Hosta Hybridizing

We have searched our copies of The Hosta Journal for anything that might relate to any of the over 12,000 hosta names in our database. We extracted parts of articles that dealt with historical matters, opinions of well-known hostaphiles, recommendations (positive or negative), lookalike cultivars and the seemingly never ending problem with confusing names.

Where appropriate, we placed a copy of the material on the individual cultivar or species page. We also put the information and quotations on a group of topic pages listed below:

     
  1. Blue Hostas
  2. Early Hosta Cultivars
  3. Fall Bloomers
  4. Flowers
  5. Green Hostas
  6. Halcyon Group
  7. Hosta History
  8. Hybridizing
  1. Japanese Words
  2. Large Hostas
  3. Look-a-Like Hostas
  4. Hosta Names
  5. Non-US Hostas
  6. Photo Essays
  7. Plant Traits
  8. Hosta Series
  1. Hosta Species
  2. Top Rated Hostas
  3. Unstable Variegation
  4. White Margin Hostas
  5. White Medial Hostas
  6. Yellow Hostas
  7. Yellow Margin Hostas
  8. Yellow Medial Hostas

An article by Robert Savory in The Hosta Journal (1985 Vol. 16) states that, "H. 'Golden Tiara' appeared as a result of our propagation experiments using H. nakaiana seedlings in the 1970's. We wanted to increase the number of shoots of seedling plants of H. nakaiana so we could hasten our crown-cutting propagation to meet the heavy demand for them. We treated 750 H. nakaiana seedlings with a mixture of hormones and vitamins in order to "break" more dormant eyes and to possibly stimulate mutations in these highly desirable small-leaved hostas...H. 'Golden Tiara' was one of several induced sports that appeared in this group."

An article about H. 'Antioch' by Warren I. Pollock in The Hosta Journal (1985 Vol. 16) states that, "Chet Tompkins of Canby, Oregon believes he can trace this hosta to one of his mother's plants dating back to 1928...Among the several hosta varieties that his mother sold to the old Wayside Gardens of Mentor, Ohio, from 1936 to 1940, one had the designation "1928 #7 W.E." (W.E. meant White Edged.) Most assuredly this hosta is the one we now call H. 'Antioch'...I have a copy of the 1973 Wayside Gardens' catalogue and it lists "H. fortunei aurea marmorta"...another example where nursery people -- not botanists -- have given a Latin botanical name to a hosta..."aurea marmorta" means "marbled with gold"...Chet Tompkins' mother's "1928 #7 W.E." became "H. fortunei Aurea Marmorata" which gave way to H. 'Antioch'."

An article about H. 'Aureafolia' by Warren I. Pollock in The Hosta Journal (1985 Vol. 16) states that, "Carl Starker of Oregon gave this name to Chet Tompkins' mother's "1928 #11 W.E.)...Starker like to use these leaves in his floral arrangements. Tompkins has name his hosta 'Laella'..."

An article by W. George Schmid in The Hosta Journal (1985 Vol. 16) states that, "In 1969, when I first started hybridizing experiments with H. ventricosa I concentrated on this species, because it was very fertile and always gave a good crop of seedlings. Yet, all I ever got was more H. ventricosa ...a plant showing pseudogamous apomixis....apomixis means modification of the normal sexual process...pseudogamy (from the Greek "pseudo" = false, and "gamy" = sexual union)...It really is vegetative propagation by way of seeds and means that this hosta cannot produce a cross as a pod parent...H. ventricosa as a pollen parent will produce hybrids."

An article about H. 'Dorothy Benedict' by Herb Benedict in The Hosta Journal (1991 Vol. 22 No. 1) states that, "Prior to 1978, many growers, Donahue, Aden, and others, failed to get splashed seedlings after planting thousands of 'Frances Williams' seeds. I thought I would give it a try. During July, 1978, I selfed (self-pollinated) the blooms...The next year, in late May, about 200 seedlings came up. A few were gold and all the rest green or blue-green except one that had a narrow gold stripe in each leaf...It bloomed for the first time in 1983 at the age of 4 years. It was named for my best friend, Dorothy Benedict, and registered."

An article about H. 'Dorothy Benedict' by Herb Benedict in The Hosta Journal (1991 Vol. 22 No. 1) states that, "During 1990, the six best, 7 year old seedlings were named and three were registered.

