How do I get the Hostas that I started from seed to grow faster?
I picked pods from a Hosta plant last fall. I planted the seeds in early February. I have been taking care of them indoors but also have some outdoors in a container that are equally as small. I wanted to know – why are these plants still so small? Is there something I can do to make them grow faster? When and at what size would it be appropriate to transplant them outside or should I care take them one more winter to get bigger? Thank you for your help! With the high cost of “full grown” Hosta, I’ve happily embarked on this “from seed” experiment!
Thank you for reaching out to the Cooperative Extension, and congratulations to you on your successful Hosta experiment.
Hostas grown from seed can take a couple of years to reach normal size, and yours look very healthy for just having been planted in February. Your overall plan should just be patience and continuing what you’re doing. That said, you can go ahead and pot the seedlings up in small pots with moist potting soil, harden them off (take them outside for a couple of hours a day for a few days, just to prepare them for the shift in light, temperature, and humidity when they move out of the house permanently), and start them getting some direct sunlight. After that, they can live outdoors in their pots for the rest of the season. If they reach 4-6″ of height by this fall, you may be able to plant them out a few weeks before the first frost in well-prepped soil and then cover them with a light mulch (straw or shredded leaves) for winter protection. If the seedlings are still small by late summer, you may want to hold them to plant out next spring.
Alternatively, you can have a much faster turnaround on getting new hosta plants by dividing the crowns of mature ones. This is best done in the spring or early fall and can yield a large number of daughter plants from one healthy crown. There’s a nice set of “how to” steps in this bulletin: https://extension.umn.edu/flowers/hostas. For more information on dividing perennials, please check this fact sheet https://extension.umn.edu/planting-and-growing-guides/dividing-perennials.