I'm not sure why
hostas produce such different root systems between pots and ground, but they
clearly do. Take a large potted plant with a huge root system and plant it in
the ground and the following year the plant may be bigger, but the root system
is clearly much smaller. I have a retail nursery near me who does pretty much
the opposite of what most commercial growers do as far as their mix goes. They
use a very rich, fine mixture with a lot of mushroom soil (old manure) in
it. They really don't lose too many through the winter, as might be
expected, and they've been doing this for years. Growth is really very good
and rot only a problem with certain varieties, particularly 'Aristocrat' and
'Great Expectations". The actual growth rate is not much slower than the airy,
chunky mixes favored by Southern growers. These lightweight mixes tend to show
the most root growth, while the rich heavy mix favored by these people shows
root growth that is only about half that.
seem to be a tie-in between root growth and the density and richness of the
soil. Producing the highest root-growth possible may not make for the best
plant, if the plant is intended to be placed in the ground that season, though.
Plants grown in very light mixes often don't adapt well to the transition.
It may not
be only the physical structure that causes the difference in the root systems.
One possibility is that it may be tied to trace elements not found in potting
mixes or the most commonly used fertilizers. Has anyone tried using trace
element supplements on their potted plants? If so, has it made a