just because you get or buy them .....

ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5March 26, 2014

a lesson that took me over two decades to learn and understand.. involves understanding... that there is a proper planting season ...

just because you get your grubby little hands on a plant ... does not mean that is the time to plant it ...

i doubt i have to explain this on hosta ... if its too cold ... its too cold.. pot it to hold it over ...

never plant a tree in leaf.. unless you want all the leave to fall off .. you plant it when its dormant .... even evergreens.. such as conifers ... have a dormant phase ...

dont plant a flower in flower .. unless you want to lose the flowers ...

etc.. etc.. etc ...

so take your delivery ..... pot them ..... and put them in the garage ... and keep in mind.. they are not houseplants ... the garage is usually good enough ... to prevent those temps drops at night ....

and if you miss the spring planting season.. hold the stock in pots until the fall planting season ...

so it is said.. so it is written ...


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Hostas are a little different from other plants, though, in that they grow new roots during the warm part of the season and not in the winter. New roots start forming just after the first leaves unfurl and continue through the summer. If you can give them some regular water to encourage new roots then you can still plant hostas just fine even after they've leafed out.

Though there will be some regional differences here, the cool season growers like to be planted in the fall and early spring. Warm season growers such as hostas like to be planted in spring and summer to very early fall.


    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 6:22PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I think a whole lot of people are going to disagree with some of your statements. I do think that you have transplanting phobias, lol.

In warmer climates, landscape installation projects go on all year round, with the exception of deciduous shade trees, which are best planted in the late fall througb late winter.

I've personally overseen summer season projects that include conifers of all kinds, broad leaf evergreens, flowering shrubs, perennials, and annuals. This in the deep south.

I've said many times within these forums that I simply don't understand this 'transplant shock ' issue that so many talk about. I can only assume that there must be operator error problems.

I have not experienced wilting, defoliation, flower drop, needle drop, yellowing, or plant loss, even when planting in the heat of a South Carolina summer.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 7:09PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Ken....and others here in the Hosta Forum. I want to apologize sincerely for my previous post.

I have started to read that "Most Recent Posts " column with interest and forget where I am sometimes. Ken's comments about transplanting are probably very true when it comes to Hosta. I wouldn't know since I'm totally inexperienced with Hosta! Unlike Ken, who is very knowledgeable about these beautiful plants.

I hope that you accept my apology, Ken and hosta lovers. I'll pay more attention to my whereabouts from now on.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 7:29PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

Rhizo- Youzza. I did that once last week, and I still don't know the name of the forum I landed on.

Whoa Ken. We plant things in bloom around here year round...shrubs, conifiers, trees bedding plants and other perennials. Everything comes in a container locally. Sometimes I succumb and buy hostas online during the Summer and they arrive bare root fully leafed out. No problem.

I do agree that when folks get their hostas, perhaps a bit too early for the strange cold weather you guys are having, they should pot them up and keep them out of the frosty temps. A sunny window?


    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 7:50PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

Sticking to just hosta, someone here wrote a nice piece once on transplanting a leafed out hosta. Masking tape, and all that. Now who was that?


Here is a link that might be useful: Oh, yeah. Now I remember.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 9:44PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

tj- YES!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 11:02PM
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funnthsun z7A - Southern VA

Yep, I have to depart from Ken on this one - mostly. Most flowers don't drop their petals when they get transplanted. If that were the case, the local retailers wouldn't be in business! The majority of "gardeners" are what I call skimmers, meaning they grab something locally occassionally, usually annuals but sometimes perennials, and plunk them in the ground and expect instant gratification. Of course, with annuals, they usually get it and if the flowers were to drop off of them upon transplant, I know they would be back at the retailer complaining about their plants.

