Question because I'm concerned

Brandys_garden(6)April 10, 2014

All the eyes on my other hosta, with the exception of U. Albomarginata and Paul's Glory, seem to be at a stand still- they aren't really growing, just barely broken the soil and many have been that way for several weeks now. Is this because it hasn't gotten warm enough yet (it's been in the 70's the past day or two but it's averaging mid 50's and 60's right now overall). Will it hurt them to be emerged but at a stand still for too long? Am I worrying over nothing?

Also, Luna Moths eyes, most of them seem "soggy"/not firm and not right to me. Is she lost, too, do you think? I hope not!!!

I am worried I may have to start over with the exception of 2, maybe 3 and it's heartbreaking. Please tell me I'm worrying over nothing!!

Oh, and because someone mentioned it, here is my Tyrion Lannister today. And, yes, he always has that spoiled, entitled look about him!

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

Am I worrying over nothing?

==>> most likely.... do you have a driveway you could throw them on???

by any chance.. are these the biggest pots you have??? ... perhaps they are not warming as fast as smaller pots??

otherwise.. you havent given any facts... nor a pic.. for us to guess upon ... other than they are sitting there.. and letting you down ... one might suggest.. that the only failure is your expectation ...


    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 9:07AM
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josephines123 z5 ON Canada

It's been a long, tough winter - I agree with Ken's observations but have one thing to add. IF it's really worrying you, and you have the time, you could slip it out of the pot and study what's going on underneath...mushy or soggy pips would alarm me too.

I just pulled off last years dried leaves off of Wolverine, which has lived in a pot for two years....they pulled off MUCH too easily...sopping wet growing media - it's lying on its side, drying out I hope. Sounds like you and I are in the same boat - but we can always hope our fears are unfounded, lol

I can't wait...I am going to get it out of there and dump the contents and check out the crown and roots. If you don't mind, I'll come back here and let you know what I discovered? If all looks OK I am going to repot it in a new pot, new fresh media. Ttyl


    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 12:46PM
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VERY pretty kitty!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 1:23PM
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tiddisolo z8 Wales UK

I don't know if this helps but I have lost one two smallish plants I overwintered in the greenhouse.
They were kept dry all winter and when others around started moving they did nothing.
On feeling the pips they felt soft. Emptied it out carefully, roots looked good. Shook the potting mix off, roots dropped away and the crown was mush.
Why ? don't know but am coming round to thinking it may be linked to the drying off process at the end of last year. Some of the plants inside shut down quickly whilst others lingered on. I think I decided they could all manage without water from a certain point on and maybe for some it was too soon. Just a theory to test at the end of this year.


    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 1:30PM
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bkay2000(8a TX)

Keep them/get them as dry as you can and wait. That's all you can do.

That happened to me last year. They came up and then it turned cold again. They quit growing and sat there. Mine ended up rotting and coming back from dormant eyes. Mine had been watered, though.

Make sure they stay dry, if you have to put an umbrella over them.


    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 2:17PM
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josephines123 z5 ON Canada

Interesting point you make, Dave.

Well, I did it, I dumped Ripple Effect out of the big pot it was in, quite unceremoniously, sloshed 2 water bottles of water to wash off soil around crown and found ... BIG FAT PINK BUDS!!!

Talk about relief! As you can see by the pic, the root mass is so soggy.
I'm letting it sit outside, uncovered for a couple of hours to dry it out, very windy, but very springlike - YES!

Should I just hose off all soil off and repot with fresh potting medium? Yes, it was potting soil with no other amendments so it really retained all that moisture from last fall...ugh.

Glad I less to worry about. I'm hoping for you, Brandy, that yours will be ok. You have nothing to lose by checking - your choice. I just couldn't wait and have lots of time on my hands, unlike yourself. Good luck!


