My hostas are here and I've never done this

MarinewifencApril 15, 2013

My bargain hostas arrived today, I am in zone 8 and the hostas that I have already leafed out.

These bareroot hostas look the way mine did 6 weeks ago. I've never done this.

Do I just plant them how they are?
Do I water them even though they are obviously dormant?
Can I trim the roots? some have 12 inch or more roots.

Some of them I don't see eyes, or if I do they are tiny but they have a chunk of the [crown?].

My weather is day time high 70s, about to be 80s, and lows in the 60s.

How long can these stay out of the ground/ out of pot?
Do I need to soak them or anything?

Instinct tells me to trim a bit of root, plant them, water once and wait for more prominent eyes. But I don't want to mass kill the lot of them by being wrong.

This order was from gilbert h wild, so anyone who has ordered the bulk hostas from here probably knows what I am looking at.

I can take a photo if needed.

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Don't trim the roots!
Soak the roots overnight in water. Don't let the crown sit below water.

Plant them as they are with the crown at, or just below ground level, and water. Water as if it were a typical spring (to the hostas).

They should pop up pretty quickly.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 6:53PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

hosta store energy .... in july.. to emerge in spring.. IN THE ROOT SYSTEM...

they are NOT trees.. do not trim the roots.. DIG A DEEPER/wider HOLE..

as i said in your other post.. dig hole.. insert roots.. refill hole.. water..

no need to panic.. just do it...

they can be held.. for up to a week.. in a tub of water with about 1/2 an inch of water.. and wet rags/newsprint on top .. to keep the roots moist..

but the roots need air.. so dont stick them in water for a week ...

at worst.. dig a 6 by 6 foot space.. perhaps the veggie garden?? ... and stick them all in.. and HOLD THEM OVER ..... as you work your way thru the batch ...

no such thing as panic... JUST DO IT ... [perhaps the marine hosta motto ...]


ps: wish someone had a post about 'moving a fully leafed out hosta' ..... probably could get a bunch of planting tips in something like that.. if only ....

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 7:01PM
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No no no do not trim those roots. The bigger they are the better. You'll probably have some very large tops and they need those roots to support them.

Are these going in the ground? In ground or in pots, more than likely you'll notice that the part which was beneath the soil line will be pale and you cover that up. You do not want the crown below the soil, it could lead to rot. It won't take long for the bare root dormant hosta to catch up with your existing hosta. If you see that some are too far in the soil, others have roots exposed, then correct it.

It isn't brain surgery, and your mistakes are easily corrected.
You'll do fine. And so will the hosta. I cannot wait to hear you exclaim over how beautiful everything looks in about two weeks.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 7:07PM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

Follow Melissa instructions. The reason you don't cut the roots is because that is where all the plant's energy is stored. When you plant dig a hole wide enough to be able to spread out those roots. Make a small mound or hill just below the level of the surrounding ground. Place the bottom of the crown on the top of that hill. Everything that is white goes below ground. If most everything is white, then just have the tip of the eye showing above ground. As long as your soil drains well, you can water copiously. Any pictures?


    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 7:10PM
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I'll be the dissenting opinion here on soaking and say that they don't need to be soaked, but I definitely agree, do not trim the roots.

Your hostas just came out of a cooler/cold storage and are not quite ready to grow. In a few days they will start to wake up, but until then they really don't need water. Dormant hostas store what moisture they need and can only hold so much. When they don't have leaves they have absolutely no way to get rid of excess water, but the roots will keep trying to soak it up until cell damage starts to occur, if you soak too long.

If they are shrivelled up and dried out then yes, soak them for a little while (30 minutes to an hour is usually plenty) but if they are plump roots just plant them, water good to let them know it is time to wake up, then wait for them to emerge. If you get regular rains that is enough water in the meantime.

As to the crown depth, hostas grow from underground rhizomes and new root growth emerges from above the old, so the roots should always be underground. If your soil is well aerated (loose and light - not compacted) then ideally the dormant eyes should also never be showing after planting. If it is really hard and compact you should improve the soil, but if you can't, then just plant about a half inch below the surface, so at least the roots are covered with soil. The rot problems people have with plants that are too deep is not really a depth issue but a lack of oxygen issue. Keep your soil well aerated and they will happily grow below ground.

Good luck!


    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 7:22PM
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Below is a link to Ken's tutorial, complete with photos. It shows how he moved an established leafed out hosta from one area to another. As Ken alluded to in the above post, perhaps there are planting tips adaptable to your situation.


ps: Ken, how IS Marion Bachman anyway?

Here is a link that might be useful: moving fully leafed out hosta

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 7:22PM
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I am sorting them out, will pot what will fit in the pots I have. I have 6 inch pots, and two 6 inch deep planter box that are large, but some of these with the long roots I guess won't fit into that.

I am lacking planting instructions, the box arrived caved in looks like i lost a bag of them and if there were planting instructions they also fell out. UPS is not my friend.

thank god i asked about cutting roots, i was watching youtube videos and several of them were cutting roots. I wasn't expecting any to have huge long roots. tomorrow when i plant them i will try to take pics of the ones that have me confused.

I wish i had already learned how to use my 'good' camera so I could take decent pictures.

I do have a large amount of empty shady area to temporarily stick them into if needed.

how big (deep) of a pot would a plant with about 12 inch long roots need?

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 7:28PM
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Marinewife, do not know who you ordered from, but most of the commercial hosta nurseries ship via USPS Priority and the hosta arrive in good shape. Perhaps you can call the nursery and tell them that your package is missing a specific hosta, after you sort it all out.

Lowes is starting to sell some pots that are black plastic but not exactly like the black corrugated nursery pots. The holes are on the sides and not the bottom, which is a great feature. They are not as expensive as the things from WalMart, which hold water in a built-in saucer, and I had to drill holes in those last year. I don't like BLACK pots because they radiate heat into the roots, but holes on the sides is the best way to go with a pot. For your smaller hosta, 6" pots might be fine. It might be what they were lifted from. But I'm not a pro here, so someone else should advise on how you should size your containers. I tend to make them TOO big.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 10:05PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

Marines are very good at digging holes...mine has been doing that for over 40 years. Get your new ones in the ground and enjoy them. You are over-thinking this. They will be easy to move for the first couple years, and you probably won't be living there then anyway.


    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 1:41PM
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bkay2000(8a TX)

Get them in the ground! How can you show us what you have if you don't plant them?


    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 2:22PM
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How did it go? I received a sack of hostas today and just finished planting them. They didn't look so great... all 25 piled up together in a brown bag. Trying to stay optimistic.


    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 5:11PM
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They seem to be doing well. I'm not sure how yours showed up but many of mine I couldn't find eyes on. Most are about ready to unfurl their leaves, a couple have, some are behind a bit. Most shot up a lot more eyes than I saw, 3-5 on a lot, some 7, up to 12. Almost all had huge root systems on them. The ones I didn't see eyes on have several now, with the exception of like 3.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 11:26PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

aw .. come on.. GET A CAMERA ...

and figure out how to post pix



    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 10:32AM
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