Took A Chance On Great Expectations

harryshoe zone6 eastern PennsylvaniaMay 3, 2014

Yes, it was impulse. Five big eyes about to unfurl. It looked so healthy in a 6" pot.

I knew I should have learned a lesson as my Dream Weaver has declined to the point it is back into a pot.

Has anyone had success with Great Expectations? What conditions lead to success?

Thanks

Harry

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bkay2000

I think Bernd has had some good luck. If he doesn't chime in, ask him directly. He refers to a post from a former forum participant, who says something about planting it really high.

Since I'm in zone 8, I would not even be tempted.

bk

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 12:34PM
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Gesila(MI Z5)

Planted ours in 2010. I noticed in the spring of 2011 it was planted too deep, so I dug it up and replanted it. Ours gets sun after 4:00 pm until the sun sets.

Gesila

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 1:34PM
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paul_in_mn(4b)

Planted 1 in '08 in quite a bit of shade and it has languished - leaves are bigger but no additional eyes. Planted another in '11 in a bright spot which gets watered a fair amount and it has looked happy and done much better.

Paul

And with leaves like this, you have to give it a try.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 1:39PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

yeah.. good luck with that ...

but unlike many of us.. you are going into it.. eyes wide open ...

first.. move to MN or WI ... lol ...

this is where i learned.. that white tissue is a TOTAL drain on a plant ...

the big white center.. means all photosynthesis come from the green edges... so the thing needs A LOT OF LIGHT ... all but in the high heat of the day ...

because i also learned with this plant.. that hosta transpire.. sweat ... which means they lose water.. that needs to be replaced ... so you have to try to drown it ... and that is where i think the cool nights of MN/WI really help.. a period to recover.. after the onslaught of the day ...

but if you dont provide the water.. then the white center will melt out.. or brown.. as it is losing more water than it can process.. given its siting ...

and yes ... if you failed on the greener version ... DW ... then you have really set yourself up for a challenge ... as i said.. good luck with that ...

soooo... you have your variables... and the plant.. go for it ...

perhaps.... potting it.. will allow you to 'find' the perfect spot .... and if you do.. talk to us in fall.. on how to store it...

your mission, jim .. should you accept it is.. to do better than i did in killing about 8 of them ... POS ... lol

ken

Here is a link that might be useful: when tv was king .. lol... i was listenting while typing... this hosta will self destruct in 5 seconds...

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 1:40PM
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harryshoe zone6 eastern Pennsylvania

I was just looking at the first leaf to unfurl. I'd say 66% gold. Absolutely beautiful, but not a lot of green. No other hosta I've seen opens so light.

My Dream Weaver was in deep shade. That pot is going into a spot with full morning sun.

I have a spot for GE that gets full sun until 1:00. Mottled shade in the afternoon.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 3:18PM
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josephines123 z5 ON Canada

Since Ken has so nicely provided you with the tools/information on how and why, I would like to add a few comments about my success in growing it in zone 5, Ontario. I would also like to say Bravo! to you for following your impulse. There is a reason people keep buying it over and over and over again - it is drop-dead gorgeous, as shown in these pics!

My experience with GE has been a positive one. I've always had it planted in the ground. It is exposed to sun from sun-up to about 2:00. It is not planted any deeper or shallower than the rest. I tend to plant only my smalls and minis slightly higher. It goes dormant, gets lots of snow cover during the winter and reappears in the spring.

My GE has less of a green margin than those pictured above. It loves it where it's growing. It has thick leaves and does not melt out. The centre turns a beautiful ivory white exposed to all that sun. It has never displayed any of the "brown" referred to by Ken in my garden. I make sure it gets water when it needs it but I don't have to baby it. It grows true to its nature - it is a slow-grower, as are many other hosta but GE keeps getting a bad rap over it. It is what it is.

My three year old (this year) has been moved a few times so it's not that big understandably. It doesn't like to be moved but it doesn't decline either. My older one was given away years ago to a good friend and I didn't have the heart to take a division from it. Three years ago I bought myself another.

The best advice I can give you is this. Buy 3 of them, plant them together Bkay style, and voila! You've got yourself a gorgeous, and big/full Great Expectations to enjoy from here on in. I'm adding another one this year too, or two more. A certain nursery in my city always has GE in their hosta line-up.

And last but not least, I feel that if we all chose not to buy a particular hosta due to the "other than favourable " comments, we would lose out on a great experience - our own experience...which may turn out to be a positive one, like mine, for one. I enjoy the challenge of successfully growing a hosta with a reputation for being difficult - just because someone has difficulty growing it doesn't necessarily mean I will. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. :-)

Generally speaking, those of us in colder climates have less difficulty growing any hostas. We have a longer dormancy period, a wonderful winter insulator called snow, a sun less intense, but we do have a shorter growing season. There's always a trade-off. :-)

Here's a pic of my GE early last season.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 5:31PM
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ravensfan52(6)

Here is my GE fom 2 years ago ( bottom left in pic, other one on right is Time Tunnel with Lady Isobel Barnett in the back). It gets morning sun and it sited in a bed that is close up by the house and protected. I mulch well to keep moisture in and never moved it since it was planted in 2006. It is beautiful!

