Fertilizing potted hostas?

coll_123(5)May 6, 2013

I have a fair number of hostas in pots that I think I should probably fertilize this year. I bought some espoma 10-10-10 today but it doesn't have instructions for things in pots. I almost never fertilize aything because I'm always afraid of screwing up and using the wrong thing or too much.

I know many here grow hostas in pots. What do you use and how much- please be specific, if you can. I have pots that are about 1- 5 gallons.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

why do you think so????

are they declining???

what are they potted in.. what kind of media ....

how long have they been potted....

when is the last time you swapped out the media ...

etc... etc ...

to truly understand where you are ... and where you need to go .. it is much more than simply giving you an amount and setting you off to do your thing ....

potting media's biggest function is PROPER WATER MOVEMENT.... and if it is failing.. no amount of fertilizer is going to help ... hence the questions above ....

from there.. once the question and the facts are defined.. i will leave it to the wizards of smart who have perfected the potting world ...

good luck

and welcome to the hosta forum ...


    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 3:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ken, some are in plastic nursery pots and some are in spinout bags. The planting media is basically fine bark and some perlite. I think the ones in the bags I added compost to when I planted them. I do repot the ones in the plastic nursery pots when I see the roots peeking out if the bottom holes. The ones in the bags are in there permanently- it's very hard to get them out of those bags if you want to.

They have been in the pots/bags anywhere from one to four years now, and I guess I thought I should fertilize them because you always hear that stuff in pots needs to be fed because they don't get the same nutrients that you get in the soil. They are just coming up now so it's too soon for me to tell if the oldest potted ones are languishing from lack of nutrients, but I just thought it might be a good idea to help them look their best this year.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 3:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Alfalfa pellets! That's all I use (in the ground hosta or pots) but make sure not to put the stuff too close to the petioles!! I even mistakenly got the big alfalfa horse cubes, so just I spun them out in my blender and made alfalfa powder to use! Worked great!

I get my HUGE bags of the stuff from Tractor Supply in our area. I get the purest form of it I can!

It's a really cheap way to go in terms of fertilizing!

Glad to see another pot (and bag) fan--uh, well, these days if this weren't a *hosta* plant forum *pot* could mean something else, but we all know what I mean, right? Yikes!!!

No addictions here that alter my consciousness, other than the swoon I get looking at my hosta!!

All I know about hosta I learned through the years coming and going from this forum, gleaning from others what they have also learned from someone else, along their ways. It works out well that way--don't you think! :o)


    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 6:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bkay2000(8a TX)


I use different things at different times, and I'm not very good about consistency. I used Osmokote this spring. I used whatever it said on the bottle for the size pot I have. The problem with that (for me, not necessarily you, in your zone) is that it releases all it's fertilizer when the temps reach 90 degrees. That works for me, as I used it a month or so ago and it will hit 90 about June 1, so it has time to release most of it before it gets hot. (By the way, Chris said to keep it back from the stems.)

After that, I use one of the water soluble fertilizers like Miracle Grow in one of their hose end dispensers at the rate it says on the carton. I use the 10-10-10 (or any equal number) variety.

Welcome back to the forum.


    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 6:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

osmacote comes in a variety of durations ....

in z5 .. be sure whatever you use ... is used 'up' .. by sept first ...

you want the plants winding down for fall ... not trippin on uppers ...

i learned this when i somehow ended up with the 9 month formula ... come the following spring ... i had lumps of gelatinous goo.. that did not harden off properly.. and rotted ....

live and learn ...

i like your basic 10 cubed ... cant go wrong with that ... presuming you dont put two handfuls in each pot ....

but 4 years is a very long time.. your bark fins can not still be bark fines ....

and your bags.. are they in the ground ????

i am getting confused.. lol ...


    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 6:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have used osmocote but psychologically, I have a problem with those little pellets..how do I kNOW they are releasing anything? I know it's in my head but I wanted to use something granular that I know is soaking in and I was going to try miracle grow foliar once after the second flush of leaves starts.

I am also very inconsistent with my methods. Last year I did the alfalfa tea but only got around to about a third of them.

I looked at another brand of 10-10-10 fertilizer and it said one cup per gallon of soil in potted plants- that really seemed like a lot to me, but I am clueless.

Ken, yeah, the bags are in the ground. Several years ago I had a problem with voles and I ended up putting a lot of the newer hostas in sunken pots or spinout bags. I don't know what that means for those guys long term. Kind of in denial about that. So far things look ok but don't know for how long that will be the case.

Bk, thanks for the welcome back. I don't do much on the boards in the off season so it's good to be back now that spring is finally here. Or it sort of is...we are getting off to a very slow start.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 7:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It's great to have returning voices on the forum, so welcome all.

I'm another potting fan down south here, and I have yet to work out a regular fertilizing program. I mean, I just started last year, and I tended to size the container to the root systems. No way could I see putting some of those huge root balls in a gallon or less pot! So they have plenty of food for at least a year, I think.

Since the Osmocote dumps its goodies when the temp is about 90, as BKay says, that is good to June 1 perhaps. I also use the water soluble MiracleGro blue stuff. I mix it by the gallon milk jug, and use it when there has been no rain. I try to avoid spraying the leaves since foliar nematodes are a problem much earlier in the year than in other parts of the country. No waiting until August here, they arrive about June.
That's why I use crab shells in the pots, it deters nematodes I think.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 1:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have searched all over the internet trying to find exactly how much 10-10-10 fertilizer to give individual hostas and can't find a thing. It could be a teaspoon or a cup. So I probably am no going to anything, again.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 4:24PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Hi, guys!
I’ve been reading the hosta forum for a couple of...
Hd are you kidding?
I just got an email from Home Depot pushing hosta plants...
Jon 6a SE MA
Is this normal for Guacamole?
This is a closeup photo of my Guacamole last year....
newhostalady Z6 ON, Canada
Last year I got all excited over finding some Hosta...
Pieter zone 7/8 B.C.
What have we ordered?
So far I have gotten a few new ones. What have you...
ilovetogrow z9 Jax Florida
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™