agree with most of your post but can not understand why you feel a large root
system could be bad. I feel that it is the strong roots that give strong
plants plus more increase in crowns. The time that the plant is
transferred to the garden has a big affect on the root system for the next
season. Down here our hostas grow new roots from mid May through
June. Planting after that that usually means that the plant will wait the
until next year before adding much to the root system so if planted
late the plant may not do as well the first full year in the ground.
Like any perennial the first year usually shows little growth compared to
the second. If I have to choose between large strong roots or smaller ones
the small ones are left every time. I even consider the size of roots when
I am selecting young seedlings.
discovered that the reason some plants don't transplant as well is because the
person that buys the plant places it in the garden without cleaning the potting
soil from the roots. That is bad and can cause all kinds of problems. I always
tell them that if they want to use the soil mix in the container to mix it well
with the garden soil.
always add trace elements to our potting soil if it is not added at the factory.
At present we are using Bio-Comp mix which has been developed to keep down
aphids, and other pest. This year for the first time I had almost no cutworm. It
also fights rot and other disease.
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
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