Do you Fertilize?

hostabffMarch 26, 2011

I have never fertilized my hosta and was considering making the effort this year. I was curious if you fertilize, what you use and when you do it.

I was considering mixing my own compost with manua and maybe even adding coffee grounds and topping all the hosta before the keys start to pop. What do you think?

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i too am thinking about it ...

but i would not do it until later in spring ... nothing like some highly stimulated hosta poking up too fat.. only to be hit hard by a late frost or freeze, up here in z5

if the hosta come up on stored energy .. then it would be of no EARLY use.. to fertilize them early ... except the job being easier without all those leaves in the way ...


    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 12:35PM
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I usually top off the hostas here as they are coming up with compost or well-composted manure; depends on what I have on hand. Sometimes I'll use composted cotton burr if I feel particularly rich enough to shell out and buy some, or I feel that the soil needs an extra something. I love that stuff. But no chemical fertilizers at all.

I go to Starbucks and pick up the free coffee grounds a litte later in spring when the slugs become active, it seems to help keep them away to put a thin layer around the most susceptible plants, besides being good fertlizer.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 12:45PM
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I hear you Ken - I'm in zone 6a and the spring thaw/freeze can really mess up a great hosta for the season. My effort to fertilize had two purposes. I also wanted to topdress those large hostas that have worked their way to the top of the soil and always seem to be hit with a spring frost.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 1:10PM
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I uses a time release 10-10-10 or 14-14-14 type fertilizer about the time the pips are pushing up - just easier than once leaves are full.

One of gardens from tours uses horse manure and they are wow. The local horse track gives for free, but I haven't used yet since while local it is about an hour away across the metro area.

County has compost for free if your timing is right.

Also, have used the foliage fertilizer the type you hook up to the hose. I didn't use as widespread last year - think areas where I stopped using it looked less lush than in years past.


    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 2:04PM
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Manure is fine, but it HAS to be composted.... if not, it'll burn the heck out of plants (and stink too!)
I got some composted manure from the horse track Paul mentioned and it's a little early to tell if it helped. But I do plan on getting as much as I can this spring!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 3:12PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

time release is temperature activated .. in theory.. so even if you put it down early.. it PROBABLY wont release until the soil gets hot ... like it would in a black pot ... most fear is in the word PROBABLY ...

and we are playing with the words here a bit.. top dressing.. is a soil conditioner ... more than a fertilizer .. you know.. build the soil and all that.. with a side effect of some food ...

we should not really be calling it FERTILIZING.. as that means something entirely different..

usually it is best to clarify the issue.. before we confuse ourselves into oblivion

personally .. i an thinking about fertilizing.. as my sand.. is useless ... and i dont have a checkbook to improve 2 acres of hosta bed soil ..


    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 3:22PM
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hosta_freak(z6 NC)

The only time I fertilize is when planting a new hosta. I use Miracle Grow Shake 'n Feed into the planting hole,mix it up with the native soil,and plant the hosta. Then mulch,water in,and walk away. My soil is red clay,amended for years by falling leaves,and it very good for growing anything. Phil

    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 3:45PM
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I throw 13-13-13 on all my beds in early spring.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 7:52AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

ok swm .. this is what i am wondering..

literally throw it around ...??

how much.. do you worry about it landing on crowns ...

give me a concise.. please ... concise description of your process.. as bizarre as it might be.. because.. you know.. what works works.. all theory aside...



    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 10:07AM
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I pour a bag of 13-13-13 in a bucket. Then I walk around the garden and grab handfulls and in a sweeping motion, scatter the fertilizer over all my beds. It fertilizes my hostas, perennials, and shrubs all at once. I never had any problems with fertilizer on the crowns or on the leaves for that matter. I just sort-of brush it off or rinse it off. I do this very late March or early April each year. I try to scatter about 1-1 1/2 cups per every 10x10 area.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 12:30PM
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I have a question about the coffee grounds for fertilizer. When I first read the post last week, I started saving all of my grounds. Now my question, should the grounds be spread under the mulch around the plants, or on top of the mulch? I did have a time with something eating some of my hostas before they were half grown. That was disheartening, after watching them grow, since this was my first attempt at growing them. I think that by putting one yr. old horse compost in the holes, and stirring it in, made the hostas grow good, most of them have 3 or 4 stalks to each plant. Makes you feel good when you see your efforts payoff. Thanks for your help!

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 6:38PM
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I put it on top of the mulch, in a ring around the hostas (not too close to the plant) so the slugs would have to cross it. It seems to help keep them away, at any rate I don't have nearly the slugs I had before I started using it. I make sure it is under the leaves. Hope it works for you!

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 9:30PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

Yes. 1/2 strength Miracle Grow acid mix, about once a month in my pots. In Spring I sprinkle a little rock powder in each pot to supply misc. minerals. Only because my situation is very different from most of yours. We get ZERO rain during the growing months and our water is very alkaline. When I water, I flush the pot thoroughly to get rid of built up salts, and since they are planted in mostly bark bits, there isn't much of anything soil related, left after a year. Many of my hostas are in the same pots for more than 3 years, so essentially I'm growing them hydroponically. Hey, whatever works.


    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 10:42PM
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bernd ny zone5

I agree to wait until May to fertilize here in zone 5a. I will use again granular 10-10-10, fill up a bucket, then use a small scoop from a detergent container to spread the fertilizer in rings around plants, might scratch it in. Lawns get fertilized here also only the end of April. As my timing goes, and having 30 bags of mulch sitting there, have just raked my yard, I will put the mulch down before the fertilizer. I have three bays of compost cooking, will wait to apply that much later, fall or next year, and for new planting.

I think to spray on a liquid fertilizer with a hose sprayer starting in June, that seems to be a good idea.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 11:10AM
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Yup, you becha!

Our soil is glacial moraine sand and gravel all the way to bedrock, so soil test tubes won't even measure the levels of nutrients here.

So for years we've wandered the garden areas spewing 10-10-10 or 12-12-12 or whatever is cheapest at the local big box store.

Now a cupla years ago I started foliar spraying Miracle Grow eve ry 2 weeks and my wife says she is sure it's doing us well. She is very frugal and wouldn't let me spend the money if it wasn't working. She keeps photographic records and can and does compare. Yes, we also work at building the soil with compost, but the immediate satisfaction of the bigger plants from foliar spray Miracle Grow has sure been worth the cost and time.


    Bookmark   April 8, 2011 at 11:26PM
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flowerchild59(z6b IL)

I try to amend the soil any way I can. I add shredded leaves between the plants every fall and I do sprinkle osmacote to the beds early in the spring. I top dress with mulch that eventually breaks down and improves the soil thru the years.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2011 at 10:14AM
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