First Blush

(10-6-18) Developing a landmark hosta doesn’t happen everyday, hosta breeders are very intense on how they cross to find what they are looking for. Hosta parentage is quite an interesting subject, the sky is the limit. You don’t need to cross a registered hosta to another registered hosta, some hosta list unknown for parentage, some list OP (open pollination) which does not show an exact pollen donor, an unnamed seedling. Since seedlings don’t look like their (pod or pollen) parents, makes it even harder to get exactly what you are looking for.

Even when you make that special cross, you have to hope that the features you want show up in one or two of your seedlings, the odds are usually not on your side.

But all of this is why those who love hostas, love the challenge of producing the next ‘big thing‘.

One of the best in developing those landmark type of hostas is Bob Solberg. Solberg’s recent hard work in developing a red hosta was highlighted recently with the introduction of ‘First Blush‘, it has has created quite a buzz and a lot of excitement for breeders.

First Blush is the a ‘hot’ item when talking about crosses and what the future holds for the development of the red hosta. 2018 saw numerous breeders try many different crosses, 2019 should see the same amount of action.

First Blush has one of the ingredients that makes it special, 48/49.

Bob Solberg comments on 48/49:

48/49 is a group of seedlings from the cross both ways of ‘One Man’s Treasure’ and a seedling with H. longipes and H. pycnophylla to add white backs into the line. From that group three were named, ‘Sugar Plum’, ‘Plum Pudding’ and ‘Cherry Flip’. 48/49 Best is another from the group and used in many of the crosses.

When asked if 48/49 is still his favorite breeder to use in his crosses?

Not any more. I use its children.

One of the new ‘children’ that is being used by many breeders hoping to improve on the red hosta in the future is Sugar Plum. It is one of three crosses that use One Man’s Treasure (Plum Pudding and Cherry Flip).

Solberg uses many of his own developed hostas, but is also not afraid to use some of those ‘classic‘ related hostas to make it work (clausa f. normalis (Fumio Maekawa 1937) and longipes f. hypoglauca (Fumio Maekawa 1940)).

Hosta Heritage Lines

First Blush (48/49 seedling X ‘Beet Salad‘)

  • Beet Salad (“clausa f. normalis F2” x (x ‘Strawberry Banana Smoothie‘)  (Bob Solberg 2009)
  • Strawberry Banana Smoothie (‘Whiskey Sour‘ x (‘Whiskey Sour’ sibling) (Bob Solberg 2008) Progeny include, ‘Lemon Ice‘, ‘Mango Salsa‘ , Peach Salsa‘  and Smiley Face‘ all four is this cross “clausa f. normalis F2” x PP
  • clausa f. normalis (species recorded by Fumio Maekawa in 1937)

Tom Terrific (48/49 X ‘Key West‘) (Bob Solberg 2018) large yellow hosta with purple petioles

Produced by 48/49 Seedling Group

Sugar Plum‘ (Seedling X ‘One Man’s Treasure‘)
Plum Pudding‘ (One Man’s Treasure x ‘Sugar Plum ‘)
Cherry Flip‘ (Seedling X ‘One Man’s Treasure‘)

  • One Man’s Treasure pod parent is Hosta longipes f. hypoglauca (H. & D. Benedict/B. Solberg)

As the red hosta craze continues, many will back on the 48/49 seedlings used by Solberg. Many hope Solberg will introduce another red landmark hosta soon, maybe a cross with First Blush will be a part of that.