Big project coming, north-facing OK?

funnthsun z7A - Southern VAJanuary 5, 2014

OK, so we have torn down our old deck in the back yard b/c foundation work needed to be done and the deck needed to be replaced anyway. I told my husband 2013 was the year of remodel for our home, but it looks like it will be the "years", not year! The front of the house was redone last year, now we are moving around back.

Anyway, so we decided that our deck should be built back a little bit differently. Instead of extending the deck all of the way to the edge (corner) of the house, we are going to center the new deck at the back of the house and leave the corner area that use to be under the old deck as a new gardening area. So, this corner will have the brick of the house on one side that makes the corner, and a privacy fence on the other. The back of our house faces Northwest, so this bed, being cornered, will basically face North and be pretty protected with the brick on the east side of it, privacy fence on the south side and a shed on the west side. Does that make sense? I know, pics would be good, but it is dark and cold outside and well, it's not happening right now!

So, here's the question. Is that enough sun for a new hosta garden? Do hostas do well in a north facing bed? Once I started planning this bed, I started thinking back and I have never, ever planted an area that has been north facing in my entire gardening career! Well, that just blew my mind! How in the world could that be! But, it's true, so need some help with this. Will this be too secluded, do you think? Maybe this would be a good place to keep the blues :)

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A great place for blues, or just about any other hosta you'd care to put there, funnthsn. Some golds/yellows may stay a little more on the chartreuse side, but that's not really my idea of a problem. They'll grow just fine : ) The only thing is, plantaginea and it's sports may not bloom, but plantaginea hybrids will. At least they do on the north side of my house (bright shade only on my north side, almost zero direct sun).

Have fun with the new beds!

Don B.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 8:24PM
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I have bright shade, no direct sun on part of my north side as well. Its a great place for my Hosta Hudson Bay, a white centered on that I worried about burning out. Other than that I've heard that green hostas do well in shade because they have more chlorophyll. Have fun.


    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 8:34PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

you people... does anything good ever start with that .. lol ... in NC .. DONT KNOW WHAT COLD IS ...

can you say minus 15 tomorrow ...

oh... and its too cold for you to go get a pic ... blah.. blah.. blah ...

as long as you understand.. that foundation plants are NOT planted on the foundation ... north mean nothing ...

3 to 6 feet out.... is.. most likely.. extremely bright... even if full shade all day ...

of course.. w/o the pix... because its what.. oh jimminey.. see link ..

go for it ...


Here is a link that might be useful: OH MY GOD .... I AM SURE IT WILL CHANGE BY THE TIME YOU LIONK TO IT... BUT THE LOWEST TEMP IS 36 WITH A HIGH OF 64 WITH A STATE AVERAGE ... AT 838PM SUNDAY OF.... 52 .... REALLY ... I AM SIGNING OFF.. LOL ... i cant listen to you whine about it being too cold ... dark.. maybe... crikey ... lol

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 8:41PM
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funnthsun z7A - Southern VA

Lol, ken, you know I said that for you!!!!! :-) OK, you had me busting out laughing with that whole post and that you googled my weather! Crikey, indeed!

I think I am responding to what is coming instead of what is out there now. Being VERY used to mild weather and the forecast is 9 degrees for tomorrow night, well, that's got me a bit rattled! Not sure when its supposed to start to drop. Definitely not our norm. It was nice today, though, I'll give you that.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 9:06PM
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hosta_freak(z6 NC)

OK,I do live in NC,and the end of my house faces northwest. Anyhow,I have found that hostas do not grow well there. It is always too cold in the spring,and the hostas there always came up later than any others. The very best location for me has always been the east,and southeast,where my garden is located. Oh,and Ken,we may not get as cold as up there in Michigan,but my hostas get enough cold every year to grow quite well,thank you! Including the ones you gave me,when we were up there. Looking forward to seeing them come up this spring! Phil

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 9:17PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

It is always too cold in the spring,and the hostas there always came up later than any others.

==>> hey phil ... late emergence is a PLUS.. when my last freeze date is in mid may ... and late frost POTENTIAL is 6/1

thank god fun has a sense of humor... at 830 this morning.. its EIGHT FREAKIN DEGREES ... i am dressing properly.. and going out to take some pix... whats your excuse.. lol ...


ps: NOT!!!!! i am not going out there for pix.. batteries will get too cold.. lol.. now there is a reasonable excuse ....

Here is a link that might be useful: eweee ... toasy.. with a state average of 6 .. i am in the temperate zone.. lol ...

