best soil for potting up new bare root hostas

marricgardensFebruary 4, 2013

This year I plan to order my first bare root hostas. What is the best soil type to use? Is triple mix okay or should I add something for better drainage? Thanks. Marg

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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

I don't know what you mean by triple mix. In the container forum the peeps there recommend a mix with a lot of bark in it. I use the 5-1-1 which is five parts pine bark (fines not chunks), one part peat, one part perlite (or chicken grit, or turface). I mix it in a wheel barrow and then fill up a plastic trash container and have enough for the season. You can add fert at this time also if you like.

If you want a premixed bag of container mix, try Fafard 3B. It's the closest thing commercially available. 50% bark fines in it.

These mixes will drain very well. That's what you want in a mix.

Steve

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 10:23AM
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marricgardens

Triple mix is a mix of compost, soil and manure. I have both the turface and bark. Do you think I could just add some of each to increase drainage? I've never seen Fafard for sale around here. Marg

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 12:01PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

pots or ground???

kinda left out the most important fact .. eh

ken

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 12:43PM
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paul_in_mn(4b)

Last couple of years I switched to 1/2 Premier Pro-Mix and 1/2 pine bark mulch (not nuggets which are larger pieces). Seems to be working well. Mix in a big bowl adding water to wet the peat.

Here's a pic

Paul

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 12:50PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

for a pot.. i would use a pro blend of peat/perlite/vermiculite .. with 1/3 mini bark chunks ... store bone dry in a garbage can for 100 years ....

for the ground .. stay natural ... compost/manure.. etc ... improve your soil.. rather than a given hole ....

if bad clay soil.. see above re: pots ...

if maple.. see above re: pots ... lol

==>> in potting culture.. i would rely on a PROFESSIONAL potting media.. souped up with added drainage thru the bark ...

i am of the position.. that mother earth does NOT belong in pots.. and compost is just an unprocessed form of mother earth.. and so is manure ...

'engineering' potting media.. is all about achieving a PREDICTABLE basis of water management ... and there is nothing predictable with cow poop.. or leaf poop .. or any other poop ... [gold star for most use of poop in one paragraph.. thank you all for this award ...]

but of course.. its all great stuff as a soil amendment ...

now.. that was my opinion ... if you have used it enough .. in pots.. and feel secure with use.. you just go do whatever you want .. but do consider the course additive of bark ...

worst that could come of it all is that you have to come back and tell me i was right ..

or you came back and tell us.. it worked your way ...

good luck

ken

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 12:53PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

go figure.. the missing fact was in the title...

ken

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 12:54PM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

Marric

Yes you can use well aged compost or manure in place of peat. I would sift it first then mix it with the bark and the turface and you should be all set. Ken is right. Keep soil out of pots.

Steve

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 1:34PM
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bernd ny zone5

My bare-root hostas and seedlings would be in a pot only for 2-3 months until I find a spot for them in the ground. I use 50% composted leaf mold from my compost bin and 50% Scotts top soil which contains wood or bark chips in my area. I use the compost also to fill in pots with dug-up divisions which I give away for a hosta sale.
Bernd

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 6:39PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

berny is correct in asking.. how long will they be potted ...

if its just to hold them until planting ... it probably doesnt matter ... as long as they arent standing in water ... i have held them in 100% peat for a few weeks ... jsut to keep the roots moist ...

the base issue is that hosta roots NEED AIR.. AS MUCH AS WATER ...

if your pot is a gelatinous pile of soggy goo.. your hosta will eventually die ..

just about anything short of that.. is equivalent to the driveway .. lol ..

ken

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 6:52PM
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marricgardens

Thanks for all the help. When I get them, I won't have time to plant right away so I wanted to pot them up til I have time to plant them. I already have Pro Mix and bark here that Paul suggested so I might as well use that. Thanks for the tip about not using soil in pots, good to know. Marg

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 8:17PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i used to jsut half fill the wheelbarrow.. and 'heal' them into that for a month ...

the real trick.. if you get a few.. is to keep names straight ..

and that is solved with a ballpoint pen.. and writing the names on a leaf ... yes .. i know.. its heresy.. lol.. but a $50 dollar hosta w/o a name.. is a $5

ken

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 7:14AM
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Babka NorCal 9b

"writing the names on a leaf" BRILLIANT!

-Babka

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 12:42PM
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