where can i find hosta's?

ladybugsmom192(9)July 12, 2010

i think i'm in love...again :)

i've discovered hostas but can't find where to buy them. i know that they'd e blooming, or going full on this time of year, but if i can find them now, then fine, or at least prepare for next year.

can anyone point me in the right direction?



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I know there's a few gardeners out there (in the Bay Area) who are having some success with them. I hope these gardeners will post photos of their biggest hostas.


    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 2:04PM
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hey joe, yeah, me too - i'm completely smitten!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 5:23PM
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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

Gardenguru asked for photos. Hostas are not easy around here. First you need to find hostas that like the bay area.
I found a list on gardenweb that I save in my computer, but I have not tried these. I am not that into hostas anymore.

Green Foliage
clausa (species)
'Crystal Chimes' (yingeri)
'Fall Bouquet' (longipes)
'Fourth of July' (kikutii)
'Hirao Splendor' (kikutii)
'Honeybells' (plantaginea)
'Invincible' (plantaginea)
'Jade Cascade' (montana)
laevigata (species)
'Old Faithful' (plantaginea)
'Otome No Ka' (unknown)
pachyscapa (species)
'Purple Lady Fingers' (clausa)
pycnophylla (species)
'Potomac Pride' (yingeri)
'Raspberry Sorbet' (rupifraga)
'Rippled Honey' (plantaginea)
'Savannah' (plantaginea, sieboldii)
'Stingray'(kikutii, montana)
'Sweet Bo Peep' (plantaginea)
takahashii 'Gosan' (species)
'Teaspoon' (venusta)
tibae (species)
'Tortifrons' (longipes)
tsushimensis (species)
venusta (species)
'Waving Wuffles' (ventricosa)
yingeri (species)
Variegated Foliage
'American Sweetheart' (unknown)
'Anne Arett' (sieboldii)
'Bob Olsen' (unknown)
'Carolina Sunshine' (tibae)
'Cathedral Windows' (plantaginea)
'Cherish' (venusta)
'Chickadee' (plantaginea)
'Crested Surf' (sieboldii)
'Diamond Tiara' (nakaiana)
'Diana Remembered' (plantaginea)
'Dixie Chick' (plantaginea)
'Ebb Tide' (montana)
'Emerald Tiara' (nakaiana)
'Emily Dickinson' (plantaginea)
'Fan Dance' (sieboldii)
'Fatal Attraction' (kikutii)
'Fragrant Bouquet' (plantaginea)
'Gala' (longipes)
'Golden Tiara' (nakaiana)
'Grand Prize' (nakaiana)
'Grand Tiara' (nakaiana)
'Guacamole' (plantaginea)
'Harpoon' (yingeri)
'Holy Mole' (plantaginea)
'Iron Gate Delight' (plantaginea)
kikutii 'Kifukurin' (kikutii)
'Kifukurin Ko Mame' (unknown)
'Korean Snow' (yingeri)
'Masquerade' (gracillima)
'Ming Treasure' (plantaginea)
'Mistress Mabel' (plantaginea)
'Miss Saigon' (plantaginea)
montana 'Aureomarginata' (montana)
'Peedee Gold Flash' (sieboldii)
'Platinum Tiara' (nakaiana)
'Red Hot Flash' (sieboldii)
'Sea Thunder' (unknown)
'Scooter' (sieboldii)
'Sea Thunder' (unknown)
'So Sweet' (plantaginea)
'Stained Glass' (plantaginea)
'Stiletto' (sieboldii)
'Sugar and Cream' (plantaginea, sieboldii)
'Summer Fragrance' (plantaginea, sieboldii)
'Sweetie' (plantaginea)
'Teeny Weeny Bikini' (unknown)
'Verna Jean' (sieboldii)
'Warwick Edge' (nakaiana)
'Waving Winds' (sieboldii)
'White Necklace' (unknown)
Gold Foliage
'Birchwood Parky's Gold' (nakaiana)
'Chartreuse Wiggles' (sieboldii)
'Fried Bananas' (plantaginea)
'Gold Scepter' (nakaiana)
longipes 'Golden Dwarf' (species)
'Sweet Tater Pie' (yingeri, nakaiana)
Blue Foliage
'Baby Bunting' (venusta)
'Blue Belle' (longipes)
'Blue Blush' (longipes)
'Silver Bowl' (unknown)

I have had good luck with the East Bay Nursery for hostas in the past.

