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Has anyone observed unfertilized but adequately watered hostas over
multiple years (young plant to maturity)?  Seems like that would give one a
clue as to how to match fertilizer application to the inherent phenology of
the plant. Ingestad (reference available; just not at home) says "feed the
plant, not the soil," i.e., fertilize at the time and in the amount that is
optimum for the plant.

I translate that to mean no fall fertilization, less fertilizer with small
plants and more with larger plants. In my case, though, it applies to
hostas in the ground in more or less their permanent location, not hostas
being produced for commercial sale. 

I fertilize and medicate organically if at all possible. For me that means
using compost and manure in the spring and at midsummer as a side dressing,
and mulching with shredded leaves (mostly oak when I can get them) or pine
needles. One of our local hosta nurseries that has a gorgeous display
garden also advises really "putting the water to them in August." I assume
that is when next year's eyes are forming..

Most of my practices have evolved through trial and error, experience with
other plants, and advice from those more experienced than I. I am very open
to experimenting with new techniques (except that one where you squash the
crown with a boot heel; just can't bring myself to do that!).

Gerry (East Tennessee, Z7a these days)

At 09:17 PM 9/11/99 -0400, you wrote:
>Dan if you get answers to those questions please share them with
>everyone.  I
>was wondering today about the tender growth on many of my hostas.  They
>probably have another month. Is that enough?
> Hi Mary,
>This is one of my biggest concerns too.
>Last year I used 17-17-17 in the spring just before the hostas were up.
>This year I did not and I noticed a reduction in growth. My smaller
>hostas and tissue liners just didn't seem to grow as much. Large mature
>hostas look about the same as last year. In spring 2000 I will use
>17-17-17 again.
>I am really interested in getting small hostas to mature size in as
>short a time as possible. The cost of fertilizer is a minor concern.
>I used to grow a lot of vegetables. Usually 5 types of sweet corn per
>year. I would always trial 2 or 3 new cultivars per year. I have seen
>firsthand the increased growth response of corn from fertilizing. I side
>dress corn twice during the growing season plus I fertilize when
>I am looking for similar recommended fertilizer practices for hostas.
>Dan Nelson
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