    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 2:20PM
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josephines123 z5 ON Canada

Bkay...your remark about the rot then subsequent emergence of dormant buds - that is the best news I've heard all day! Now, that is an example of clear thinking on your part where I would just REACT with some panic ... your viewpoints/insights will help me develop a more rational way of dealing with some of my dilemmas. I'll keep telling myself "breathe, slow what would Bkay say about that". Yes, I AM a fan of yours. :-)

I have such a mess outside - the visible lawn is so wet you can see the shine - but no puddles of water, just very, very wet. My foot sunk 4 inches so I got off it very quickly. I was walking upon the not-yet-melted snow sections and missed my footing, landing on the exposed saturated grass. I see pots that are upright! I missed some - they are filled with ice...blow dryer? Lol

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 3:55PM
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First of all, thank you Esther! I agree, Tyrion , is a handsome fella!
Well, I talked to Ed and he basically told me that all of his hosta outside or in pots outside are in the same way mine are. Then, after classes today, I drove around to check out some hot spots in town with hosta beds. All there's are in the same shape mine is in except they don't have any emerged yet and turned into pips. I only found one, the Chateau, with an unfurled hosta.... Rainbows End!! (Thinking about going back and "stealing" it from them, too!) but the landscaper said it's only because he just got it in. So, I feel a lot better.

A couple of them have noticeable changes now... Ken asked for photos so here they are. These are fresh, taken only moments ago.
Fire Island, and you can see another eye emerging, as well.

Blue Mouse Ears is coming up a bit faster, too. Still just the two eyes but I know it's a slow grower.

Wheee, it's eyes feel firm and edgy, like they are supposed to. It has more still just beneath the surface.

Mama Mia

U. Albomarginata

And all of the others with eyes emerged feel and look about the same... Definite "edginess" feel to them and feel firm. Now, here is Luna Moth. :( You can definitely see a difference...

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 5:42PM
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ilovetogrow z9 Jax Florida

Last spring was not a good start up as I would have wanted it to be even in Florida. I worried myself sick and then I would finger test and then dump the plant out of the pot. I even went into a slight depression as I thought I had lost so many of my precious hostas or that they would not grow. I finally took all my non agreeing pots off to an unused area where I would not have to see them. Low and behold they all grew and some of them blew me away with how big they got. This year I have been calmer and I am just allowing them to come up without my prodding and poking. All hostas have their own start time. It is warm here and I have unfurled plants right next to just poking pips.
I have also attended to a few plants tho that have not looked right. lol Right now I have no real advice as our growing conditions are different. They will come. Take a breath. Good luck, Paula

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 6:24PM
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It is with sad news that I report that Luna Moth was rotted, about 90%.... I still have one good "eye." :( I am so devastated! But, I took the bad parts off carefully and got her some good roots attached to it... I rinsed it off with bleach good. I put her in a greenhouse pot, the black ones they come in... I am going to hope for the best! I checked on the last 2 I was worried about... Fire and Ice (loss) and Orange Marmalade (also loss). :( So that brings my loss count to 7. I am hoping Luna Moth survives. Everyone else's eyes look good and firm. So I am sure that is it. I know I can always reorder Luna Moth but it just kills me!!
Here's what's left of her by U. Albomarginata... I moved things around and Guacamole is where Wheee was and I just moved Wheee over about a foot.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 8:10PM
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josephines123 z5 ON Canada

Luna Moth was the talk of the town last year, shortly after I signed on. I'm hoping with you that this eye grows good and strong and surprises you.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 8:47PM
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Ed sounded hopeful. I sent him a pic of the eye and the roots. He said it looked real promising from what he saw. Good color, firm. And roots look good and he couldn't see any signs of crown rot, not bacterial rot as no bad odor. But he said it's hard to kill a hosta. And they can bounce back from anything, anything but rot. But if you get it off the good parts in time, it has a chance. I am hopeful. I am going to reorder her though. Any suggestions on a good place to order from that is not in Minnesota and still frozen?
Orange Marmalade was just all mush. No visible eye any longer. As was Fire and Ice. But I hear F&I is not an easy one anyway, either, like Dream Queen. I calculated my losses, w/o including Luna Moth yet, I am at 35%!!!

Ed said I am not to blame it was just we were hit with ice and snow bam, bam, bam. And it was heavy and sometimes it just can't take all that.

Here's a pic of my current arrangement on and around patio. I put the patio babies up on bricks and stands so the sun hits them for longer. And I moved the ones in deep shade, because they need it the most, over to all day direct sun for now because they have good eyes but they are the least amount of growth showing, so I am forcing them out of dormancy, if you will, like the other lady.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 2:09AM
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MadPlanter1 zone 5

Your Tyrion looks a lot like our Chip. Chip has a white bib and toes, but the same entitled attitude. Right now he's upset we won't let him on the "playpen" deck any more. It's 12-13 ft. off the ground with no stairs, perfect for letting the cats have some sun - except Mr. C jumps off and goes exploring.