I do agree, however, that too early shouldn't go in the ground. If I get a hosta order in the next few days, I will be potting up, not plunking in the ground. However, I've been known to buy perennials this time of year (this practice, is, of course, assuming your ground isn't frozen this time of year!) and plunking them in. If it freezes, I just turn a pot over and cover it. We're talking a handful, at most, not dozens, mind you.They don't drop their flowers, they just wait patiently for good weather to start doing their thing.

Funny enough, I just bought an already-emerged potted up Ipheion at the Plant Delights open house a few weeks ago. It was my first local purchase of the season. It cold-snapped in a couple of days of purchase, of course, and since it was still in the pot, I brought it in. Well, it did not like that, it's leaves were half yellow in a couple of days. Cold-snap was over, so I went ahead and planted it out, thinking I might have lost it already. As soon as it went in the ground, it was happy. Leaves greened up immediately and now it is blooming out there and happy. I just covered it when the cold snap returned and it's doing great.

So, I think the answer is -- It depends on the plant, the time of year, the location, the previous conditions, etc....LOL....don't think you can blanket categorize this subject.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 9:10AM
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bernd ny zone5

I usually do what Ken wrote in his post up front. After a good drink over night after coming out of that tight package, I pot a new hosta. This is especially true getting pieces of large mature hostas from Land of the Giants. If no frost is forecast, I put the pots outside in a shady place and then wait after I have figured out all my planting changes before I plant them in soil. This might take a month, and by that any new hosta is ready to get planted.
Smaller bare-root hostas usually enjoy a month in a pot too, also to get used to that new climate.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 9:16AM
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robo (z6a)

Hmmm, somehow the temptation to get plants in the ground isn't very strong right now.

(from Kathleen Shea @gemini0968 on twitter)

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 11:11AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

yes rhiz.. of course ... but i wasnt concerned with your comments about PROFESSIONAL INSTALLATIONS ... it was moot to my point ... as much as i simplify things for newbies and those with lesser experience [which at times makes your head explode... lol] .. sometimes your stuff is so overly professional .. and i mean that in a good way .... [it makes my head want to explode] ... regardless you are a savant as far as i am concerned... if i can figure out what you are talking about.. lol

which.. as is not uncommon... apparently i wasnt clear about my idea ... the simple idea ... is that ... again ... on any plant ... in any region ... there is a 'proper planting time' ..

for me in MI .... you dont find some bargain in august.. when its 100 during the day.. 80 at night .. a tree ... and go plant it ... you simply wont be able to give it enough water to sustain it [well you can give it the water.. but can the roots pump it fast enough.. after you disturbed them] ... so why not wait 2 months.. and plant it in fall ... when its in the 70s.. and 50s at night ... so much easier ...

buy it when you can get it.. but think about if its really the best time to plant it ... throw the pot in bright shade.. and nurse it along for a month or two ... [never put a black pot in sun.. you will cook the roots]

the other end of the spectrum.. with frost/freeze liable plants.. dont rush out to plant them when its really too cold ... pot them.. and leave them in the garage ... warmish during the day ... but tempered night temps to avoid crystallizing the tender leaves ... and the coolness keeps them in slow motion ... as compared to forcing them large in the house ....

babs ... i though i used words broad enough... for every region ... i am sure.. even you your eden.. there are better times to do things .... and the point was that simple ... peeps will think about plant culture... sun .. soil.. fert.;.. water .. and all these other variables.. and forget about TIMING ...

so i guess the post is all about TIMING ... within the variables of plant culture ....


ps: and here is the easy way to understand... you mail order from z8 WA ... and the plants are in a certain stage of growth ... and you are in z5 MN ... how about you plant them.. when as of today.. your weather is equivalent.. to the z8 they came from.. which probably means mid may ... but to take them outside.. and put them in 40 degree earth.. that is a recipe for disaster .... so one might think of the potting.. as 'hardening them off' to your conditions ...

