search for my other hostas here
Light the Match (Now available at Green Hill Hostas )
Blue Jeans Bling
Let’s add more color to the hosta garden.
When Bob Solberg introduced First Blush to the hosta world, he gave hybridizers a new set of genes to play with. Bob explained to me what he knew about blushing, then I did a deep dive into the science on what is commonly known about the mechanism driving it in plants and fruit. Although a good deal of research is being done by scientists in other plants, many theories have yet to be peer reviewed. Some research has been done specific to hosta anthocyanin–a blue, violet or red pigment found in plants–but a lot is still unknown. For one thing, very few hosta have the anthocyanin pigment in the leaf, although it is present in some hybrids and species in the petiole, scape and flower.
More work needs to be done in research and hybridizing. That is the challenge I wanted to take on. I’ve been able to isolate and enhance the blushing trait. With each generation, new colors and leaf shapes emerge. It’s an exciting time to be able to add new colors to the hosta garden.
Blushing in hosta is about accenting your garden space as a whole.
Blushers are the perfect accent to the blues, yellows, greens and variegated hosta we already love in our gardens. My education is in fine art, so to me, blushers are another addition to our garden palettes. As in a good painting, blushing hosta will add depth and visual texture.
It has never occurred to me that blushers wouldn’t be used as an accent to the blues, yellows, greens and variegated hosta we already have or are going to have. Like a painting where only brown was used.
We love hosta because they are a tough versatile perennial, but mostly for its vast quantity of colors, sizes and shapes. Let’s use blushing as a new color to accent other hosta–even as a temporary showstopper. Above all, let’s use it as one part of the whole garden space.
What is blushing? How long does it last?
My goal as a hosta hybridizer is to make blushing last longer.
The driving mechanism behind blushing is a pigment called anthocyanin. Blushing in plants is a defense mechanism in the leaf, primarily as the leaf emerges. It acts as a sunscreen to protect against sun scald. It is also most prevalent in cold conditions. But the trait can be fleeting because anthocyanin is a volatile molecule that can dissolve in hot conditions and be absorbed back into the leaf. Some of blushing’s staying power depends on a plant’s individual genetics. Certain plant genes control how fast emerging tissue matures, telling leaf cells it wants more light and it’s safe to end the shading process and enhance photosynthesis. It’s a balance each plant has with its surrounding environment.
Blushing often will look freshest in spring and turns colors as it deteriorates. New flushes of growth and blushing can occur throughout the growing phase. Reblushing also can reemerge in the cooler days of fall as protection for leaf tissue. It’s all based on each plant’s unique DNA.