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"Understanding Hosta Reversion: Tips for Managing and Correcting This Common Problem"

Hosta Dream Weaver with  Plain Reverted Leaves
Hosta Dream Weaver with Reverted Leaves

Many of us choose our Hosta variety because of the way it looks. Like the beautifully variegated Dream Weaver.

It is therefore somewhat of an issue when your favourite Hosta throws up a stem or two that look totally different to the one you love. This is called reversion, where some of the plant reverts to a solid colour of one of its ancestors.

Some people are lucky and will get a reversion that is worth keeping. This is known as a sport. If a variegated Hosta produces blue or green leaves it may be a ‘sport’, a mutation or new variety. Many varieties on the market today are from sports.

Usually, you will get just a plain old green colour. Some Hostas are more prone to this than others. You could be very unlucky and the whole plant reverts to a plain colour. If you have a Hosta that is starting to revert, it’s important not to leave it and hope that it will resolve the problem on its own. Reversions may start as one shoot but can quickly start to overwhelm the rest of the plant and leave you with a fully reverted plant.

Hosta with green or blue leaves may not be a true reversion. A green or blue leaved Hosta tends to be more vigorous than a variegated plant. If left, it will usually out-grow the variegated Hosta over time.

Once the variegation has been lost due to the stronger reverted variety, it is very unlikely that the variegation will return. You have lost your original variety. So sad to see this happen.

So! What can we do about this problem?

Whether a reversion or sport, the reverted or sport part of the Hosta does need to be removed.

If the problem is just a few, occasional reverted leaves, then you only need to remove them at the base of the plant, using a sharp but disinfected knife.

If the reversion is sizeable, such as our example, then you need trace the leaves down to their base and find a whole shoot or section of the plant has turned green or blue, then you will need to cut out the piece, including its crown and roots.

Reversion seems to be more prevalent in Hostas grown in pots and containers, so we will show you what to do with these. However, if it occurs in a border Hosta, the process is the same, other than needing to dig the Hosta up.

We have a Hosta Dreamweaver, in a large clay pot, with its beautiful, variegated foliage with this huge great green leaved element, that you may note is stronger than the variegated foliage.

This is nothing to fear doing this. It’s not rocket science. Take a deep breath and a steady hand.

Photos showing stages of Removing Reverted Section From Hosta Dreamweaver

Stages of Removing Reverted Section From Hosta Dreamweaver

1.The first thing to notice is that there is a different looking Hosta in the same pot as your prized Hosta. This needs to be removed.

2. Take the containerised Hosta and remove it from the pot. Remove the crocks from the bottom for later re-use.

3. Carefully decide how you will remove the reverting element from the main Hosta. If you can get it off without any of the parent plant, that’s great. However, in this case, I felt it prudent to take a section including part of the variegated section.

4. A practical way of doing this is to cut a straight line, I prefer a carving knife, being careful to leave plenty of roots on it. I cut a straight line through the crown ensuring little damage to the plant.

5. We are left with a Hosta that no longer has a reversion on it, and a piece of two different looking plants. One green one & one like the parent Hosta.

6. The main plant can now be potted back up, using the crocks, the same pot (cleaned) and fresh compost. Watered, labels replaced, and put back on display.

7. The piece with both green & variegated Hostas can now be cut in half. The variegated one is effectively a free plant and can be potted up for another part of the garden, or maybe give away to a friend. This is an exact replica of the parent plant and will be labelled up as Hosta Dream Weaver.

8. However, the green section does not have a name, but if you wish, can be potted up and used as an unknown variety, somewhere else in the garden.

9. I will keep this one as it is very strong and will form a large Hosta, albeit without a name, and place somewhere in the garden in a space that needs a large green Hosta, later in the year when it has formed some new roots.

If you think that the piece cut off might be worth keeping the check its parentage at  Not only do you get a free Hosta, you never know, you might have a new variety. Lucky you!


Shop for Hostas HERE


John Plant

Rewela Hostas

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