Propagation hostas are an inspiring thing when a new plant is formed, and it is always breathtaking. Many plant lovers are interested in the question – Do hostas multiply? Indeed, when I purchased my first Hosta, I had similar questions because I wanted so much to have many plants in the garden.
In this article, I want to tell you about different ways to multiply hostas. Also, I will give useful tips based not only on my experience but also on the practical knowledge of experienced collectors.
How to propagate Hostas?
In the modern world of high technology, there are many ways to reproduce living organisms, as well as hostas. However, the most common and simple are the methods of division and sowing of seeds. Next, we will talk about these two methods and briefly touch on more exotic ways.
1. Propagating by division
Propagating hostas by dividing rhizomes is the most popular method due to its simplicity. I have used this method many times and have a high percentage of success, but many subtleties are worth talking about.
First of all, it is necessary to determine the most appropriate time for separation. In principle, you can split Hosta at any time, but at different times of the year will be different percentages of success.
The two most favorable periods are spring and autumn. In the spring, when young teeth (buds) emerge from the ground, it is the best time to separate them. To be more precise, this will be the second half of spring for zone 6. If you live in a warmer climate, then the optimum period will come faster.
The next favorable time is the end of summer or the first half of autumn, depending on the climate zone. The earth at this time of year is warm enough for young plants to successfully root before winter.
Next, let’s talk about splitting the rhizomes. Depending on the size and variety of hostas, the way will be different, and the tools will also be various. Before cutting, dig out the plant and clean the roots from the soil.
If the rhizome is large, you can split it in half or four parts. In this case, you will get new plants that will quickly grow into a new place. If you want to have many plants, then you can divide into smaller parts. Each piece needs to have roots and two or three buds.
When you work with large bushes, you can use a shovel, an ax or a saw. These tools are excellent for dissecting plants.
In the case of small rhizomes or compact varieties, you need to be delicate. Use a well-sharpened knife to cut. Try to cut along the fibers. If the plant is tiny, do not divide it by more than half.
Multiplication hostas by division I describe in the article Dividing hostas: When to divide hostas? There I posted all the information I know about this topic.
The next step is to spray the wounds with a fungicide solution or powder it with ash. After that, the plants can be planted in a new place.
2. Propagating from seed
One of the most exciting ways to reproduce hostas is to sow seeds. Many collectors around the world sow a huge amount of seeds every year, hoping to get new varieties of these beautiful plants. Next, I will tell everything I know about this process.
It all starts in the summer when a tall peduncle grows from the center of the stem. On which fantastic beauty flowers are formed. Hosta flowers by themselves are lovely, and this is another reason to grow these plants in your garden.
For 1-2 months, hosta flowers are pollinated by insects. If you want to be serious about sowing seeds, then you can act as an experienced hybridizer. During flowering, select only the varieties that you like best and cross them. Cut flower stalks of other varieties that bloom at this time to avoid pollination with unwanted varieties.
Next, the process of seed ripening will take place. Flower petals will fall off, and seedboxes will form. You do not need to do anything at this time. Do not cut flower stalks with seedboxes! Let them dry.
At the end of summer, the seeds ripen and the seedboxes dry and open, at which time you can collect the seeds. Cut the flower stalks and put them on the table, being careful not to scatter the seeds. Separate all seeds from the dry inflorescences with your hands. Next, peel the seeds from the dry seedboxes.
It is necessary to sow seeds in the spring, so you should place them in a dry place away from pests. It is best to use a paper box that will absorb moisture so that no fungus forms on the seeds. It is not necessary to keep the seeds in a warm room; the garage is perfect for this.
How long are hosta seeds viable?
Hosta seeds can maintain germination for quite a while. It does not deteriorate under the influence of frost.
You can sow it next spring. If you can’t make it in the spring, you can sow next year. Many hybridizers claim that seeds are viable for 18 months.
The best time to sow seeds is in the spring, but you can try to do it in the winter. Winter sowing should begin no earlier than January and, of course, do it in a warm room.
The disadvantage of sowing in the winter is that it will take you long to adapt the seedlings to the climate outside, and not all new plants will survive it. Therefore, I recommend spring sowing.
The greenhouse is the best place to plant, but you can also use plastic trays with clear lids. There must be drainage holes in the trays. If there are no holes, then cut or drill them. Excess water should flow out of the tray and not linger in it.
The size of the containers depends on the number of seeds. It is best to use a capacity of at least 4 inches wide, 8 inches long and 4 inches deep. Of course, this is not a strict requirement, but in larger containers, you will need to water the seedlings less often, which will make it easier to care for them.
The next thing you need to take care of is the soil. It is best to use soil that is specially designed for sowing. You should only buy quality substrate from reliable manufacturers. The package must also indicate that the soil is sterilized. If you do not follow these guidelines, then the fungus can destroy your seedlings.
Pour the soil into the basket and moisten it well. You do not need to do the swamp, but the soil should be moist to the touch. Then pour the substrate into the trays almost to the top; you can slightly flatten it.
Make small holes no more than 0.5 inches deep. Put one seed in there and sprinkle with a small amount of soil. Then pour a small amount of water.
