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Re: Missing hostas

  • Subject: Re: Missing hostas
  • From: "Helen" <msbucky@rogers.com>
  • Date: Thu, 4 Apr 2002 15:58:01 -0500

Hi Ann
I'm far from being an expert on this so I really hesitated to put my ten cents worth in... but... something did occur to me.  Do you have a particularly rainy winter season there in Conroe?  Many plants prefer to be only damp or on the dryer side while dormant -  Seems to me they would have gone dormant without a problem, and yes, they should be up by now, but if your season is on the mild side and rainy, could be it was too wet for the dormant plants and they rotted in the ground.  You may get away with growing hostas in your area, and certainly it would be worth a try, especially if some kind soul (sorry - I'm in Canada) were to send you a few plants to try with (instead of making another large investment) - I would suggest that as soon as the plants go dormant in late fall early winter, you place a tarp over the area to keep them on the dryer side, and see if that does it. 
Sometimes I lose a few plants (or more than a few) with hosta stock that I have potted up, not inground.  When it happens, it's always because too much melting snow or rain got into the pots and kept them soaking wet - Like your case, there is little if anything to find in the pot come spring.  I try to keep all the potted ones covered to keep the wet out and those survive fine.
The other thing you can try, is to pot them in large pots - sink them in for the growing season and remove them to cover for the winter season.
----- Original Message -----
From: Ann James
Sent: Thursday, April 04, 2002 2:12 PM
Subject: Missing hostas

Thanks for all your suggestions, and let me apologize for logging in wrong the first time.  It was just the first time since I subscribed that I saw anyone mention the actual plant, hosta.
I just dug around out there with a fork, and I can't find a sign of life, of tunnels, or decay.  Our lawn and garden care people do weed for us and mulch everything relentlessly, so whatever might be down there is way down there.
How deep did I plant them?  To the level where I got them in their pots.  They weren't dormant but full of leaves and one bloomed very soon after planting.  I planted them a good way apart because all the literature shows and describes quite sizable mounds of plants.  I did lose one during the growing season, unknown why.  It just didn't thrive.
The surviving hostas, which included So-Sweet, Shade Fanfare, Christmas Tree, Sagae, Francee,  Elegans Siebold and Golden Tiara, were in full leaf when I set out the cyclamen for winter color.  The caladiums were already going dormant, but the hostas weren't.
I might mention our lawn person used to own a nursery in the area, but he's not knowledgeable about hostas, and I've only seen one in a local garden store.  Perhaps they just don't do well here.
Hostas appealed to me as a more or less permanent landscape feature for most of the year, with their sculptural look, at least in pictures.  I have never seen a mature hosta in person, so to speak.
Everything else does well in this particular bed.  We tried to get rid of the existing landscape plan from the previous owner, but airplane plants keep popping back up.  Eventually they will be gone, but they were an integral part of their overall plan, both front and back gardens.
We are also trying hellebores, and so far, so good.  But then so were the hostas before frost.  So I don't know.  Try them again?  It seems to me that if a plant is practically unknown in Conroe, probably that is for a very good reason.  Hellebores are also unknown, so I suppose I'm shooting myself in the foot again.  I am a sucker for a good catalog and good photos and descriptive prose.
I shall be very surprised if any hosta sees the light of day this spring.  I don't know what else I can tell you except we have very nice soil compared to Houston's gumbo, and we have a sprinkler system, and regular lawn and garden care besides my modest efforts.  Maybe I've moved too fast throwing out the old and trying the new.  Alas.
Ann James

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