Slow Growing Hosta

franknjimApril 28, 2012

What are your experiences with slow growing hosta?

We all know about Great Expectations. I had one that barely grew for a very long time but it was gorgeous until I moved it to plant a tree. It didn't like where I moved it to even though it still received the same amount of sun. About 5 hours of direct afternoon sun. It stayed too wet where I put it so it withered away.

I am thinking about trying it again but without waiting a decade or two for a decent sized clump. I am thinking about buying about 4 of the biggest ones that I can find and planting them together.

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I think you are answering your own question - if it didn't grow in spot a and died in spot b; and.... the only way to get a decent looking one is to buy 4 to plant together and hope they survive......Plant A Different Hosta That Grows Well. Though, it is easier to give advise than take it - I planted a second multi-eyed GE last year in morning sun.


    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 10:41AM
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I consider the moving of the old GE as a learning experience. GE doesn't like wet. I have a new spot in mind that doesn't stay as wet but will still get the full afternoon sun.

If GE wasn't so pretty when the centers turn white, I don't think people would keep trying to grow it. ahem... lol

As for the spot that stays wet, I have to raise the area and add some sand to the soil. I won't plant any expensive hosta in that spot until I can get some cheap ones to grow there first.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 10:56AM
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donrawson(Z 5)

Well, give it a try! Great Expectations requires bright morning sun and an ample amount of moisture in order to survive....and no root competition...

Another option is to try a different, but similar, cultivar that is reported to grow better...perhaps Dream Queen, Dream Weaver, or Thunderbolt. J.D.'s Luck, another GE sport, is also reported to be a better grower, and there's a new sport called Beach Boy.

There also are a couple which look somewhat similar to GE, but which are better growers. I'm thinking of Simply Sharon, Temptation, and Hudson Bay.

So, what I'm saying is there's a lot to choose don't have to go with GE if you shop around a little for these newer varieties.

Here's a link which may be helpful: GardenWeb posting about hosta Beach Boy

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 10:58AM
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jan_on zone 5b

I planted 'Great Expectations' in 2004 when I knew nothing about hostas and had "no expectations" of how it would grow! These many years later it still has 4 eyes, but they are huge and healthy and every year it proves to be a beautiful plant. I suppose now that I know it should GROW I will be disappointed!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 12:21PM
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Gesila(MI Z5)

Frank, pot one up and stick it by the trunk of one of your trees where it will gets some sun.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 12:26PM
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My old GE did great with 5 hours of afternoon sun. I have Dream Queen and Thunderbolt. DQ looks nice but is only two eyes while the other has barely produced a second very small shoot on his third year. The first year having it come up, it sent up a scape before producing any leaves. I cut it off which forced the leaves. I just bought Temptation this year and three TCs of Hudson Bay last year.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 1:11PM
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leafwatcher(zone 5)

The Great X I have are mostly along the house, just barely under the eaves, One is even in a rock garden with the infamous anti weed mat under the rock.

Most of our garden areas have been poorly thought out and luck when I look back at it..

The Great X would be getting less rain than if they were out in the open. I do have one in the far back yard tucked up close under lilac shrubs, back there it gets VERY wet when it rains hard, it makes a small river when it storms, also the neighbors sump pump drains back to that general area.

I would sure like to get some consistent warmer temps to see what they are going to become this year.. So many of the Hosta just seem confused.. A few of them have been sticking out like a straw for 2-3 weeks, who knows if they will EVER unfold their leaves? :)

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 1:50PM
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hosta_freak(z6 NC)

My second GE is planted in a place where it gets morning sun until noon,then goes into dappled shade for the rest of the day. I think this is its optimum location,even though it is still slow-growing. I planted my Dream Queen not too far from it,but in a little more shade,and it grows very well there.So,even though both of them are slow-growing,they both seem to like where they are. Another slow growing one I have is Golden Meadows. Still only one eye,after a couple years,but it is beautiful this year. Sum of All is another slow grower,at least in my garden. Phil

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 7:38PM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

This is from a display garden. But you know it can be done.

I agree with Don. Morning sun. Lot's of water. And get it away from those Maple roots.


    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 9:10PM
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This is an old GE, I have a few, but the voles ate the bottom of my best one last winter, so now I have a tone of little ones, eeeerrrrrr! I HATE voles.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 12:24PM
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bernd ny zone5

I have 2 GE, one is in morning sun and has 6 eyes, looks normal.
The other GE has 5 eyes, sits on a little berm, gets regular water from the vegetable garden, gets more sun and behaves funky. Last year's second flush of leaves were streaked. The 5 eyes are spaced this year as if the center eyes died out, so I am curious to see the leaves this year.
Last fall's funky GE :


    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 12:55PM
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irawon(5a Ottawa)

I planted my GE under evergreens BEFORE I knew any better. This was in 2007. As well as the deeper roots, these evergreens have very shallow feeder roots. I knew GE was a slow grower but thought I was up to the challenge at the time. How naive, can you get??? GE gets morning sun (which I had read it likes) for about two hours and ample water. It hasn't grown much but then it hasn't dwindled either. It hasn't emerged yet this year. I had been thinking of digging it up and removing any tree roots from the clump, amending the soil with compost and alfalfa pellets/bone meal at the bottom of the hole to give it a boost before the tree roots start invading again. NOW, after reading all of the comments above, I think I will just leave GE undisturbed and fertilize with Miracle Gro several times this summer.

BTW, something that has worked for me in the past in wet areas is adding a few inches of gravel at the bottom of the planting hole. I also combine the planting hole soil with a product called Turface which absorbs moisture and improves drainage. Turface is expensive, so I use it sparingly.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 1:11PM
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