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 8:45PM
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beverlymnz4

Don't move to MN (unless southern MN - zone 5) Great Expectaions in the north is just that. Our growing season not quite long enough. It's a beautiful hosta that needs the right spot as you have read in the posts above. I wonder if your zone 6 wouldn't be perfect (morning sun, afternoon shade, evenly moist soil...). Good luck

Beverly

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 8:52PM
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hostahosta

I have 3 GE grouped together. This will be 4th season. The pic is from last year. They are just beginning to unfurl now. They haven't increased eyes since last year, but they look larger. Maybe they will have more and larger leaves this year (she said hopefully). I've moved mine around, together, apart, back together, more/less sun. Now I'm trying to just let them be! They now get morning sun, afternoon shade. I do love it.

raven and gesila: Your GEs are beautiful!

harryshoe: good luck with yours.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 7:59AM
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ravensfan52(6)

I also bought two small Dream Queens so I could have a similar look to GE sprinkled into 2 other beds but with less fuss. I am keeping my new hosta purchases to only ones I don't already have. Hopefully the DQs have a strong growth rate. They will also be getting morning sun.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 8:07AM
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newhostalady Z6 ON, Canada

Harry, GE is a hosta that you just have to try at least a few times IMO. I, like Josephine, am in Ontario.

In 2011, I potted half my neglected GE in a pot (4 eyes). I put it in moisture control potting mix (a no-no which I didn't know at the time). I added nothing else to the soil. I put it in more sun (about 3-4 hours). It knocked my socks off! It's the one I look forward to seeing most out of all my hosta!

Here is a photo from last year.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 9:14AM
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harryshoe zone6 eastern Pennsylvania

Thanks for the "encouragement".

Ok. The pictures you have attached make me feel that a special effort is worth the trouble.

Great Expections has to be one of the most beautiful hosta in cultivation.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 10:27AM
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newhostalady Z6 ON, Canada

One other thing I didn't mention---is that GE comes up looking fantastic and is a beauty throughout the WHOLE season. I know that all hostas look great in spring, but not all hostas retain their beauty throughout the growing season---beginning to end. And then there is the fall coloration. Just lovely.

Harry, I know you didn't need anymore encouragement, but just had to add the above.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 11:14AM
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thisismelissa(z4a-S Twin Cities MN)

I have 2 GEs. They're in a great deal of morning sun and get very good water from our irrigation system.

They both are quite happy with their spots, so I dare not move them! This one is between 2 trees, one of which is a silver maple.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 12:31PM
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bragu_DSM 5

I have had GE in 5 or six spots in the garden. Usually because it was going backwards... trying to find a more suitable spot.

I am anxious to see what happens this year, as stuff is really late to emerge since the ground is still quite cold. soil temps in the upper 40s at last report, from extension service and the grain farmers.

Will report back when I have eyes.

*not holding his breath*

Dave

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 1:17PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

Newhostalady- Please may I copy that photo and print it out and mount in on cardboard to put in a pot??? After all these years, methinks that might be the only way I get to see a nice full GE every day.

-Babka

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 1:27PM
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don_in_colorado

Ha ha ha ha ha ha Babka!!!

Don B.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 1:47PM
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newhostalady Z6 ON, Canada

You make me laugh Babka! You are funny!

You can do what you like with my photo!

I wish for you to be successful with your own GE one day.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 6:04PM
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smithstudios71(5)

Although this will be only my second year in really growing hostas, I have a few GE that get sun from about 11 to 2. They are just starting to come up and it looks like they are going to take off this year. These were 3 plants with a single eye each last year.

I also have another that gets afternoon sun. It is just starting to pip.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 10:04PM
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bernd ny zone5(5)

Here is that great advice from Forum member dhaven given in 2011 :

"dhaven
Some varieties are very picky about growing conditions, and unless they are planted in optimum conditions, they will either remain small, or fade away and die. The best example of this I know of is Great Expectations, which also happens to be my favorite hosta. A great many people have lost this one, sometimes more than once. I have three very large mature plants, and they are the prettiest thing in the garden. It took some experimentation, but there are three things that GE absolutely must have to thrive. First, and most importantly, plant it shallowly. It's going to be a very large plant, so the natural inclination is to plant it deeply, but this will kill it faster than anything else. Plant it so shallowly you are convinced that it will tip over, and you've got it right. Secondly, it likes a lot of light. Dappled shade is ideal, but it will take several hours of direct sun, either morning or afternoon. Third, it likes a lot of water. If you give a GE all three of these things, you will increase your chances of growing it into an absolutely stunning plant.
If you want to try any of the hostas that have the reputation of being difficult, be prepared to try different locations and growing methods, and possibly go through several plants before you discover what works for that variety in your location. When you do find out what works, please share the information with the rest of us!"
Bernd

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 3:40PM
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hosta_freak(z6 NC)

I'm on my second one,(my first was planted in a too dry,too shady place). My second one is planted where it gets morning sun,then dappled shade the rest of the day. It likes it there just fine. GE doesn't like being moved,but when it finds the right spot,it flourishes. Phil

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 4:15PM
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