Growing hosta from seed is fun to do and is a great hobby, how to grow hosta seed.
If you have questions on how to get started or a question about growing seeds please ask your question and I am sure we can help you out.
To collect your own hosta seed I usually wait until the pods turn a darker color in early fall. I will gather the seed and place then in small brow bags for a week or two and than remove the seed from the pod.
This is how I grow hosta seed; this is what works for me. After growing hosta seed for over 20 years I have tried and failed many times with many different ideas about how I should grow hosta seed.
Let me start by saying that hosta seeds do not grow up looking like the pod parent they came from.
They will carry some of the traits of the parents though.
About 99% of the time the only way to get variegated seedlings is to plant seeds from a streaked pod parent but one never knows what to expect for sure. So if you are looking for variegation start with seed from a streaked pod parent.
I start with a good soilless grower’s mix. This is important; using a sterile potting mix will save you from some problems down the road.
I will put my potting mix into a large bag (I use 4 gallon Zip-Lock Bags) or tub then I put in enough water to moisten the mix. Mix it up well. You do not want your potting mix wet when trying to grow seeds just moist.
Next I use a standard tray (10 1/2” X 21”) that will hold 12 inserts (3 1/4” X 51/4”) I fill the inserts ¾ full of the moistened soil less mix.
I will sprinkle the seed on top of the soil and cover them very lightly with some of the mix making sure the seed’s are in contact with the soil. I have found that I will use twice as many seeds as I would normally use as the hosta seed do not always germinate at a high rate and you will find in time that you will need to cull out young seedlings along the way as well. I find that germination of hosta seed will vary year to year and plant to plant.
Remember to mark your planted seeds so you can keep track of them.
I mist the seed lightly with water before putting the tray into a large sealed baggie or sometimes I use the plastic tray covers.
Hosta seeds do not need light to germinate so I put them on my growing shelves and cover them with a towel. I have a heated basement/grow room so I do not use heating mats. All I can say about heating mats is if you use one make sure you use a thermostat. Hosta seed germinate fine between 70 and 78 degrees.
Once the seeds have germinated (7-14 days, depending on seed variety and many other growing conditions you have) I move them under lights. I use regular 4’ shop light fixtures with the cheap bulbs as well as cool temp bulbs. I put the lights within an inch or two of the top of the tray. I leave them this way until the 3 or 4 leaf stage. If your lights are too far from the seed the seedlings will get a bit leggy reaching for the light.
When I need to water at this stage, I only water from below.
I will start to transplant at the 3 to 4 leaf stage, it does help the seedlings to grow faster when you do transplant. Also remember when you do transplant you will need to use more of your growing space under the lights for these larger pots.
After transplanting I will put a plastic dome on top for a few weeks (until the seedlings start to hit the plastic dome) I remove the cover and place the lights 1 or 2 inches above the seedlings in the trays.
Remember we still will only bottom water and at this point and will start to use a weak fertilizer every other time that I water. Miracle Grow Tomato fertilizer seems to work well for hosta seedlings.
Remember this is what works for me; some other ways work for others so ask around most hosta folks will share their ideas with you. I hope you have fun with this hobby and if you have any questions just send us an e-mail. Contact Us
So have fun and and Happy Growing
More pictures about what I use in hosta seed growing as well as more information about hybridizing hosta as well.