OK Let's try something different: Switching out

desperationfalls(z5 MA)March 9, 2014

OK. I've been reading extensively on hostas in deep shade(and I know about hostas--been growing them for 30 years and have hundreds of them-maybe 50 different varieties) .

Apparently (and plz correct me if I'm wrong) many hostas need a few hours of sunlight per day. I've got a patch with NO sunlight (and double canopy). I would like to put TWO
gold hostas in containers at the top of a woodland stairway in this condition.

Do you think it would work to have 4 (FOUR) yellow hostas like dancing queen or sun power--and
switch their pots out every two weeks--TWO in (4 hours of
sunlight per day) and TWO in no sunlight, but dappled shade each day and see if they'd keep a nice appearance about them?

Anybody ever tried doing anything like this?????

I'd appreciate ANY help here.

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hosta_freak(z6 NC)

I dont' know about that,but I do remember a restaurant that had Boston ferns in there,and we know ferns will not grow inside with no light. What the nurseries did,was change out the ferns every so often,so they always looked good. And,in answer to your question,yes it would probably work. Phil

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 9:41PM
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Hey there, Massachusetts hosta lover! Desperation falls is a great screen name!

I switch things out all the time....when they are growing, that is. I think "dappled shade" is a good thing, and of course that is what I give them here in zone 9a. Even direct sunlight of three hours morning light would be adequate, but after reading in the brand new Zilis Field Guide To Hostas that up north 3 hours sunlight is enough, I'm impressed how hardy/sturdy these hosta really are.

I'm a real newcomer to hosta growing, fell for them when I was up in MA and brought them south with me. With your long years of experience growing hosta, you should have no problem balancing their needs to your conditions. I love those gold hosta myself.

One question though: WHICH golds are you considering for this swap? Maybe try a Dick Ward in one of the pots. It has a green margin, really rugose midleaf of gold, and it is a super strong hosta. It comes from Zounds, a great rugose gold itself. Do you have either one of those already? Then you know how they are strong hosta.

Also if you have King Tut, that is one worth trying too. You do not want a gold that burns in the sun, and King Tut is recommended by Zilis in his new book, Field Guide To Hosta. A fragrant gold that I got last year is Tortilla Chip. It looks really nice.

Guess which one in this picture is Tortilla Chip?

Have fun. I'm primarily a container gardener of hosta, but my zone is way different than yours.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 11:33PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

the first thing that pops into my mind .. is how big they will be when you buy them ...

if you are buying rather small turds ... you might be better off growing them to some size.. maybe a year or two .. in the higher light level... to achieve some size ... and then start moving them around ...

rather than putting babes [maybe that is a better word.. lol] .... in deep shade.. for half of its first season or two ...

there are all kinds of pot tricks.. namely the right potting media and pot size .... which need to be addressed ...

good luck


ps: the more green a hosta has.. read that: chlorophyll ... the more able it is to capture and use sunlight ... the further you get from green... [the ultimate being white tissue] .. the harder it will be for any plant.. in deep shade ... you are simply reducing its ability to process sunlight ...

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 6:54AM
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desperationfalls(z5 MA)

Thanks to ALL of you (Wow Ken--Mr Hosta Guru!-a pleasure
to have your advice on this dilemma). Also LOVE the beautiful pic, Moccasin!
So, I haven't bought these yet-so, Ken, they will be not big.
And yes, you are SOOO right about light and the amount of green--when we bought this house 26 years ago, there
were already in this area two enormous hosta plants along
with a bank full of forget-me-nots (and the previous owner really couldn't grow anything!!) and the hostas were a ventricosa and a white-variegated variety and the greens in both were very very deep green, but beautiful.

I am hoping for Sun Power or Dancing Queen (and yes,
Tortilla Chip looks amazing), but, alas, I'm quite aware
that they will all become some shade of green if I don't get
them the light they need. But, in my dreams I imagine looking up that stairway (arched over with 9 foot tall andromedas) and seeing the gleaming gold of two hostas in black pots!!!!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 10:36AM
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Jon 6a SE MA

Double canopy of what? Maybe you might want to limb up whatever is there or thin it out to let some sun in and plant the hosta in the ground and leave them there???...or leave them there in pots, if you prefer???


    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 3:01PM
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josephines123 z5 ON Canada

My mind went simply to esthetics....how interesting the colour might be with the switch-outs...hmm...the advantages of potted hosta! :-). I think it's an interesting concept.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 3:52PM
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desperationfalls(z5 MA)

Double canopy: first layer is 9 - 12 foot high andromeda
underneath 100 foot tall oak trees (and no, I can't take
any more off of the oak trees or with so little leafing, they will surely die).
Truth be told, the blues (Hadspen Blue and Halcyon) do
just fine in these conditions--not vigorous, but healthy
enough. Even the plain greens like ventricosa grow like
weeds --even WHERE MOSS will not grow.
But yellows, ah, yellows are another story.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 4:04PM
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