The genetic makeup of a hosta cultivar can be an interesting and helpful piece of knowledge. For the home gardener, knowing the background of a plant may help to know how it should look and how it will grow. Hybridizers and tissue culture propagators want to know the genetics of a plant to determine which traits might be passed on to the progeny of a certain hosta.

Unfortunately, exact information is not always available for many hostas. In fact, the parentage of the majority of the hostas on the Hosta Helper are missing some or all of the genetic background. Many hostas can only be described as a "Type" plant or as having a certain plant in its "background" based on shared physical traits. We have tried to accumulate all of these types of information in one place to make the best of a less than optimum situation.

This is a listing of all plants in the database for which we have a listed pod parent, pollen parent or sport mother. They are listed in alphabetical order by cultivar name.

Included here is a complete list of all hostas in the database that have at least one new cultivar offspring to its credit. This alphabetical listing includes 1,637 cultivar or species which have been identified as parents of from 1 to several hundred new hostas.


Hybrid hostas where we have identified of at least one of its parents are listed here in alphabetical order.


Sports are more or less spontaneous changes to plant tissue. In hostas, sports of leaf tissue are highly prized for their variegation of colors.


Hosta species are those plants that grow in the wilds in Asia. There are currently 42 recognized species and many naturally occurring botanical forms or varieties. Listed here are the identified offspring of hosta species.


At times, rather than give the actual parent plant, originators will cite what is called a "complex cross" instead. This would be something like reporting [('Blue Angel' × 'Elegans') × ('Sagae' × 'Halcyon')] as the pod parent. These plants are actually the new cultivar's maternal grandparents and would be considered part of the plant's "background".


At times, records are not kept or information is not available on the parentage of a hosta cultivar. So, the parentage is listed as "Unknown".


These are the "Brothers and Sisters" of the hosta world. They are plants from seeds from the same seed pod or plants chosen for naming from the same tissue culture batch. They are not clones so they do not have the same DNA as identical twins.


A few hybridizers have experimented with using chemicals to induce changes in the genetic makeup of seedlings or sports. This may result in the production of plants that have more than the typical number of genes found in the species. These plants often exhibit traits which are different and may be desirable. Two chemicals, Colchicine and Oryzalin are most commonly used.


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