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Re: hosta-open DIGEST V1 #2

  • Subject: Re: hosta-open DIGEST V1 #2
  • From: halinar@open.org
  • Date: Wed, 15 Oct 2003 01:09:29 -0700

Glen:

>So, I am asking you botanists out there, what factors are at work 
>here in keeping some hostas looking good, while other are on the way 
>to their late fall oblivion?

This is a basic photoperiod response phenomenon.  Probably similar to 
what we see in daylilies with deciduous and non-deciduous daylilies, 
although daylily people confuse it by using dormant, semi-evergreen 
and evergreen.  

I'm not sure that what we see in hosta is classical deciduous and 
non-deciduous, but it may be.  Are there any species native to low 
latitude areas that stay green all year?  In western Oregon some 
hostas can be pretty green even into December, but eventually 
inclement weather and frosts do them in.  What you need to look for is 
if the leaves start turning yellow and the plant undergoes normal 
senescence before cold/frosts set in, which may be difficult to see in 
some areas, or if the plant stays green and turns into a mussy mass at 
a certain freezing temperature.  Given the wide geographic 
distribution of hostas it's reasonable to expect that different 
species respond differently to shorting days.  Unfortunately, this 
photoperiod response often interacts with temperature and soil 
moisture, so it isn't always clear cut.  Mix all of these species up 
into complex hybrids and things can get really messy.

Joe Halinar

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