RED-FLOWERED HOSTAS

What flower colors are possible in the genus Hosta?

In The Hosta Journal, Volume 36, Number 1, Kevin Vaughn wrote,

Hosta blossoms contain a glycoside of malvidin, one of the most structurally complex of the anthocyanin pigments. Based on what has taken place in other genera, mutations affecting the synthesis of the pigment are possible that could result in true blue, true scarlet and pink blossoms. A sport of 'Gold Edger' was recently discovered by Paul Aden, with significantly more pink blossoms than the original. This may represent a mutation from malvidin to peonidin (the pigment of peonies). Clearly, the potential variability of blossom color has not been touched in Hosta. We may have more colours than are now available in daylilies.

Below is a list of hostas which are said to have reddish flowers:

  • 'Akane'
    "A cultivar which was sold in Japan and was said to have red in its flowers. Hence, the Japanese meaning of 'red'. On the other hand, I have noticed that sieboldii derivative seedlings (which 'Akane' is?) appear to look very pink/red, that is, depending on how the sunlight hits the flowers. Close observation of these flowers shows that the color is actually leaning into a kind of a deep maroon (towards purple?) or magenta." Bill Nash, as quoted on the Lemke Database
  • 'Amethyst Star'
    A hybrid of 'Akane' from Jim Spence. See photo on the Hosta Library. "...flowers very deep purple in color with a white distinct, white petal edge," Mark Zilis, The Hostapedia, page 71
  • 'Cosmic Rain'
    "This green hosta has unusual speckling on the purple petals. A dark purple throat of the flower spills out on to the tepals in a speckled pattern. Anthers are covered in a yellow/orange pollen. Unopened buds and pedicels are glossy metallic purple. The flower looks more like a crocus than a hosta flower. Fertile and easily sets pods." www.hostasdirect.com
  • "Exp. 136"
    A red-flowered, streaked hosta which Clarence Falstad brought back from Japan in 2006. The flower looks very much like 'Akane'. "Exp. 136" is fertile and produces some red-flowered progeny. It is currently part of the hybridizing programs of Clarence Falstad and Jeff Moore.
  • 'Kokuryu'
    "...flowers whitish on outside, reddish purple inside...This is another seedling from Japan with reddish flowers...", Mark Zilis, The Hostapedia, page 511
  • 'Sanshoku Tsushima' (aka tsushimensis 'Sanshoku Tsushima')
    "...described as having tricolored flowers, i.e., dark crimson with purple petals and a white edge...", Mark Zilis, The Hostapedia, page 808

Recent work by Jeff Moore of Janesville, Wisconsin has produced some very nice red-flowered hybrids. Here are the names of his latest red-flowered introductions:

  • 'Crime and Punishment'- This hybrid includes genes from both 'Akane' and 'Kokuryu', as well as one of Jeff's own red-flowered seedlings, 'Flor Roja'.
  • 'Premature Burial'-A red-flowered hybrid of 'Flor Roja' X 'Edgar Allan Poe'.
  • 'Relic', a cross between two red-flowered parents ("Red Flower #2" X 'Flor Roja'), might end up being the first yellow hosta with red flowers.
  • Other Jeff Moore red-flowered hybrids include 'Anna Karenina', 'Fathers and Sons', 'Flor Roja', 'The Black Cat', 'The Brothers Karamozov', and 'The Pit and The Pendulum'.

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