Here is a link that might be useful: photos of my hostas

    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 6:58PM
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wow, thanks tropical thought, yours are just gorgeous! so you're in SF? i noticed you've got some of then planted with coleus and i thought i saw some impatiens too? those are the very things i already have in the area i would like to plant hostas.

so why aren't you so in to them now?

thanks again!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2010 at 12:43AM
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Do you remember who posted this list on the GardenWeb forum? Someone in the Bay Area? Was it calistoga (Al); I know he does hostas.

Your photos are nice but what I'd like to see are really BIG hostas such as those that gardeners grow back east (or midwest). I grew hundreds of hostas in Wisconsin.

I haven't found them to be anywhere near that quality here in California. And it's more than just not having "cold winters".

Here in Central Coastal California, we have the cold winters (so I'm told) but hostas don't like our hot dry summers, nor our soils, nor our water quality, nor our snails and slugs.

When I lived in the Bay Area, I never saw a worthy hosta. Maybe I just didn't get to the right gardens.

But some people say they have them up there.

calistoga (if you're reading this), post your photos.


    Bookmark   July 13, 2010 at 1:07AM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

My hostas are planted with my Azaleas, Rhododendrums and Hydrangeas. Morning sun with a little dappled sun in the late PM here in sunny Napa valley. My favorite is Frances Williams, in full bloom now with white flowers resembling Galtonia. This is the most robust grower I have ever seen and it does well in our slightly acid clay soil. Al

    Bookmark   July 13, 2010 at 7:45AM
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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

What happened with the hostas, a couple bad events. First of the ones in front with the coleus got dug up and stolen by criminals. I only have morning sun in front. The back is a western exposure. Some of them did not come back after the first year, and the yellow ones did very badly.

I had the stripped ones, and they made a lot of babies which I gave away to a friend who let them all die by not watering them. So, when I asked for some back, they were all dead. Then I had another stripped but it really did have a virus, so I got rid of all of those.

The ones that do well are the solid blue ones, Lakeside blue jeans and Am I blue that I got mail order, but the Am blue did not look like the Am a blue on the hosta website so I got ripped off, but it turned into the best hosta I have, making lot of babies. You to keep dividing and making babies or the old ones won't last. Sum and substances just did not sprout this year. All the ones from east bay nursery are dead or stolen. I don't want to spend money in case I have a virus in my soil, so I don't add any new hostas. So, I only have the fake Am I blues left and the Lakeside Blue Jeans, and if they don't have a virus in them they may do ok.

Cupcake was really cute, but that did not come back the next year, but that one was not stolen, unless maybe it was and I just did not notice. The black one I got rid of suspecting a virus, but it turned it would have been ok, it just had some cold damage. It sprouted too early and then it got cold. By the time I discovered how the virus looked it has brown spots and twisted patterns, not twisted leaves. It was too late for me to recover those, I had discarded, that would have been ok.

Hostas are a learning experience. Solid colors are less prone to a virus, but not sum and substance, that one is known to have a lot of virus. You can also find lists of hostas most likely to have a virus online. Yellow ones are the most weak and difficult. Hostas are not drought tolerant, if you forgot to water at least once a week, they begin to die and go dormant. Going on vacation is out, unless you have someone to water them or a drip line. Snails love them, even with using bait, it's a really battle to deal with. Any time you buy a hosta it will give you at least one good season if you care for it, but don't count on it coming back. They do sometimes come back and sometimes not, it depends on the climate each year as well as the type of hosta you plant. I like ferns, impatiens, mimulus, and coral bells also, so I have other things to grow.

Al, I got that list on the hosta forum. I copied and pasted it into a document, but I did not keep track of who made the list. It was something like "hostas that will be ok without winter chill", but I never had a chance to try any on that list. It would possible to make an inquiry on the hosta forum to find that list again.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hosta Library

    Bookmark   July 13, 2010 at 12:05PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

Well pooh! Hostas in Pots have been my passion for the last 10 years down here in the South Bay. I have about 75 different varieties. (I'm a Chicago transplant) Angela- this is on the Hosta Forum.


