I’ve been noticing some interesting sports on four of my hostas this summer. Two of the sports are on two different Frances Williams hostas. The other two sports are on hostas that I grew from my own collected seed. All four hostas are several years old.
I read recently that there are now more than four thousand varieties of hostas in existence, and less than five hundred of those can be considered stable. Supposedly the rest have a tendency to sport, especially the variegated hostas that have cream or yellow centers or margins.
So what is sporting? It’s actually a mutation… a genetic change… that happens when the cell layers somehow become “reshuffled” as the eye is forming. The result of this reshuffling is an eye with leaves that are a different color from the rest of the plant.
Hosta ‘Frances Williams’ and its sport
My Frances Williams sports both have yellow leaves, but the leaves have very different shapes. One is definitely elongated and the other is more rounded. The texture of the leaves is different too.
Another hosta ‘Frances Williams’ and its sport
The eye with the elongated leaves has five leaves… the eye with the rounded leaves has only three. I’m hoping these two sports will keep their lovely yellow color (which is not as green as these photos show).
One of my seedlings and its sport
This sport comes from a hosta that I grew from a seedling about six years ago. There are only three leaves, but this is the second year for this color change. I like this hosta because the leaves are so thick… slugs never touch it! It also is starting to develop a very nice ripple.
Another one of my seedlings and its sport
This is another hosta that I grew from seed, and this one is also five or six years old. Its leaves are even thicker than the hosta above, and each leaf is bordered by a thin dark blue line. The sport also has blue lines outlining its leaves.