#1. 'Gil Jones' A large upright H. sieboldiana-type, with blue-green leaves and a wide cream edge.
#2. 'Jim Wilkins' A low spreading reverse with a cream center and with a blue-green border on its leaves.
#3 'Hideko Gowen' A tall, upright reverse with a maple leaf cream center, a wide green edge and a thick cupped round leaf.
#4 'Tom Boy' A small, slow-growing miniature H. sieboldiana with a chartreuse edged, cupped, round green leaf.
#5 'Ruby Benedict' A low, spreading, very gold leaf with a green edge, and a very puckered, round leaf.
#6 'Bashful Polly' A wavy edged, splashed leaf.

Another 'Dorothy Benedict' seedling, grown and registered by Jim Wilkins, is 'Herb Benedict', a splashed, round leaf with blue overtones and winner of the Savory Shield Award in Jackson (MI), 1988, for the best new seedling growing in a convention garden."

An article by Warren I. Pollock in The Hosta Journal (1991 Vol. 22 No. 2) states that, "I am in favor of hosta cultivars having some identification in their names as to who hybridized or introduced the plants...The hosta introductions of Mildred (Mrs Charles W.) Seaver...are the classic example of this. I believe she was the first to do it with hostas. Many, but not all, of her introductions have "Sea" as the first word in their names...In 1980, Mrs. Ann Arett...registered an all-green hosta under the name 'Sea Shells'. As a courtesy to Mildred Seaver, and with Ann Arrett's permission, the name was changed to 'Shells at Sea' in 1983."

Note: Since the time this article appeared in 1991 many more hosta name series have come into use. We have cultivar lists from our database for many of them.

An article in The Hosta Journal (1995 Vol. 26 No. 1) citing Vol. 1, #2, Fall 1993, Great Lakes Region Newsletter included a list of Hostas for The Hybridizer from Jim Dishon:

An article about H. 'Fragrant Bouquet' by Warren I. Pollock in The Hosta Journal (1996 Vol. 27 No. 1) states that, "Three sports have been found by Bob Solberg...H. 'Guacamole' has glossy yellowy chartreuse leaves with a margin somewhat like the color of guacamole. Flowers are fragrant...Another sport is 'Fried Bananas'. It is not variegated. The leaves are shiny yellowy chartreuse. Flowers are fragrant. Solberg says 'Fried Bananas' is good with 'Guacamole'...The third is 'Fried Green Tomatoes'; it's another non-variegated sport having tomato-green foliage. The leaves are frosted in spring and very shiny in summer. Flowers are fragrant also...All three are fast growers. They do best given some direct sun."

In an article about hybridizing by Tony Avent in The Hosta Journal (1996 Vol. 27 No. 1),  Tony gives the following comments on cultivars he has introduced: "H. 'Abba Dabba Do' - a great gold margined sport of H. 'Sun Power' ...very sun tolerant...makes a grand old clump."

In an article about hybridizing by Tony Avent in The Hosta Journal (1996 Vol. 27 No. 1),  Tony gives the following comments on cultivars he has introduced: "H. 'Andy Taylor' - outstanding dark green matte finish hosta with wonderful pure white flowers...An 'August Moon' x H. 'Tardiflora' cross...will never knock your socks off, but truly wonderful!"

In an article about hybridizing by Tony Avent in The Hosta Journal (1996 Vol. 27 No. 1),  Tony gives the following comments on cultivars he has introduced: "H. 'Barney Fife' - brother to above (H. 'Andy Taylor')...nearly pink flowers."

In an article about hybridizing by Tony Avent in The Hosta Journal (1996 Vol. 27 No. 1),  Tony gives the following comments on cultivars he has introduced: "H. 'Bubba' - fascinating op (open-pollinated) H. 'Sum and Substance' seedling...very glossy leaves...bright red neck...unique. Only drawback is sterility...probably due to abundance of steroids as a child!"

In an article about hybridizing by Tony Avent in The Hosta Journal (1996 Vol. 27 No. 1),  Tony gives the following comments on cultivars he has introduced: "H. 'Elephant Burger' - op (open-pollinated) seedling of unknown parent from a hosta that I found in an old garden...uniquely corrugated foliage...introduced as a breeder only...makes great offspring when used as a pollen parent to put leaf corrugation in fast growing smaller hostas."

In an article about hybridizing by Tony Avent in The Hosta Journal (1996 Vol. 27 No. 1),  Tony gives the following comments on cultivars he has introduced: "H. Elvis Lives' - first plant that I have seen to put blue color into a leaf like H. 'Green Fountain'. Some of our newer hybrids with this are truly stunning...creamy edges...WOW!"

