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Re: Hostas in pots

In a message dated 00-01-01 16:01:50 EST, you write:

<< I meant to ask what should the
 beginner know about growing hostas in pots. >>


   Most hostas seem to do well in pots --- with the notable exception of 
those with sieboldiana or tokudama heritage.  While they may do okay for a 
season or two, they will begin to decline rapidly --- I have no idea why.

   Some basic tips would include:

   Use wooden or terra cotta pots; plastic containers retain water too well 
and this can prove a deadly problem in winter.

   Use a porous potting soil which wets relatively easily but drains freely 
--- potting soils high in pinebark fines are excellent.  Stay away from those 
high in peat --- it is a very difficult medium to wet and can easily become 
boggy once you do manage to soak it.

   Use containers which are consistent with the current size of the hosta you 
are potting --- not one which will hold the ultimate size of the plant.  
Ideally, there should probably be no more than an inch or two between the 
edge of the roots and the side of the pot.  Check the root ball as frequently 
as you deem necessary based on the overall growth rate of the plant and pot 
up when necessary.

   When watering, make sure to soak the container through and through --- 
fill it and let it drain two or three times.  This way you make sure the 
water is actually getting to the root ball and you flush out harmful salts.  
Under normal circumstances you really only need to do this once or twice a 
week during the growing season.

   In Zone 7, my containers remain in place all year with no added protection 
in winter.  In colder zones, I think I would probably do something to protect 
them from dessicating winter winds --- either using some type of mulch or 
moving them to a location protected from the wind.

   Slow release fertilizers such as Osmocote work well for potted hostas or 
you can do what I do and simply give them a top dress of composted manure in 
the late winter or early spring.

   Give it a try ... I think you'll be very happy with the results!!!

Sandie Markland 
Lorton, Virginia 
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