Getting off to slow start here and nervous

coll_123(5)May 18, 2014

Like many, we had a long, cold winter (in Maine). I lost just about everything in a pot, which is no great surprise, considering that I did squat to protect them. Bad. The handful of potted survivors could all be renamed H. Shrinky Dink because they are severely miniaturized versions of their former selves. Bad, bad. I guess it was nature's way of telling me I was really and truly out of room in the garden.

So then everything else in the garden seems fine...I think. I just feel like things are way behind schedule and just creeping slowly along, despite the nice weather. Some are starting to unfurl, but most are just eyes. I find myself walking around obsessing that the leaves of the unfurled ones are smaller than last year, or that the plant doesn't seem as tall as it should be. I find myself trying to scrounge up early pics from last year to compare....futile, and I'm driving myself crazy fretting. Someone tell me it will all be ok. Anyone else feel like they are getting a really slow start?

Also, for the shrinky dinks, what would you do to start nursing those back to health. Is fertilizer a no no because they are stressed?

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josephines123 z5 ON Canada

Hi there, Coll!

First, I am sorry you lost a lot of your potted hosta. (At last count I lost 13 different potted cultivars.)

The winter was really harsh and that could account for the slooooow progression. Also, isn't most of your garden relatively sheltered by large trees? Wouldn't that shade slow the growth rate at the beginning?

Do you leave the hypertufas in place all winter? If yes, how does the cold affect the potted hosta within? Is it slower to heat up in the spring? So many questions, do forgive me.

As far as the remaining potted shrinky dinks are concerned, if it was me I would bring them all into full sunlight for awhile to invigorate them.

I have not yet started fertilizing but slated to start in a week...although at least a third of the hundred or so are in leaf already and could be fertilized. I want to start all at the same time...easier to remember if all get treated the same!:-)

I will leave the direct fertilizer question to the experts of the potted hosta!

Do take heart, Coll. You know the rest of your beauties will be okay, so try not to worry. I say that knowing that I too, worried and checked each day, waiting for certain ones to appear...I still do check every day for added growth, progression in general because that is what I do, but I have to remind myself that the losses are nothing compared to what I actually have left to enjoy! :-)


    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 3:55PM
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ilovetogrow z9 Jax Florida

Un pot, check roots, down size pot if necessary, give dose of MG to help get a boost, keep in shade back 40, . See if the plant will respond in a pot if it does place in garden. If not toss and enjoy saving time not having to dig a hole. A lot of mine were slow this year but they are catching up.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 3:57PM
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Thanks - I guess I'm feeling guilty about causing the demise of those potted ones through my end of season laziness, and wondering if I also underwatered the in ground ones last year and caused a problem for them now too. I'm particularly concerned about Liberty and Thunderbolt, which are two of my biggest. I expected them to be monsters this year because of the eye increases, but the leaves just seem smaller than normal to me, even though the eyes are big and fat. Unless I'm expecting too much, too soon, I don't know....I just remember dinner plate sized leaves last year.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 4:50PM
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bkay2000(8a TX)

Coll, everything was odd this year. I lost a bunch of mine (all mine are potted). Several of mine are "shrinky dinks", too. Then others have bigger leaves than they've ever had. The ones in pots sitting on the ground did very well, except for some cold damage.

For me, it was the oddest hosta year I've had, but I've only had about 5 hosta years.


    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 5:50PM
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tepelus(6a SW MI)

Most of mine in the ground have done well, even increased in size while a few seemed to have shrunk. Most are unfurling yet and not quite all stretched out. As for my potted hostas, I have a few that are leafing out, some that are pips just sitting there, and others that are still a no show that I'm sure are dead, including my nice Praying Hands. Even the Golden Creeping Jenny in that pot isn't waking up. Ice settled on the top of that pot and I just knew it was a goner. I have yet to dump the pot because I don't want to see the rotted body. lol.


    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 6:28PM
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I have just a very few unfurled - Remember Me, Autumn Frost, Blue Ivory and June. A few more starting to unfurl and the rest are just pips. Given that there was a touch of frost last night, pips is good place to be for a few more days.

The numbers of eyes appears normal or slightly increased and the pips are very fat - it does not seem the winter did any harm but then, mine are all in the ground.

Hang in there patiently. Am sure that your in ground plants will be fine even if you lost some of your potted "babies".


    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 7:02PM
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One thing that did occur to me is that despite the hellacious winter, it has been a very dry spring...I can remember in early Springs of the past, being out there in my raincoat. So my plan is to water a lot ( the in ground ones like Liberty and Thunderbolt, and see if that helps things.

The other odd thing is that a few potted ones that sat above ground all year didn't miss a beat- small blue ones like Gemstone. That one has earned my respect!

The one good thing about this winter is that because things stayed asleep, i never had to run out there with the sheets and pots...I am the only one in the neighborhood that does that and it always makes me feel like a crazy lady, lol.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 7:14PM
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Coll, I would do whatever makes you feel the best regarding your hosta.

For myself, I see it this way, about you obsessing over the smaller leaf sizes. It might be real, it might be perception. What I wish to point out is, the hostas are due a shorter growing season, and leaf size is not important. What IS important is they put on ROOT SIZE for the winter. I bet they will set LOTS of pods this year too. It might be a matter of the ole survival instinct kicking in. Remember that hosta are survivors. They have multiple tricks up the petiole too.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 10:11PM
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