In an article about hybridizing by Tony Avent in The Hosta Journal (1996 Vol. 27 No. 1),  Tony gives the following comments on cultivars he has introduced: "H. 'Fourth of July' - This is a J.C. Taylor hybrid that he was discarding. A kikutii-like leaf, but nice tall flower scapes in late season...very different...used in breeding."

In an article about hybridizing by Tony Avent in The Hosta Journal (1996 Vol. 27 No. 1),  Tony gives the following comments on cultivars he has introduced: "H. 'Little Black Scape' - unique seedling from H. 'Sum and Substance' . Leaves emerge green, but change to gold about the time that the nearly jet black scape emerges...very dramatic...not released yet...hopefully soon."

In an article about hybridizing by Tony Avent in The Hosta Journal (1996 Vol. 27 No. 1),  Tony gives the following comments on cultivars he has introduced: "H. 'Outhouse Delight' - a breakthrough plant...white speckled leaves, stoloniferous (Hostas are rhizomateous) habit...simply the ugliest hosta ever hybridized, but the best parent ...Keep your eyes peeled for some real knockouts."

In an article about hybridizing by Tony Avent in The Hosta Journal (1996 Vol. 27 No. 1),  Tony gives the following comments on cultivars he has introduced: "H. 'Patrician' - an Ed Skrocki release, vigorous grower with nice yellow-edged leaves...great late season floral display."

In an article about hybridizing by Tony Avent in The Hosta Journal (1996 Vol. 27 No. 1),  Tony gives the following comments on cultivars he has introduced: "H. 'Potomac Pride' - unique hybrid of H. yingeri x H. 'Blue Cadet' ...a larger plant with spider-like flowers...future parent to many spectacular introductions."

In an article about hybridizing by Tony Avent in The Hosta Journal (1996 Vol. 27 No. 1),  Tony gives the following comments on cultivars he has introduced: "H. 'Red Neck Heaven' - underrated, but awesome plant. This is a selection from seed from Japan of H. kikutii caput-avis. The dark petioles and white backed leaves are awesome...great form!"

In an article about hybridizing by Tony Avent in The Hosta Journal (1996 Vol. 27 No. 1),  Tony gives the following comments on cultivars he has introduced: "H. 'Sweet Tater Pie' - H. 'Golden Scepter' x H. yingeri - a totally new look in hostas...the leaves look waxy gold, rippled with different colors in each ripple...wonderful yingeri-like flowers."

In an article about hybridizing by Tony Avent in The Hosta Journal (1996 Vol. 27 No. 1),  Tony gives the following comments on cultivars he has introduced: "H. 'Waving Wuffles' - seedling of H. ventricosa with much narrower leaves and incredible ruffling...the clump gets much better with age!"

In an article about hybridizing by Tony Avent in The Hosta Journal (1996 Vol. 27 No. 1),  Tony gives the following comments on cultivars he has introduced: "H. 'White Wall Tire' - the most talked about hosta in our garden...seedling of H. 'Outhouse Delight'...makes a large H. 'Fortunei' like clump of white-frosted leaves...very vigorous...coming soon to a catalog near you."

In an article about hybridizing by Tony Avent in The Hosta Journal (1996 Vol. 27 No. 1),  Tony gives the following comments on cultivars he has introduced:  "...H. 'Outhouse Delight' is our biggest breakthrough, followed by H. 'Elvis Lives'. I am real excited about a coming introduction, H. 'Old Yeller', a cross with H. yingeri and H. 'Sun Power' ...pretty incredible...brilliant unique golden color, ruffled leaves, yinger-like flowers...takes full sun...Oh, Baby!"

An article about H. 'Undulata' and its origins by Bob Solberg in The Hosta Journal (1996 Vol. 27 No. 1) states that, "H. 'Crispula' is an interspecific hybrid of H. sieboldii x H. montana collected from the wild in Japan and not a mutation of H. montana alone. The most compelling evidence is that leaf vein count is intermediate between H. montana and H. sieboldii and the pollen type of H. 'Crispula' and H. sieboldii is identical...While the data presented here strongly support these conclusions, they do not provide absolute proof. DNA testing of these cultivars would prove very interesting."

