Exposed hosta pips

kalija(6 WNY)April 7, 2014

Hello! I haven't been here in a while; it has been a long cold winter! Now that the snow has finally melted off my hosta garden (we had 12 inches of new snow just last Saturday) I am finding that some of the hostas I planted last year have pips that are higher than the soil. The pips are hairy - I am not sure if those are roots? And some do have roots that are barely below the surface.
The garden was put in new last year, so I guess the soil has sunken a little? My question is; should I dig up the plants that are too high and plant them lower; or would it be better to leave them undisturbed and put a layer of new soil over them? The area is just starting to thaw out now; it is the north side of the house and isn't getting much direct sun right now. Temps overnight are still in the 30's here so I still have some time to move them while they are dormant if that is what I need to do, but I want to make sure I am doing the right thing.
Thanks in advance for any help....


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Hey Karen. where about are you in WNY Z6? That's where I am, in Buffalo. My yard isn't anywhere near doing anything with. Hosta's in the ground still covered with leaf mulch and nothing showing above ground.
Do you by any chance belong to the WNY Hosta Society? Putting in a whole new bed this year and redoing some of the other beds around the perimeter of the yard. Have about 30 pots of babies in the garage to be planted this yr. This a great forum and you will get lots of good advice. They are a very friendly bunch and are always ready to help anyone out.
Welcome to the forum!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 11:00AM
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Hi Karen. I'm in WNY Z6 too. I'm in Buffalo. Glad you're seeing some pips in your yard. None coming up in mine. Still covered with leaf mulch and pretty wet. Putting in a new bed this yr. and redoing some of the others. This a great forum and you will get plenty of good advice. Everyone is very experienced in growing Hosta's and a very friendly and funny bunch. Welcome to the forum.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 11:10AM
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bkay2000(8a TX)

Welcome back, Kalija.

Sorry, I'm too far removed from you to be any help. Someone from the great frozen north will chime in with good info, though.


    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 11:15AM
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hosta_freak(z6 NC)

If you see what you say is hairy,that is the top of the crown of the hosta. All you have to do is put a little more soil around them,but do not bury the crowns,just cover the exposed roots,and it will be OK. I occasionally have hosta that rise up above the soil,and mine have always made it. Phil

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 12:48PM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b


The hairy stuff is remnants from last year's petioles. The pips you are seeing are covered by a cataphyl which is protective material around the pip. If you begin to see those pips elongate and become more green then you can cover them with a frost blanket or a pot or whatever you have to protect them from frost. If you see exposed roots then you can cover them with a bit of soil or mulch, but there is no need to dig up Hosta at this point, unless you want to move them.

When in doubt, leave them alone. More Hosta are killed by too much "love" than by neglect.


    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 4:50PM
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bernd ny zone5

When you cover up an exposed hosta which is doing well with too much, you could invite a fungus. That happened last year with one of my large H.'Blue Umbrellas'. I could always see the crown over winter, and then I put extra mulch around them which might have created damage due to standing water.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 6:31PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

we need a pic ...

but i dont understand... they have been there all winter long.. they look fine.. and so... what??? ... you want to mess with them.... whats wrong with that???

crowns are supposed to be exposed on the soil.. and the pips on top of that ...

and since you make no mention of the roots below exposed ...

then i simply dont know why you would mess with them..

frankly.. it sounds like they are properly planted.. rather than too deep ...

pic please


    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 6:36PM
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kalija(6 WNY)

Thank you all! So it sounds like they are ok. I don't think the roots themselves are exposed, just very close to the surface - I will double check to make sure. Its dark out there now! I was just woried to see them exposed like that. Some areas are still frozen. Ken, I don't have a pic right now - I will have to take a one later. Thank you!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 6:06AM
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