Glad to hear your plants might be fine. I tried leaving two monster hostas in covered pots this year and lost both of them. So far alI I've found are roots and mush. Thought the pots were plenty dry before I covered them. They weren't great hostas, but I still wish I'd wrestled at least one out of the pot and into the ground. Anyhow, I don't envy you having to grow hostas in pots. Seems a lot harder to keep them alive.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 9:45AM
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jadie88(7 MD)

So sorry for the bad news! :( How awful to wait all winter looking forward to spring only to lose some favorites. I'm glad you still have plenty of healthy beauties to cheer you up. Your awesome Wheee, for instance!

Advice may be the last thing you want to hear right now, but a few changes might reduce your chance of rot. If I remember correctly, don't you use straight Miracle Grow potting mix? The only hosta I lost (knock on wood!) was also one of the few I put in regular potting mix. The others had a generous amount of pine bark fines mixed in to improve drainage. Perhaps your media is staying too damp?

Along those same lines, most of the fabulous pot-growing experts on here use nursery pots slipped inside the decorative pots. That gives you multiple drainage holes, again decreasing the chances of letting the crown soak. I know it's been a rough winter, but hosta can shrug off the cold...

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 9:58AM
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Yes Jadie, I only use straight Miracle Grow potting soil and I add a handful or mulch on top. Her soil wasn't that soaked or moist. It was just right so it had to be the deep freezing? I didn't water her again, I am going to let her dry out a bit and then let the rain next week we are supposed to get handle the rest. I ordered another of her today.

The ones I put in all day direct sun the other day are starting to show evidence of waking up already. This pleases me and lifts my spirits. Hopefully in another week or so, I'll have pips all around? Knock on wood!!

Thank you, MadPlanter! I love my boy, he is very spoiled and a rotten turd at times but he is very sweet, too. He's a momma's boy for sure! He has earned the title of WORST PATIENT at the vets office and he worked hard for it, too, so I am proud of him!!

I find the opposite. I find that people who have them in the ground have a harder time and higher percentage of loss. But I guess it depends on the pH of the soil in different zones and other things?

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 7:19PM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b


Hostas do not need water when they are dormant and not growing. Excess water during dormancy will lead to crown rot as you have experienced. It seems to me that your failure rate is a bit too high. You might expect to lose a few each year. But you've lost more than that.

Two things might prevent this in the future. 1. As Jadie mentioned your mix is likely holding too much water. Miracle Grow, especially the moisture control type holds too much water. You want your mix to drain well and that means it has to have bark in the mix. Look for Fafard 52 mix or Fafard 3B. Both have about half bark mulch in the mix. If you can't find that then buy a bag of Pine Bark, not the chunks, but shredded or fine Pine Bark. Mix it half and half with the non-moisture control MG stuff and repot everything before next Fall. 2. Tip your pots on their side during the winter. Put them on the North side of your house, lined up and tipped on their sides. Some folks cover them with a tarp to ensure no moisture reaches them, but if you do that set some traps for voles/mice. Keep an eye out for critters during the winter.

These two things should significantly lessen the losses you have experienced from this past winter.


    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 5:25PM
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Thank you, Steve. I think you are confused? I did NOT water them when they are dormant. The only water they've gotten is rain water.
I do not use Miracle Grow Moisture Control. I just use the regular. But thanks anyway. We had an extremely wet and cold winter. It would be one thing if it were dry but it was not. It was either rain, snow or ice and LOTS of it. And the north side of my house is the driveway... But again thanks anyway. I am thinking about renting one of the storage spaces and putting them in there. But it was an unusual winter for here.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 1:36AM
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Babka NorCal 9b

Did you tip your pots to avoid the winter rain? Or otherwise keep them dry?
I believe that is what Steve was referring to. He knows his stuff. Water from the sky or from a hose has the same effect. Miracle Grow regular doesn't allow enough aeration for hostas. You need to add 50% tiny bark chips. And you should match the hosta roots to the size of the pot, so when you get a new one it goes into a smaller pot (inside one of your nice pots).

You are on the learning curve. It gets better from here. ;-)


    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 2:07AM
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