An article about H. 'Great Expectations'   by Warren I. Pollock in The Hosta Journal (2000 Vol. 31 No. 1) reports that John Bond wrote, "I became aware of an obvious sport on a substantial clump of H. sieboldiana 'Elegans' ...in the rhododendron species collection in the Valley Gardens in Windsor Great Park during the early 1980s. After a year or so I decided to remove this sport for it was clearly promising to say the least...The three "cuttings" were carefully planted in a sheltered corner of my own garden...The following spring produced three nice little plants...Rightly or wrongly I gave Paul Aden [Baldwin, New York] one of my plants and the remaining two were transferred to the Savill Garden from where sadly they were both stolen!...So that is the very simple story and explains that there was no mysterious breeding programme and also that H. 'Frances Williams' had no part to play."

An article by Warren I. Pollock in The Hosta Journal (2002 Vol. 33 No. 1) quotes Tony Avent "Although H. 'Stolen Kiss' was introduced as a sport of H. 'Cheatin Heart', it is actually a sport from the Tiara Group...probably H. 'Emerald Scepter'...When we compared it to the Tiara Group plants that were in flower here, the flowering habit was identical, as were the growth and form. I talked to Jim Anderson, who acknowledged that 'anything is possible'."

An article by Bill Meyer in The Hosta Journal (2003 Vol. 34 No. 1) states that, "Because Frances Williams' discovery of 'Beatrice', the first known streaked plant, H. sieboldii became the basis for early hosta breeding by Paul Aden, Kevin Vaughn and the Lachmans...The primary positive traits 'Beatrice' has contributed are variegation, heavy seed set (including very good seed set into later generations), easy combination with other species and hybrids, strong and rapid growth, red coloring in the petioles and rapid formation of divisions. Negative traits include poor substance, ordinary and common appearance, and strong resistance to blue color and lutescent yellow color."

An article  by C.H. Falstad about the stability of colors in hosta leaves in The Hosta Journal (2006 Vol. 37 No. 1) says, "Examples of this backward mutations - which move the plant closer to its more natural state of all-green leaves - are the yellow-leaved 'Vanilla Cream'...sporting to 'Wylde Green Cream'...which has a dark green margin and yellow center, and to 'Ice Cream'...which has a green center and yellow margin...Some yellow-leaved varieties seem to be able to mutate to forms with subtle variegation. H. 'Lakeside Symphony'...which comes from 'Piedmont Gold'...is an example, as is the more recent green-margined 'Corn Belt'...which comes from 'Jimmy Crack Corn'."

An article by noted hybridizer and nurseryman Tony Avent in The Hosta Journal (2006 Vol. 37 No. 2) contained his brief opinions on how to improve hostas currently (2006) considered to be of Top 25 caliber:
  1. H. 'Sum and Substance' : Needs brighter yellow foliage, more rigid scape.
  2. H. 'Sagae': Very slow to finish in pots; takes two seasons to get a good edge.
  3. H. 'Great Expectations' : Great in open shade or morning sun but hates dark shade.
  4. H. 'June': Slow to look mature in containers and in the ground.
  5. H. 'Paul's Glory': Very difficult to get to come true in tissue culture.
  6. H. 'Guacamole': Better foliage color contrast needed.
  7. H. 'Patriot' : Needs to finish off in containers faster.
  8. H. montana 'Aureomarginata': Needs to emerge later to avoid frosts
  9. H. 'Gold Standard' : Yellow color could emerge and stay brighter.
  10. H. 'Regal Splendor': Takes several seasons to develop a nice wide edge.
  11. H. 'Frances Williams' : Foliage burns.
  12. H. 'Blue Angel' : Foliage could be much bluer and hold color.
  1. H. 'Krossa Regal':Needs shorter and more attractive scape.
  2. H. 'Fragrant Bouquet': Foliage color combination has little market appeal.
  3. H. 'Whirlwind': Central leaf color fades.
  4. H. 'Love Pat': Could be faster-growing.
  5. H. 'Halcyon' : Could be faster-growing.
  6. H. 'Sun Power' : O.K. as is.
  7. H. 'Inniswood': Could be faster to marketable-size finish crop.
  8. H. 'Striptease': Needs to be more stable.
  9. H. 'On Stage': Leaf color could hold longer; slow in containers.
  10. H. 'Spilt Milk': Leaf pattern could be more vivid, and it grows slowly.
  11. H. 'Fire and Ice': Could be more vigorous.
  12. H. 'Pandora's Box': Needs more heat-tolerance.
  13. H. 'Elegans': Needs bluer foliage that lasts into the summer.

An article by Kevin Walek in The Hosta Journal (2008 Vol. 39 No. 2) states that, "H. 'Candy Dish' and its pod parent, 'Urajiro Hachijo', probably a form of H. longipes, both show potential for breeding outstanding piecrusted cultivars...Think about how many people coveted 'Donahue Piecrust' for its wavy edge and coloration. Now think about the same look on a much smaller leaf, with a much smaller and tighter clump. You can imagine the possibilities."

