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RE: Treating shipped Hosta

  • Subject: RE: Treating shipped Hosta
  • From: BanyaiHsta@aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 11 May 2001 14:19:25 EDT

Mary, if you let them soak in bleach until they turn white, with the tissue soft and swollen, just put them in a cool shaded area for 1-2 hours and they will come back just fine. 

Once, my mother left some really rare ones in a bucket in the garden overnight - panicked and called to get some chemical engineer's advice. I told her to let them dry out on their own and then plant as usual. She did and from then on she always had a bucket of them lying around. Dan - remember buckets of soaking hosta? 

Also reminds me of one winter when she and I "forgot" to plant a couple of big clumps that we dug late in the year and lost track of - hate to admit it but happens. In the spring we "found" them, divided, soaked in bleach and very little loss. In Holland they store their harvested hosta clumps in large mounds, until they need to divide them for sale or spring planting. Of course the temp rarely goes below 40 F, so they are ok sitting above ground. Also no drying winter winds.

The "too much water" issue. In the heat of the summer we tend to water our hosta to promote vitality, as they are water lovers. If the soil conditions are such that the roots are in very high moisture for a period of time, with almost wet feet and the plant cannot move, a baby division, tissue culture or small division of sieb/tok type plant, they will literally drown the roots due to lack of air transport to the roots. Some fortunei and other plantaginea types will start to climb out of that root zone to survive, similar to a tree or bulb lily moving the crown to the best soil depth. 

One area of concern is automatic sprinklers that come on with a timer, irrespective of the actual soil moisture content. I have visited a number of gardens where they complained of hosta dying even though they water all the time. That is a problem of too much water. Alex Summers has watered around the clock on hot days in the summer BUT and a big reason he gets away with it, actually why he has to do it, is the sandy draining soil structure he has. If he tried it in the wetlands he has, then same problem. He has lectured me on this regularly, as I tend to water a lot.

There are a few hosta that prefer wet feet. A few species, as I recall.

Hope that helps.
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