I'm a Newbie - Pots?

littlebug5(z5 MO)May 6, 2013

I have been cruising this site and admiring the beautiful hostas some of you have and was interested to see that apparently some of your hostas actually live in pots. I have never seen that done before.

I have grown various hostas over the years, but always in the ground. What do I need to know about growing in pots? What do you do about winter? I assume the hostas need to rest. I am in zone 5.

I was thinking about trying a hosta in a pot on my front porch. My front porch faces east so the pot would get full sun from sunrise till probably 9 a.m.

Could someone give me some recommendations?

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5


welcome .....

if you read thru all 60 pages of posts.. you will find all the answers .. lol .. what??? .. you dont have a month to do that ... thats what you were supposed to be doing all winter ... lol ...

how about this ... to get you started.. we can worry about winter storage in late november .. eh ...

the most important thing that goes in the pots is the MEDIA ... no dirt.. no soil ...

and that is the question that you should have asked.. and i will leave it to the pot peeps to answer ....

after that.. insert hosta.. preferably roots down.. but that might not even matter ...

good luck


    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 3:28PM
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littlebug5(z5 MO)

What do you mean by media? You don't use soil?

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 4:03PM
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Hi littlebug, and welcome to the wild world of hosta lovers! I have tons of hosta in pots! What I use is what I get from Lowe's in the purple bags, of the mulch types, specifically shredded pine bark! Nothing else, usually unless I've uprooted one from the clay, I have, and plopped it in a pot with the pine bark! Go for it--you'll love these plants!! Best when transplanting to wash off a good bit of that clayish soil, or whatever if you can without extraordinary stress on the plant! Clay is a good mineral source for them in small doses in pots, though!

As ken will tell you, these plants aren't terribly fragile and he always recommends slapping them around a bit to show them who's boss!

Send pix when you can!!


    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 4:28PM
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bkay2000(8a TX)

Littlebug, what they mean by media is potting soil. Do not use garden soil. You will figure out what works for you. Babka grows in pine bark mulch, too. I think Steve said he uses Miracle Grow potting soil. Do not, under any circumstances use "moisture control" potting soil, as the pots won't drain well. Hosta like air to their roots and tend to rot without it.

When I first started growing hosta in pots, I also used Miracle Grow and it worked well. I bought some MG moisture control soil and lost a lot of my hosta over the winter. I started making my own mix, and that didn't work out so well, so I'm going back to Miracle Grow.

I grow in pots because our soil is so hard and so alkaline that hosta don't do well here unless you do heroic soil preparation. They also get more winter chill in pots, which won't be a problem for you.

If you choose pots, make sure you come back before winter, as you'll have to store the pots some way to keep them dry during the winter in your zone.

Welcome to the forum.


    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 5:56PM
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I've tried making my own mixes and seemed to work well, then I looked at premier Pro-Mix ingredients (if that's the right term) which had a lot of what I was mixing....so now use 1/2 Promix and 1/2 pine bark mulch (not nuggets). Have used this for a couple of years and been happy with the simpler approach. I think some go even heavier toward the pine bark mulch in the ratio. Mix it up add some water and let set a short while for the peat to wet - otherwise seems to take longer to moisten if start dry in the pot.

For fertilizer I use the Miracle Grow Liquafeed every 2-3 weeks or when I remember and also Plant-tone (granular) once or twice during the summer.


    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 7:17PM
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ilovetogrow z9 Jax Florida

Hi I grow in pots only. I have beach sand here and to many roots to compete with. I get a quality potting soil 40 lbs bags for me and then add 1/2 bag pine fines (big bag) and 1/2 bag peralite (big bag). If you do not see the pine fines in the mix add more. Remember pine fines. purple sack at wallyworld here.

Next your pot. What are the drain holes like? It has to have good ones. And maybe some feet to hold it up because they look cool and help drainage.

Fert for me is Miracle grow liquid fed. Weekly for me just a leaf feed no drenching.

Welcome to pot growing and welcome to the forum. Paula

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 8:28PM
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littlebug5(z5 MO)

Thanks for the info so far, I use Miracle Grow for my other pots when I plant impatiens, petunias, geraniums, etc., so I am quite familiar with it. I will look for pine fines, I guess. I have never heard of that.

I will go to my local nursery, which has a small assortment of hosta, for my first hosta purchase for a pot display. They sell their hosta in some kind of soil in plastic pots which are about 6" or 8" across. Am I supposed to leave the hosta in THAT pot, or put it in a larger one? Is it best to use plastic pots? If I leave it in its original pot, am I supposed to replace the dirt it comes in, with my new Miracle Grow/pine fines?

And I assume I should not plant the hosta directly into my large decorative pot, but rather make sure it's in a not-too-big pot which I would set inside my decorative pot?

In searching this forum, I see that some have planted hostas with other plants in the same pot - I think that's what I will do. Maybe an impatiens, a fern, or something trailing.

How often do I water? Every day? The porch gets about 3 hours of full early-morning sun.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 9:44PM
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Hi little bug. I grow a few hosta in pots and have many other plants in pots as well.

At the nursery, turn the plant over and slide it out of the pot and look at the roots. If there are lots of healthy roots buy it. If the roots are growing out of the pot or around the edges but not root bound, repot one size up. If the roots don't reach the bottom you can leave it in that pot for one year, but you will have to pot up one size next spring.

Happy planting,

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 10:21PM
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Hey there, glad to have you come on board. We have a great time discussing hosta around here, and always welcome new voices.

I grow almost exclusively in containers too. But I'm of little help to you, since my zone is 9a down in south Alabama. Bet one thing, that new hosta will grow so beautiful for you, you'll be looking for the second and the third one before long. Make sure you know what size a mature hosta will be so it won't disappoint or surprise you either way. If you stick with this group, you'll be a "hostaholic" before fall gets here! :)

Another forum frequenter from Colorado is setting up his front porch pots at this time, and also putting a few on his back deck or patio. Your porch with the morning sun sounds perfect for just about any hosta you might choose.

Note: if you have a cell phone with a camera and such, you can snap a picture and upload it almost instantly to an account with Flickr, Picasa, or PHotobucket, (all free accounts unless you upgrade) and from there easy to copy the code to put in a post on the forum. OR, Gardenweb allows you to upload one photo from your computer per post directly here while you are typing a comment. That's what the BROWSE button at the top of the typing space is all about.

See you around. Have fun.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 10:51PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i like where this conversation is and has gone ....

next topic .... your decorative pots ...

some can winter over .. some will break ... it has to do with the pots moisture retention and ceramic glaze .... and how that all works in MO ....

the easiest way to understand this concept.. is to compare an adobe clay pot.. which soaks up water itself.. and a glazed ceramic pot.. which does not soak up water..

when freeze comes.. the wet pots.. MIGHT crack with the expansion of the water in the cells ...

for the pots that are precious ... you would grow the plants.. pot-in pot .... remove the hosta for winter ... empty the pot ... and store it separately ...

also ... on some level ... hosta like to be pot-bound .... and will grow much more vigorously ... if you keep up-potting them.. until they get large .... again.. the pot-in-pot system aids with this ...

you can not put a smallish young hosta .. no matter what its potential is ... into a huge pot.. and hope for the best ... it has something to do with it wanting to fill the pot with roots.. before it will work on the part you see ....

have you found the hosta library ????

bring her up to warp speed.. mr .. or ... mrs sulu ... lol ...


    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 7:18AM
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