Procedures for Collecting Hosta Seeds

Hostas are popular perennials that are known for their beautiful foliage--leaves that come in a wide variety of sizes, textures and shapes. Their leaves have numerous combinations of white, blue, gold and green. They are widely available and easy to grow. Their seeds come in pods that split open. It is not difficult to collect seeds for germination.

Choosing Ripe Pods

Over the summer the hosta seed pod will change from green to yellow to brown. In September or October, the bottom pods will begin to split open. This means the seed is ripe. If you do this indoors under grow lights it will take from 8-10 weeks. It's best to leave the pods on the plant as long as possible. The pods develop from the bottom of the stalk to the top. So when the top seed has dark seeds, the seeds lower down are ripe as well. You can germinate seeds from pods that are green, but maroon, purple or brown is better.

Opening the Pods

You must catch the seed before it pops out. One way to do this is to tie a cloth bag over the stalk holding the seed pod. The cloth should let air in so fungus and mold won't grow on the stalk. If the pod has not opened on its own, you can open it with a knife, but be careful not to rip the papery seed inside.

Indoor Methods

An alternative to waiting for the pods to pop open on the plant is to cut the entire spike containing the seed pods, put it in a paper bag and let it dry completely in a cool, dry room. Do this about 3 weeks after the last bloom has faded and the seed pods are all developed. Another trick is to dump the seed pods into paper box and dry indoors where it is dry and warm. The pods will split open in 2-3 weeks. Shake until the seeds come out of the pods.

Early Collection

You can collect your seed pods early and complete their ripening in a solution of one teaspoon of sugar to 4 ounces of water. To prevent molds and bacteria from growing in the sugar solution, boil the water and add a few drops of bleach. After a few months the pods will ripen.

Keywords: collecting Hofta seeds, gathering Hofta seeds, propagating Hofta

About this Author

Richard Hoyt, an internationally published author of 26 mysteries, thrillers and other novels, is a former reporter for Honolulu dailies and writer for "Newsweek" magazine. He taught nonfiction writing and journalism at the university level for 10 years. He holds a Ph.D. in American studies.