In an article about H. 'Uberageous' in The Hosta Journal (2018 Vol. 49 No. 1) its originator, Rick Goodenough made the following remarks, "H. 'Uberageous' forms a magnificent clump nearly 30 inches tall and 4+ feet wide with near white blooms at mid-season. Very large blue mounded leaves are generously streaked with cream and gold...the largest streaked breeder I have worked with. It is a prolific seed producer with a high proportion of variegated seedlings and good strong growers...makes a stunning clump itself."

An article by Warren I. Pollock in The Hosta Journal (2011 Vol. 42 No. 2) quotes Dr Kevin Vaughn discussing H. 'Breeder's Choice', "...was never meant for distribution as a garden specimen. This because the individual plants can be so variable in their variegation patterns. Some are handsome and others a bit less than that; all are fine breeders."

An article by Rick Goodenough in The Hosta Journal (2012 Vol. 43 No. 1) states that, “A relatively recent release, ‘Leaping Lipizzan’ is a strong breeder that turns out a high percentage of quality, streaked seedlings…Seven of those terrific seedlings include ‘Breeder’s Cup’, ‘Scalloped Potatoes’, ‘Dover Downs’, ‘Suffolk Downs’, ‘Gran Premio’, ‘The Stone Horse’ and ‘Belmont Stakes’.”

An article by Rick Goodenough in The Hosta Journal (2012 Vol. 43 No. 1) states that, “Pretty too, but in a more striking sense, is ‘Gran Premio’, with its strongly upturned leaf edges. I can hardly wait to see if this intriguing trait will be passed along to its seedlings.”

An article by Rick Goodenough in The Hosta Journal (2012 Vol. 43 No. 1) states that, “At the time I planted my ‘Leaping Lipizzan’ test seeds in 2008. I shared the same seeds with numerous folks who wanted to try them…Trudy Van Wyke…has named one of these fine blue streakers ‘Hosana’. Jeff Moore has an interesting and fairly rare yellow streaker from this lot that he calls ‘Stewball’ from the Peter, Paul and Mary song about a racehorse.”

An article by Rick Goodenough in The Hosta Journal (2012 Vol. 43 No. 1) states that, “Another “borrowed” plant that I have been particularly pleased with is named ‘Red Legged Plover’. I got the seed, which is out of ‘Katsuragawa Beni’ and a first generation seedling of ‘Kokuryu’, through an exchange with Jeff Moore…H. ‘Red Legged Plover’ was the only yellow viridescent seedling of the lot. It exhibits some nicer-than-average burgundy-toned flowers which was one of Jeff’s objectives for this cross.”

An article by Rick Goodenough in The Hosta Journal (2012 Vol. 43 No. 1) states that, ‘Neptune’ x ‘Fleet Week’ “One of the best so far from that cross is one I call ‘Neptune’s Chariot’. It has a dusky, true blue base color and lovely white backs, with leaf edges that are wavy and appear serrated…holds its blue until quite late in the season…”

An article by Warren I. Pollock in The Hosta Journal  (2014 Vol. 45 No. 1) states that, "The AHS Cultivar Origination Commission…concluded that Kevin C. Vaughn and the late Florence Shaw should be credited for some of Aden’s registrations…Eight of Paul Aden ’s crème de la crème registrations are credited to Kevin Vaughn as originator and 16 to Florence Shaw…Among them are H. ‘Fragrant Bouquet’ (K. Vaughn – 1982), ‘So Sweet’ (K. Vaughn –1986), ‘Zounds’ (F. Shaw – 1978), ‘Love Pat’ (F. Shaw – 1978), ‘Sum and Substance’ (F. Shaw – 1980) and ‘Blue Angel’ (F. Shaw – 1986)."

An article by Warren I. Pollock in The Hosta Journal (2014 Vol. 45 No. 2) states that, "H. 'Liberty Bell' crossed with ('Urajiro Hachijo' × H. pycnophylla) is a favorite pod parent of Don's (Don Dean). He used it to produce H. 'Celtic Bouquet' and H. 'Peek-a-boo Purple', both registered in 2011, and H. 'Ebony Towers' and H. 'Garnet Spires', in 2005. (Special Note: Parentages of 'Garnet Spires' and 'Peek-a-boo Purple' were corrected in the 2013 Registrations issue..."
 

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