    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 12:11AM
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Pooh, indeed.

Sorry but I have to be the cynic/skeptic.

You say you've been growing these hostas for 10 years yet none of those specimens look 10 years old. At least not the 10-year-old size that I grew in Wisconsin. I'll grant that some look like dwarf cultivars, hence the smaller size.

In fact, many (most?!) look like they're still in the nursery cans they came in (sunk into the decorative containers).

Do you have any 10-year-old plants in the ground?


    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 12:54AM
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wow babka my friend/neighbor, those are beautiful! lucky you!
so do you find that they do better in pots? what kind of soil do you use? and fertilizer?

thanks so much!


    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 1:27AM
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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

I guess the can do ok in pots. They like rich soil with a lot of compost and average waterings, and regular but average feedings. I always had mine in the ground, because I don't have good luck with pots. But, if you were using pots, I would use a good potted soil mix. I am pot unlucky, anything I have in a pot declines.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 11:59AM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

Although Hosta looks good grown in containers, it will seldom compare with the same variety grown in the ground in the right location. Hosta does better year after year in the garden. In containers even the best mixes decline over time and the plant suffers as the mix loses its ability to drain as well and accumulates salts. Al

    Bookmark   July 16, 2010 at 9:43AM
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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

Al, I guess one could change the mix every year with fresh mix?

    Bookmark   July 16, 2010 at 10:16AM
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i LOVE all this wonderful info!


    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 2:43PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

None in the ground. I tried one in the ground and all it did was get smaller and smaller each year. We absolutely do not have ideal growing conditions here. But I fell in love with them when I lived in the Chicago area and NEEDED to find a way to have them here. I don't like looking at the bare ground when they are dormant (not enough real estate here in suburbia)so I had to find a way to have my cake and eat it too.

I purchase them bare root (from mail order nurseries that take every precaution to test their plants for HVX) and I grow them in those inexpensive but lightweight plastic pots beginning with 6" up to 3 gal size. That's as much as I can lift in my old age, and I do like to move them around. I've seen some 'Sub and Substance' whoppers in 15 gal cans at Summerwinds Nursery, so I know it is possible to do them big in containers if you have the space.

Some grow faster than others, and they come in all sizes, shapes and coloration. There are THOUSANDS of varieties registered. When they get rootbound, I repot them up a size. Once those larger ones max out in a 3 gal container, they get divided and given to friends. Some have been slowly up-potted over the years and have had to finally be divided after about 5 years. My Sagae is 4' across and I bought it as a one gal plant just 3 years ago. I try to stay away from the very large ones, simply because I don't have the room. One unregistered mini named "Sharpitor" that I got at the SF Garden show in 2002 is still in a shallow bonsai dish.

My 'Olive Bailey Langdon' (which is a non-edge desiccating substitute for 'Frances Williams') has dinner plate sized leaves, 9.5 x 10". She is reported to get 14" x 11" under ideal conditions. So I ain't doin' that bad here in California.

Yes the clumps won't be as wide as back East where they have ideal conditions, but I still get a lot of bang for my buck.

I grow them in 80% fine orchid bark (mini-bark) with about 20% potting mix or organic compost. Liquid fertilizer 1/2 strength about once a month. They need very good drainage in pots. I flood them when I water to flush out any salts. I don't change the mix, except to add fresh when they go into a larger pot, and that could be a few years. I just plop the root-bound 1 gal can into a 2 gal can, and fill that 1" space with new bark mix. I keep the pots dry and out of sight once they go dormant, about November, and then jump for joy when they begin to poke up their noses in late Feb. to March.

The neat thing about having them in containers is that I can control the pests and those leaves stay looking darned near perfect most of the summer. Which, for me, when I hold a leaf in my hand and view it as a watercolor painting, is what they are all about.


    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 9:13PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

Here is a photo of Fire and Ice...That I purchased in 2001, with a pen for size...considered to be a finicky hosta to grow even back East. YES we can do it here in California! Angela, GO FOR IT!


    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 11:13PM
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oh that's beautiful!!! i'm envisioning my garden area under the flowering pear and maple, full of hostas!

i'm going for it!

thanks everyone :)

    Bookmark   July 20, 2010 at 12:56AM
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