Use only distilled water. If you use tap water, be sure to boil it. You should use distilled or boiled water for the first months after sowing and sprouting new plants.
Tap water is bad because it contains chemicals that will not promote the development of new plants. Also, in such water, rot can develop more quickly. Only after 1-2 months of cultivation, the seedlings can be watered with tap water. Do not use rainwater!
As I wrote above, you can cover the trays with transparent plastic lids or place them in transparent plastic bags to maintain high humidity. However, the greenhouse will be a more convenient place.
After sowing, move the trays to the greenhouse. Cover the greenhouse with a shading grid, use the darkest grid as much as possible. Young hostas do not need much sun, and the grid will keep the greenhouse from overheating.
Humidity in the greenhouse should be at least 85-90%. This can be achieved by using a humidifier or spraying the walls with water. Also, the surface of the soil in the trays should be constantly moist; do not allow it to dry.
You should ventilate the greenhouse at least once every two days. If you have time, air it daily.
Good seed germination requires an air temperature of + 68 ° F. If this value is lower, then the seedlings will sprout longer. In the spring in the greenhouse, this temperature can be reached around the end of March, but it depends on your climate zone.
How long does it take to grow a hosta from seed?
With favorable humidity and temperature, sprouts will appear in 8-12 days. If this does not happen, do not worry, sometimes it can take longer. To me, this is the most exciting moment.
This period, when Hosta has sprouted but has not yet formed into a full-fledged plant, is the most dangerous. Pests or diseases can easily damage young seedlings. However, it is not easy here; it is dangerous to spray young plants with chemicals.
You will have to ventilate the greenhouse more often and collect the pests with your hands to protect your crops. You can also use remedies that do not directly affect the plants but are located near them.
About 1-2 months after germination, small hostas will form 3 leaves, which means it’s time to plant them in separate pots.
When transplanting, use the same soil as the crop. The size of the pots should be at least 4 inches deep. After transplanting, water the plants well, you can also feed them with a minimal amount of fertilizer.
It will be possible to plant hostas in the ground in late summer when they are already large enough.
3. Propagation by leaves
Will a hosta leaf root in water?
Yes, rooting a hosta stem with leaves is possible, but the success rate will be low compared to previous methods.
I was only once lucky enough to do this. When I transplanted a dwarf hosta variety, a leaf with a stem came off. I plunged it into the ground and forgot about it. After a while, there were new leaves, and I got a new plant. All other attempts to repeat this have failed.
There is a lot of information on the internet that many people have had a successful experience of rooting hosta leaves, so let’s talk about this in more detail.
The first thing to do is to tear the leaf with the stem from the rhizome so that it has a little white root tissue. The photo shows detached stems with root tissue, and they have a high chance of rooting.
Next, you need to choose where to root the leaf. There are two ways. The first is in water; the second is soil. Many people claim that there is a higher percentage of Hosta rooting success in the water. However, this method has the disadvantage that you have to change the water quite often.
Rooting hosta stem in soil requires less attention, but the risk of failure is higher.
In a few weeks, the stem will either root or perish. If you are lucky and the roots appeared to plant Hosta in the ground and feed a little. Also, do not forget to water it more often.
4. Propagation tissue culture
The most exotic way to reproduce hostas is tissue culture propagation. Due to its complexity, it is not widespread in nurseries. However, it can produce great results, so let’s talk briefly about it.
It all starts with the fact that part of the plant is cut into small pieces. Then the cut material is sterilized and placed and transparent containers with a special gel. This gel contains nutrients, vitamins, and growth promoters.
All work is done in a special sterile incubator where there is no spore of fungus and other pathogenic bacteria. When the plant particle is placed in a gel, the container is covered with a lid and transferred to a special box where the required temperature and light.
After a short period, the cells begin to divide and a new plant, an exact replica of the parent plant, forms. After some time, the plant is transplanted into the soil.
The advantages of this method are that one leaf can produce a large number of daughter plants. The growth rate is much higher than in the soil; in one-season, you can get several times more new plants than traditional methods of reproduction.
Advantages include the fact that this method can multiply rare varieties that grow slowly, and to divide them is difficult.
The disadvantages of this method are it’s costly, not every nursery, and especially the gardener can afford the equipment for this. It is also a rather complicated process that requires special skills.
People also ask
Can you propagate hosta leaves?
Yes, it is possible to propagate the leaves of hostas, but if they are together with stems. I described this process in the article.
Will hosta stems root in water?
Rooting the stems of hostas in water is possible, but it takes a lot of care. You can read more about rooting stems in this article.
When can I separate my hostas?
The best time to share hostas is the second half of spring when the earth warms up, and the plants begin to grow. The second favorable period for this is early fall 30-40 days before the first frost.
How fast do hostas multiply?
It all depends on the variety. Vigorous hosta varieties grow to size within two years when they can be divided. Most varieties need 3-4 years to do this. Rare varieties multiply very slowly.
Is giant Hosta’s propagation different from that of other sizes?
Large hostas reproduce in the same way as other varieties. The only thing that sets them apart is that their rhizomes are large and heavy, so it will be harder to work with them.