Blue Angels withering away

BotunkusMarch 4, 2014

For several years our Blue Angel hosta flourished and grew pretty large then about 3 years ago we noticed they came back small. That year was a pretty cold and wet winter so we figured that was the problem but we've noticed that each year since they've come in smaller and smaller and are now at the point where they are about the size they were when we first bought them 10-15 years ago. They get filtered sunlight, are in decent soil but they are planted in close proximity to a Beech tree. I noticed that a couple of them had yellowed leaves - not from lack of water or fungus but like they were missing a nutrient. Soil tests come back fine. Any ideas?

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ilovetogrow z9 Jax Florida

Wet winter? I would dig them up and see what is up underneath the soil. Roots tell a story. Paula

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 4:28PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

its not nutritional..

its not winter cold .. in TN.. you dont know what cold is.. lol ..

and its either the tree .. or some root competition.. and lack of water.. thru the root zone ... you can not water.. monster hosta.. with lawn sprinklers .. if you are relying on such???? .. a hosta that size.. has roots a foot or two down..

yellowing leaves.. in mid to late summer [???] is lack of proper water ..

props for the soil test ... not many people actually ever do it ... but it does support my first comment ..

dig them up.. clean them up.. replant elsewhere ... as noted.. when you dig them up.. you will find out what is sucking the life out of them ...


    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 4:52PM
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Have you looked nearby for a rabbit hole entrance? Or taken a good long deep look into your dirt for ants, or whatever insect you have regionally that undermines plants?

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 8:45PM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

You have to dig it up to know for sure. Something is preventing it from getting what it needs to thrive. Likely it's root competition from the Beech, but it could be voles or crown rot. The only way to know is to dig it up and find out. If it's root competition you will see the Beech roots growing into and perhaps through the Hosta root ball. If it's voles you'll see where they have eaten away the roots/crown. If it's rot you'll see mushy parts of the crown. Healthy roots are white and firm and fleshy. You have to dig it up to know. Once you know the problem take some pics and post them back here. It helps all of us when you share your problems/misery.


    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 8:21AM
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Thanks for all the feedback. Got a feeling it is related to competition for water and food. Forgot to mention that my wife planted some dead nettle in the area and it's starting to take over. When they come up I'll take photo's and dig a few up to examine.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 3:13PM
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josephines123 z5 ON Canada

I have the same ground cover amongst several plants including hosta. Its root system is not the problem IMHO. Don't worry, someone here will know once you can get at the plant and dig it up and post a pic.


    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 4:42PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

soapbox warning!!!!!

plants are not children ... they do not need food

in any type of decent soil.. plants do NOT NEED TO BE FED ... [though a little of this or that wont hurt]

the soil does not become lacking in 'food' as you call it ... and the nettles prove such ...

competition.. yes.. food .. no ..

i can not say it any stronger.. the issue is water ... period .. and you will not make them better by fertilizing them ... if that is the reason ..

see link from one of our favored sellers ...


Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   March 6, 2014 at 1:24PM
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Botunkus, I had 3 Blue Angles. One was planted a few years before the others. The two "new ones" were on either side of a lamp post, maybe 5 feet apart. They were both fine for a few years. Then one thrived and one didn't. Five feet made a difference.

The one that lived was smack dab next to the front sidewalk. I attribute that (without direct evidence, since I didn't dig up the good one!) to moisture being available from under the sidewalk in the dry summer months the previous year. Yes, I believe it's water.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 7:14AM
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