First Czechoslovak Garden Club of America

First Czechoslovak Garden Club of America

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June 2013 Speaker

Posted by First Czech Garden Club on June 17, 2013 at 2:20 PM

Tom Micheletti gave an absolutely fascinating presentation about Hostas.  He runs The Hosta Patch where he raises over 500 varieties of Hostas for sale. 

General information about Hostas

Hostas are a heardy perennial that can thrive in Zones 3 through 9.  They need a cold dormancy period of about 30 days so you cannot grow them indoors.  Hostas originated from the Orient - primarily Japan.  Most hostas are propogated through tissue culture.  They do not reproduce the same plant from their seed.  There are three types of growth patters for hostas: Mound, Spread, and Upright.  Hostas come in many sizes.  Their leaf size is from small to gigantic.

New Hosta varieties come about in two different ways.  The slow method is when Botanists  create new varieties by cross pollinating different varieties (Hybridization).  This can take several generations and thousands of plants. The Botanist may end up linking one of the interim cross- breads and make that a new variety and not continue with his or her original plan.  The other way new varities are created is by a mutation in the tissue culture.  Thousands and thousands of hostas are created using the Tissue Culter method of propogations.  Every once in a while a mutation occurs and new variety of plant is formed.  These mutations are called Sports. (Maybe that is were the term a "Good Sport" came from!).  If the grower can recreate the sport a new varity is created.

Hostas come in many colors.  Hosta leaves can be streaked (or veriegated) with Yellow or White.  The whiter the leaf the more sun the plant needs.  There is no chlorophyl where the white is.  The streaks in the leaves will eventually disappear.  The plant mst be divided periodically to keep the streak.  Separate the part that turned all green from the rest of the plant to keep the color.  Blue hostas have a blue wax on the leaves.  As summer, and the heat, progresses, the blue melts off the leaves and the plant turns green.  There currently is not a Red Hosta but botanists are working on one.  It might be ready in a few years.

Hostas are usually not know for their flowers but some have been bred to have striking flowers.  Each flower lasts one day and is very perfumy.

The best  time to divide a hosta is when it is cool.  This can be in the Spring when the plant is first coming up or in late August or September.  It is the roots that make new plants.

The biggest problem with Hostas are slugs.  They eat holes in the beautiful leaves.  unfortunately there is no panecea for these pests.  Iron Sulfate works a litte and offers good nutrients to the plant.  When you fertilize hostas, lookf for fertilizer that has a higher first and last number.  An even mix will also work.  Make sure not to touch the leaves as they will burn.

Most of all........Enjoy your Hostas!

Categories: Meeting Speakers

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