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 8:36AM
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Late emerging is a plus. I avoid early hosta because they attract rabbits. Guacamole, for example, comes up early when there is not much else to eat. The rabbits come and eat it, then they come back and eat it again and anything else that is handy. I have to cover it to keep the rabbits from setting up summer fiesta head quarters at my house. Rabbits (and deer) have eating habits and early hostas can be a problem. Then there is spring dessication - late frosts and such. I have learned, over the years, to plant those plants in more shade so they look prettier. They also grow slower; that's OK by me.

BTW Ken makes a good point about foundation planting. Leaving about 2 feet between your hosta planting and your house so you can get back there for house and/or hosta maintenance. Also, it gets the plant out where it will get some rain. For example, I transplanted Sum and Substance to 5.5 feet, on center, from the foundation. 3.5 feet for the plant and 2 feet for maintenance. I plan on having a really big S&S some day:)


Edited for spelling

This post was edited by BeverlyMN on Mon, Jan 6, 14 at 9:43

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 9:41AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

Leaving about 2 feet between your hosta planting and your house so you can get back there for house and/or hosta maintenance.

===>>> 2 feet fromt eh canopy of the hosta ...

so if you were doing SS.. a 6 foot hosta... 3 foot each side of center ...

i would suggest AT LEAST 5 to 6 feet from the house ...

and i would leave at least 3 feet .. easier path to walk thru ...

its slipped from 8 degrees at 7am.. to 4 now at 10:30ish .. i am going out to start the cars .. and i am not whining about it being cold ... i am doing it .. lol


    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 10:27AM
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Ah, Ken, I died laughing at your NC weather report post. Up until I saw NC, I thought you might be poking fun at MOI, because I'd just posted about 15F freaking degrees tonight here in Mobile. heheheheheh......whew, you haven't caught me yet.

To explain though, I was not wimping out cause it's cold. I put on my wooly socks and my signature pair of white gardening clogs (worth every penny they cost on sale) and dispensing more blankets for tender plants, and moving critical ones into the Teahouse sanctuary. Hosta are doing fine tipped over, although the recent soaking rains left many pretty wet. Might be some rot even with tipped pots.That means this weather does "natural selection" and next spring I might have MORE ROOM FOR HOSTA (shopping).

So look on the bright side of things. No need to whine.
Hopefully my S&S (from 2010 planting date) is now back in the ground spending his first southern winter there. I'm so hoping his new bed along the driveway has no losses, especially S&S. I'm waiting for signs of maturity if it emerges all happy in a late March, no crown rot.

Of course, we don't have the classic freeze/thaw cycle here. We have the rainy/cool/warm/humid winter pattern. Which makes container hosta culture so attractive and potentially successful....if you're willing to forego giant sized clumps, or pay huge sums for huge containers. And then try to make raised beds as close to natural culture as possible. So my driveway bed is my first effort at that. What is going to happen when the wet soil freezes down at least a couple of inches. Could that be enough to catch the hosta crowns?
I'll learn more about dealing with my location this winter.

Like they say in real estate, LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION....true in gardening too.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 1:05PM
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sunnywood 5aChazyNY

You guys break me up with your cold temps above zero. It was -6 F this morning here in Aurora ,Co . Last Fri. It was -20 F at my summer house in upstate .NY. The hostas love in both places.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 3:07PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

hey moc.. 15 degrees is T shirt weather for some of us in the midwest ...

crikey.. plus heavy socks... lol

hell.. i dont even wear pants until it hits zero ... its not a pretty picture.. and the kids are scarred for life ...

now wipe the spittle off your monitor and move on ...


    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 4:09PM
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It's -15 feels like -40 with the wcf. My neighbors out filling his bird feeder. Hardy Wisconsin stock.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 6:49PM
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funnthsun z7A - Southern VA

and THAT is why I live in NC, LOL, no desire whatsoever to experience single digit weather... EVER. No triple digits, either, just a nice medium for MOST of the year, with the occasional swing. Bring on 70-degree Christmases any time!

Never typed through spit before...

Man, I'm never gonna scrape that image out of my head...

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 8:26PM
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It's SIXTEEN degrees here right now...Gonna go take a walk to the swimmin hole; With my striped circa '70's tank top (they're coming back into style) and flip-flops...don't need no stinkin t-shirt!

; P

Don B(rrrrr)...

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 9:49PM
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I guess what I meant to say was,the hostas northwest of my house still don't grow well there,even with the later arising. I have been moving them out to the garden. I think I'll plant some native ferns there. Nothing bothers them. Phil

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 10:11AM
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funnthsun z7A - Southern VA

Phil, thanks for the info. I wonder if there is enough difference between zone 6 and 7B to make a difference in growth rate of hostas in my neck of the woods and yours when it comes to north facing? Hmmmm, I need to make a decision on this before I go ahead with the plans for the back area, just in case I need to change things around. Luckily, I have a bit of time before Spring planting.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 10:44AM
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