Here is a link that might be useful: rhiz ...you are a scientist.. i am a guy who has dirt under his nails.. and killed a lot of things... lol

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 11:30AM
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mikgag Z5b NS Canada

I agree with putting hosta orders in a pot for a couple of weeks in the shade to minimize shock. However, I've planted dozens of different variety trees in leaf at all times of the year, and never had an issue....ever. Then again, I also have a ring of 7, 10 year old fully mature hostas around a sugar maple that Ken would yell at me for....

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 4:25PM
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Lots of folks disagreed claiming that summer season plantings work just fine. But I didn't see anyone disagree with Ken's first point about planting when the danger of frost is high.

For many of you, that means right now as nursery orders of new hosta are arriving. For me, I still have a snowpack of about 60 cm (24 inches) with more that fell overnight. Spring breakup will come soon but it isn't here yet! And I have never planted new hostas before May 20 as Ken's advice is valid if you want hostas to survive.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 7:08AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

thank you dougald ...

someone finally focused on the fact that its very early spring [heck.. its still winter in MI] ...

and that we are in the HOSTA FORUM... discussing HOSTA!!!!! .. not my other examples ...

if you put hosta that have broken dormancy.. in icy cold soil .. i give them a 50/50 shot at survival ... even on the driveway ...

there are very experienced peeps that do things all year long.. that they are not supposed to ... pushing the envelope ... having killed millions of plants.. learning all the trick ....

but usually i am trying to enable newbies ... and they tend toward getting all worried.. and giving up .. if they lose a plant or two ...

so it seemed like a pretty easy lesson for a newbie... one of the factors of succeeding easily ... is to think about the TIMING of the planting .. and august is not easy ....

junkie.. i have no clue what my other post has to do with this????? ... i was addressing the arrival of plants.. in the frozen midwest.. from naylor creek/greenhouse .... ===>>>> today ... would you run outside and plant them immediately ???? ... i know you are messin with me ... lol ...

and if any of you.. want to order fully leafed out ... BARE ROOT TREES ... just like the hosta we are seeing in other posts ... .. for planting in august.. let me know how that all works out for you ... all i will say ... is that i told you so.. and you should have considered your timing .... and to talk to mic.. because he does it all the time ...


    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 7:43AM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

Ken, this is what you said above...

"so take your delivery ..... pot them ..... and put them in the garage ... and keep in mind.. they are not houseplants ... the garage is usually good enough ... to prevent those temps drops at night ....

and if you miss the spring planting season.. hold the stock in pots until the fall planting season ... "

There is no reason to hold off until the "fall planting season"
as your previous post so accurately explains transplanting leafed out plants. Granted, one doesn't want to do it with temps in the 90s, but there are ample ops throughout the summer.

That is what your other post has to do with this...;-)


    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 5:05PM
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bragu_DSM 5

aaeeeeeiiiiiii ...

my head just 'sploded ...

why can't we all just get along?

i work so hard to hibernate a cupple months, and come back to ... this?

crikey ... on the driveway!

rotflmao ... with tape


    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 3:38PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

Life would be SO boring if we all agreed on everything. The cold weather folks have all been cooped up way too long this year, and it shows. ;-)


    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 3:55PM
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bernd ny zone5

Yes, Babka, your life is so much better living in California, see your hostas and your garden so much earlier, and not having to look at all that snow we have in the north, and still have it right now, but melting in 55 degrees days now. Bernd

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 9:34AM
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Hey hey, good to see Rhizo drop in to see how the other half lives. I mean, there is a nursery selling HOSTA in Leeds AL, and it is listed in the Hosta Keeper 2014, and I almost visited there the other day. I bet Rhizo could drop in there and get a good look at some huge hosta. Miss Judy would be pleased to show him/her around.

And, Rhizo, if you are down Mobile way, you might like to see how my (500 or so) hosta are doing between late April and early July, too hot after that for prime plants, but they hang in there until October in most cases.

All they really need is 40 days below 40 degrees and they are good to go. If you keep the moisture under control.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 1:44AM
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