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Re: Great Expectations

  • Subject: Re: Great Expectations
  • From: "Kirsten O'Dell" ilikehostas@hotmail.com
  • Date: Mon, 12 Aug 2002 10:52:45 -0500

It is possible that the problems I have experienced with GE could be a combination of everything talked about here. My first two attempts, in two different locations were met with gradual decline during their 3 and 4 years. But this last attempt is what confuses me. It had been in the ground for 4 years, last year being the most beautiful. Full size, strong healty leaves and very little of the burning that I have seen on GE. But this year it didnt even come up at all! I checked where it had been planted to see if it had been pilched! Only found the dead remnents of last years roots...Last year must have been a final hurrah! I am sure that I will find a place for it again.

From: "Bill Meyer" <njhosta@hotmail.com>
Reply-To: hosta-open@hort.net
To: <hosta-open@hort.net>, <hostapix@yahoogroups.com>
Subject: Re: Great Expectations
Date: Sat, 10 Aug 2002 09:33:28 -0400

Hi Freddy and Kirsten,
Ever since they first started tissue culturing 'Great Expectations' there have been problems with it. The first batch came from Klehm and was a mix of growers and non-growers. Other batches from different labs proved to be even worse. One batch was so bad, it was almost incredible. I visited a retail nursery in Maryland where I know the owners in May and a batch of small GE liners had just come in. Towards the end of the season, I went back and they told me they were disgusted with them and were throwing them all out. After almost four months they weren't much bigger than they were when they had arrived. I asked for one, took it home and planted it, and the next spring it came back up at the same size. After a whole year it still had leaves about an inch long. I lost track of it after that and at some point it died. The TC lab they got it from refunded the money, but didn't understand what went wrong.
To this day, I don't think anybody does know why this happens with GE, but newer batches do seem better. It may be a mutation to a less vigorous form, but it seems more likely it is an adverse reaction to the treatment it receives in the tissue culture process, in which it is subjected to the use of plant hormones. Most hosta do consistantly well in TC, but some just seem more difficult, especially the white-centered ones. These often start out with a very narrow edge and have difficulty getting themselves going when they're small.
If getting a good one growing in the garden is your aim, my advice is to go find a big strong one in a nursery. I've seen them for sale in retail nurseries and garden centers with 5-6 inch leaves in 2 gallon pots. These always seem to do very well when planted out. As near as I can tell, the center area of the leaf seems largely devoid of chlorophyll, and hence it behaves like a white-centered plant in the garden. Only the blue-green edge area is producing any food, so it will not grow at anywhere near the pace of an all-green version. Giving it a spot with a good amount of sun seems to improve its performance a lot. It's so attractive that it merits one of those "good" spots with 3-4 hours of direct morning sunlight. As with many sieboldiana derivatives, it is not especially fond of too much heat, and should be kept from drying out too badly during the summer months. Whatever you do, don't give up on it, because you'll always want one every time you see one growing well somewhere else.
..........Bill Meyer

----- Original Message -----
From: FrSch2533@aol.com
To: hosta-open@mallorn.com
Sent: Friday, August 09, 2002 8:49 AM
Subject: Great Expectations

My Great Expectations is not living upto my great expectations of it. It has been getting smaller and smaller, and really struggling. This summer I had a couple groups visit my garden, and several others remarked that their Great Expectations was also doing badly. I asked our local nursery about it, and the reply I got from them was as follows, " I recently talked to one of our perennial suppliers who had an answer to our questions concerning the hosta Great Expectations. He told me that several years ago an inferior stock made its way into the market and was widely distributed before it was discovered to have a genetic defect causing a stunted and declining growth habit. In spite of the fact that it was caught rather quickly there was enough marketed and sold before anyone realized what was happening to them. He said they were sold in our state (Ohio).

I have been trying to purchase a new one, but it seems nobody in this area has one that is healthy enough they wish to sell it.

Anyone else having Great Expectations troubles?

Freddy Schaefer

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