What I Was Told About Great Expectations

leaflover76(5b)June 14, 2013

Recently I visited my favorite hosta grower - Chris Potze Perennials in Waterford, Ontario. He has 2 spectacular Great Expectations. I told him that I have tried 3 times to grow that plant and each time they have died. I told him that I have heard many same stories from the hosta forum peeps too. I asked him why does he have 2 beauties? His response was that Great Expectations cannot be grown from tissue culture. The 2 mature ones he has growing in his gardens are from divisions. He purchased an order of TC Great Expectations to sell and they died on him too. So he does not recommend buying GE unless you can acquire a division. I thought I would share his insight with all those that have the GE frustrations.

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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

That's certainly possible. In many cases TC does not come out exactly right and the resulting plants are inferior to the original. However, in the case of GE that doesn't ring completely true. There are any number of people on this forum who have well grown GE plants that are not Originator Stock. The key may be to get a plant that has more of the blue in the margins. The OS may already have that, but some of the TCs do as well.


    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 8:48AM
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Both of mine (doing well) were purchased my first year of gardening here. So I'm certain that they'd have come from TC's.... as the nursery from which they came does not grow from divisions.

So, while the theory seems plausible. I would have to say that it's not an absolute.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 8:59AM
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I took what Dhaven,who used to post on here said to heart. Plant GE shallowly,and give it more sun. Mine is in that place now,but it is my second one. My first one was planted in too dry a place,and too deeply planted. My current one is growing well,but GE seems to be one of those plants that doesn't like to be moved,once planted. Unlike Gold Standard,whch you could throw on the driveway,and it would still grow. Phil

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 9:30AM
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I can testify about them not liking being moved.. I moved a nice one, once, and It sure enough protested by becoming very dead very shortly. I have two new ones now, one I planted last fall, and a smaller one that I planted this spring, both of which are doing fine so far. Not going to move them again. I am sure they are both tissue cultures.


    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 10:05AM
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idiothe(4 MN)

Great Expectations suffered from early over-popularity. It does have the most amazing individual leaves, often with 4 distinct colors and some overlays.

So back in the day, when it was first being marketed, a major magazine - I think it was Better Homes and Gardens - put it on a cover and called it something like the most beautiful hosta ever.

Hosta folks already knew about GE, but this made it a shopping goal for general gardeners, some of whom would have previously given that little lip-twitch and said "I don't really DOOO hostas..."

The wholesalers didn't have enough plants for the demand, so the next spring a gazillion of rushed tcs came into the market. Some of them were fine, some were really weak. Lots of people lost young plants and swore it was a hard plant to grow.

To be honest, most hostas with a lot of light center will require some extra care. They just don't have a lot of chlorophyll. Add in that this is a plant of sieboldianna heritage - a species know for slow growth.

So I think the comment was half-true. Some GE tcs were very weak and didn't thrive. Others were OK, if not spectacular growers - and vulnerable to being sold too young.

My best GE right now is a tc plant. It is officially 'Great American Expectations' - a Shady Oaks registration for what they believed was an improved strain of GE. Those tcs grew just fine for me... but so did one previous batch of regular GE tcs. On the other hand, I lost all of a previous dozen GE tcs and Shady Oaks refunded them because they knew they'd had a bad "run."

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 12:10PM
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This is my GE (1 of 2) I purchased from Walmart and planted just less than a year ago now. I had read so many bad stories about it after I had planted it that I became really nervous about whither it would come up this year. Both did come up but I also know that some say that there's have come up two years and disappeared the third. All I can say is I have my fingers crossed.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 12:56PM
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So far so good.......................this plant started out very small about 12 years ago and was moved about 3 years ago without problem!

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 2:05PM
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idiothe(4 MN)

wow, woodnative... that is one well-grown GE!

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 2:38PM
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newhostalady Z6 ON, Canada

My original GE was purchased about 9 years ago. I divided in half a couple of years ago and that was a success. So half of the division is doing great. The other half didn't fare so well. I separated the five eyes last year and potted them up. Three died and two have survived. Here is a picture of a leaf of the "great" half with a tiny potted plant beside it. The tiny plant is one of the one eyed divisions that has survived. You can see how small it is! So it has a l-o-n-g way to go!

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 2:41PM
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I got lucky on all of my TC starters except one was not what I expected... However, I count myself as lucky because it came out BETTER than I could have hoped for and more stunning. But, I am not sure I will ever order another TC starter again. Too risky. I'll take a more advanced starter or mature division, thank you!

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 7:16PM
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idiothe(4 MN)

Went out this evening for a few photos... this is a H. 'Great American Expectations' from Shady Oaks tc a few years back...

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 12:39AM
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