Growing Hosta Seed: Tips and Links

A reminder to all hosta seed customers:

  • Hostas do not come true from seed. Every hosta seedling is a genetic individual. We can share what type of colors, sizes, and leaf-forms you might see in the variety of offspring, but it is 100% a gamble. That is both the joy and heartbreak of growing hostas from seed.
  • The central coloration of a non-streaked but variegated hosta mother plant plays a big role in what seedlings get; white centers tend to result in “fatal” white offspring. This is why you’ll rarely see us offer any seeds from white-centered plants.
  • Expect mainly to only solid-colored leaves in the offspring of variegated plants. The only reliable way to get some variegation in your offspring is to select seeds from streaked mothers (streakers); again, the mother (pod parent) plays a large role in this aspect of what you’ll see in seedlings. This, combined with the inherent instability of a streaked hosta, is why they’re in higher demand and cost more, both as actual plants to purchase and as seeds to play with.
  • Please consider sharing your results with us, and we will share them freely as well. If a certain type of seed is failing consistently, or are producing very low rates of desirable seedlings, we’ll want to adjust our future offerings to account for that!
  • Unless otherwise noted, all our hosta seeds are O.P. (open pollination) which means nature decided who fertilized the flowers. You don’t know who the father is, but thankfully the mother plays a large role in what you could expect.
  • We have absolutely no way to guarantee viability or success in germinating our seeds, so all seeds are sold “as-is”. The only thing we can stand behind is that the proper pod parent was listed with the seeds, and the number of seeds will be at, or above, the listed quantity. Our advice is that hosta seeds are inherently a gamble, so don’t spend more than you can comfortably throw away!
  • Germination rates are all over the place, and the quantity of desirable seedlings produced is going to vary. Some seeds might give you excellent germination, but little variety or quality, whereas others might offer higher rates of desirable plants.
  • Plan to cull heavily, as you can quickly overwhelm your resources if you try to save every seedling. If you’re really trying to grow streakers, maybe focus solely on them. Looking for a special blue or gold? Maybe discard any that don’t meet those basic criteria.

Our Tips for Growing Hosta Seed

Growing Hostas from seed can be a tricky business. Germination can be a gamble, and even if you get good germination, early problems with pests or disease can thwart your efforts. The biggest problems include:

  • Fungus Gnats – these are easily controlled and prevented with Mosquito Bits, which is basically a delivery system for the bacteria known as “BTI”.
  • Fungal problems, Damping Off – CAPTAN Fungicide is the solution here.

As a hosta seed grower, we suggest having both of these products on hand. In the case of Mosquito Bits, you may as well add them when you add the seeds. The best way to apply them is to bottom water your seedlings, and add the Bits to the water. Bits left on the surface of a pot can and will often grow fungus, which could be problematic. Be ready to apply CAPTAN as needed, per the instructions.

Other than that, there are many ways to approach the germination and growing of seedlings. When we’ve had the time and space, we do this under LED lights in the basement during winter. We’ve used Promix for our indoor seed starting, but there are a wide vareity of options. For small quantities and large varieties of seed, many growers use cups. We have found that some stubborn seeds have responded to germinating on heat mats, but for the most part, indoor temps will work just fine.

You’re able to actually grow your hostas all the way to a first flowering some times, in the span of 12+ months, before the plants must be transplanted outdoors and put through the normal seasonal cycle. Simply put, your seedlings cannot be grown indefinitely indoors, year-round, but you can probably skip the first winter season and keep them indoors. But, as the go towards year two, they will need to go through proper dormancy.

Over the years, many hosta hobbyists and organizations have shared their methods for seed sowing and growing. We encourage you to check out all these resources, and perhaps someday you’ll contribute your own experiences on what works best for you.

Hosta Seed Growing Links

Have a great resource we should add here? Tell us about it!


David Teager published a two-part video on Hosta Seed harvesting and sowing in March, 2022. Check them out!

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