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Re: Wintering over Hostas

Hi Narda and Paul,
This note is primarily to say thanks to Narda and Paul, but anyone else can listen in.

Last fall, I was a little nervous about wintering over my hosta stock in a greenhouse, having never done this before.   While lots of Hosta nursery folk grow them in the ground, and winter them over right where they live, I couldn't find a lot of info on growers up north who were wintering them over in containers.  And there is a scarcity of info available on the Net.  There does seem to be quite a bit of info on woody perennials, and from other contacts, I felt treating Hostas about like these might be satisfactory.

About November 15th, I turned off the heat.  And yesterday, I turned it back on.  I had purchased a thermal blanket that is designed to help reduce the radical swings in temperature.  If I remember correctly, it was Paul that cautioned against allowing the sun to heat up thos frozen crowns during the day.  I also took Tom Michelleti's (and others) advice about giving them no water.  I would have liked to have piled some snow on them about a month ago, to add a little moisture, but I couldn't figure out an easy way to do this.  

From what I can tell, I have reason to be encouraged.  We had baited for voles and mice, so had very little loss due to these types of critters (if there are 10 missing, I'd be surprised), and, while it is premature to be totally ecstatic, I have reason to believe that most plants faired quite well.  After I removed the blanket, I could see that H. Green Eyes is perhaps the earlies emerger, and there were lots of crowns peeking up to find some light.  Now that I finally have water again, they all got a nice drink and should start taking off.  Most of the crowns were solid and just starting to send out that first central bud, thought they are VERY dry.

Thanks for the helpful suggestions and the encouragement last fall.  If you hear some hooping and hollering from 240 miles south of you in a couple of weeks, it will be me.  If I can keep necrosis under 5%, I'll be squealing like a stuck pig.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that what LOOKS like life really is....

I know many people switch to growing them only in the ground but I must like living on the edge... and getting a jump start on growing.

Long live those tough OLD Hostas!

Andrew Lietzow
#1 Plantsman at http://hostahaven.com
1250 41st St
Des Moines, IA 50311-2516

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