(9-25-18) This past year Tim Henson from Portage, Michigan had his first group of seedlings that he has raised since getting hooked on hosta.
Last year, the only hosta I had with pods was a Big Mama (old cultivar) that I got from a guy who had hundreds and hundreds of hostas and was open pollinated there. There’s no way to know what pollen these seedlings got. I grew every single one and didn’t cull any yet. It’s just so much fun to see how different they are from each other and how much they can change in a year’s time.
I think many new to the hosta world feel the same way, growing new seedlings is a big accomplishment. Long-time breeders may cringe when they see this story, most who have done this for a long-time cull many of their seedlings who don’t meet certain standards. Henson’s excitement and enthusiasm are very contagious and he enjoys each new seedling. Plus you might see why he doesn’t cull at this time, but first the Hosta Heritage Lines:
- Henson’s seedlings (Big Momma x OP)
Big Mama (‘Blue Tiers’ x ‘Blue Angel’) (Florence Shaw/Paul Aden 1978)
Deep blue green heart shaped leaves , 12-15″ long and 14″ wide. Lightly seersuckered and lightly cupped. Pale lavender flowers.
‘Alabama Bowl‘ = ‘sieboldiana ‘Elegans” x PP
‘Julia Hardy‘ = ‘Tokudama’ x PP
- You can purchase Big Mama online from Land of the Giants for $15.00
Blue Tiers (x ‘Tokudama’) x (x ‘Tokudama’) (Paul Aden 1976)
Blue Angel (‘Aden 365’ x ‘Aden 361’) (Florence Shaw/Paul Aden 1986) – 1991 Eunice Fisher Award, 1990 Lucille Simpers Award – blue green leaves, white flowers on 48″ scapes – has numerous progeny
Henson shows us some of his seedling from Big Mama and comments on each one:
This one is the most vivid color of chartreuse I’ve ever seen. As you might be able to tell by the up close picture, it has an almost orangeish yellow glow to it. (Hard to capture in a photo)
This one, I love the heart shaped leaves and when it leafs out, it has a dark red on the petioles. This color holds somewhat throughout the year and stays dark red at the base all year.
This next one I love for a few reasons. It’s hard to tell, but when it leafs out, it has a gorgeous blue color to it. As the leaves age, they turn a very dark green. One of the darkest greens I’ve ever seen.
This is my favorite one of the larger seedlings. As you can tell by it compared to another of the same age and planted in the same spot, it’s much larger than the others. It also has a leaf shape that I love for its symmetry.
A picture of the group as a whole. I especially like this because although they are all from the same pod parent, every singe seedling is different in some way. In this picture, you can see variations in color, leaf shape, and size. Every single seedling is a surprise.
One thing for sure about hosta is that seedlings never look like their pod or pollen parent, but all have their own traits and identity. Henson is happy with his direction he is taking.
They’re all so unique.