Re: Hosta Growth
All right! Finally a subject with a bunch of messages I disagree with.
Things were getting boring.
A couple of messages have recommended slicing the root ball, which is
common practice when planting potted shrubs when their roots have circled
the pot. Since hostas do not have a fibrous root system, root pruning,
which this essentially is, will not induce root growth as it does with
shrubs and trees. Since spiraling roots grow primarily at the outside
of the root ball, slicing them, especially on all four sides, can sever
the majority of the root mass. Since hostas don't initiate root growth
until late spring and summer, after leaf growth, I think the root loss
will cause a lot of stress. I think it is far better, though harder, to
try to unwind the roots. Unless the plant is very root bound, banging
the root ball on something hard will generally loosen the soil so that
the roots can be separated.
There is some anecdotal evidence that messing with hosta roots stimulates
the plant and causes increased growth. I would like to see this addressed
by our more scientifically inclined.
There were a couple of subtle slams at container grown plants, and while
I agree that there are pros and cons to container grown and bare root plants,
I can't let them slide by. Having grown hostas in containers for
20 years, I have a hard time accepting that the roots on container grown
plants "in the main, however, are incapable of functioning in most soils."
Come on Ran. That's akin to me stating flatly that bare root plants
arrive all shriveled and dried up and are so stressed that it takes them
so long to recover that they seldom bloom the first year and everybody
knows that if a hosta doesn't bloom it won't multiply. (Now there's a sentence
that my high school English teacher would have loved). And you know
I'd never say anything to disparage bare root plants like that. I
and several other growers have been growing plants in pots for several
years now and I can assure you that their roots work.
I can also assure our audience that not all growers over-fertilize container
grown plants, and though I've never tried, I suspect that it is just as
easy to over-fertilize in the ground. I suspect that whether you
buy bare root or container grown, what you get sometimes depends on who
you buy from.
"You also need to be very careful about tissue cultured plugs that
transfered to larger pots. Most growers just take the plug
and put it
into a pot. If you buy those pots and leave them in the pot
discover the following year that the root system hasn't penetrated
into the additional planting mix." Boy, am I starting
to feel persecuted! If nothing else, I would at least change "most
growers" to some growers, and typically those growers selling to mass marketers,
who wouldn't know a well grown plant if it was shoved up their nose.
Mass marketers insist on buying plants at prices than simply don't justify
growing a quality plant. If that's what you're buying, then you get
what you pay for. If you're getting plants like that from a reputable
seller, then the reputation is undeserved and you are buying from the wrong
It's just my opinion.
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