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Re: Hosta Growth

At 09:55 PM 04/02/99 -0500, you wrote:
All right! Finally a subject with a bunch of messages I disagree with.  Things were getting boring.

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.


I'm glad this topic is stimulating some good observations. From your numerous posts I see you are dedicated grower so I would like you try an experiment this season involving some of your own hostas. Pick some that are very big, lush and fairly root bound in their pots, the plants most of your customers are looking for and plant them in an area that has good unamended soil. Divide the planting up into hostas that have just been removed from the pot with no root disruption or removal of growing medium and in the other group open up the root mass, spread the root system out and plant them properly, in both cases don't amend the soil. If you can plant some field grown bareroot hostas with them and compare the results. Water them like you would normally. You can also go to the extent of digging the plants and comparing root systems. I think what you find might surprise you. I'm not a scientist but have been planting container grown plants in customers landscapes for over 14 years and have found in most cases field grown materials work better. Again just my opinion and between all in involved we are sure to put the novices among us into a spin.

Think Spring!

John Kee

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