 24
hour lights and keep them moist. I usually cover the trays with plastic
wrap until the seeds start to sprout, then I remove the plastic completely.
If you don't plant all of your seeds right away, store them in the freezer
in an air tight container or a ziploc bag.

An alternative to growing them indoors is to plant them directly outside in
the fall. Once again prepare your soil, spread out the seeds, and cover
only lightly if at all. Water them in to insure good seed to soil contact.
Some of the seeds will sprout that same year if the weather is good,
otherwise you will get sprouts the following spring.

As your seedlings grow, take note of the ones that are growing poorly and
thin those out. Not all hosta seeds will produce a usable or viable plant.

Unless you are hybridizing hostas, growing them from seed isn't really the
best way to propagate them, but it can be fun. Your seedlings will take a
couple years to be of any real size, and can take 4 or 5 years to amount to
much of a hosta. And of course many of the seedlings may not produce any
kind of useful hosta at all.

As far as using the hosta-open to advertise, it might be best if you were to
provide us with a referral. I wouldn't want to be accused of spamming a
hosta group. We only e-mail to people who signed up for our newsletter.
(You signed up with us on 5/25/00.)

Thanks again for taking the time to research the e-mail virus. I really do
hope that others take it that seriously. One person got back to me and said
they opened the attachment but their virus program stopped it and
neutralized the virus. I downloaded some trial virus software for free from
Symantec and scanned my computer. No bugs to be found. Do you think I
should send out more information to people at this point? I know that there
are one or two people out there in our subscriber base who are infected with
this bug. I just wish I had kept the one I received so I could see which
ISP they are e-mailing from and maybe track them down.

Well, I hope I helped you out with these questions. If you need any help
with an order or need any more information just drop me an e-mail.

T alk to you later,


From: Jim Sherwood
Date: Sun, 11 Mar 2001 11:00:39 -0800 (PST)
To: Chris Wilson - Hallson Gardens
Subject: Re Virus may have come thru hosta-open@mallorn.com

Very nice site. I have 1/2 acre to plant-up, about 2/3rds shade.

How large are the ferns, Xmas, cinnamon, japan-painted, lady, & maidenhair?

I have some of each now and want to expand the groups. I have been buying
1-2 gallon sizes, perhaps 3 years old.

My Xmas and cinnamon ferns are still green but beaten down from the snow

Need some type of winter support/greenhouse/protection from the snow. (New
Product idea?)

My ostrich ferns have grown to 40+ plants in a shade garden and are root
spreading nicely,

but they are only 24" to 36" tall at about 4 to 5 years of age.

Do you have a taller variety?

I also have a small fern (6"-9") with a shape like a oak leaf (possibly
Any suggestions on planting hosta seeds?

Many thanks for the HaHa guy to get me to your site.

You might want to announce the email catalog to the Hosta-open group,

but I have only been with the group 10 months.

Thanks, Jim Sherwood

Chris Wilson - Hallson Gardens wrote:
Hi Jim,

After sending you and one other person an e-mail this morning I finally got
the snow white e-mail back to me. You might want to check your computer too
for this virus, especially since you are the only person who has reported
receiving the e-mail before my newsletter. Everyone else received it after.

Good luck,


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