More eyes or larger eyes?

Ruth_MI(z5MI)June 12, 2014

Reminds me of the old "less filling - tastes great" commercials.

When you're shopping for an new hosta, will you buy the one with the most eyes, the largest eyes, or just kind of visually weigh the total plant size?

I was at the farmer's market this morning, and a grower had "Blue Hawaii" for $4 or 3 for $10. Yes, I should probably have bought three for that price, but I have no space and am trying to watch $, so I got one.

I sat there for ten minutes trying to decide between a greater number of smaller eyes, or fewer eyes but larger plant. I finally picked one with two large eyes.

If the goal is a nice-sized plant as soon as possible, how do YOU pick?

Edited to add that the only reason I brought one of these homes is because I saw all of your awesome pictures of this hosta!

This post was edited by ruth_mi on Thu, Jun 12, 14 at 10:35

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hosta_freak(z6 NC)

I always search for the one with the most eyes,regardless of leaf size. Hostas in pots never look the way they will look next year,when they come back up. Phil

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 10:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Usually more eyes, not always, but usually.

Don B.

P.S. If you have limited space, a single 'Blue Hawaii' will suit you just fine, as it will get to quite a good size (BIG!) : )

This post was edited by Don_in_Colorado on Thu, Jun 12, 14 at 10:44

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 10:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5


i tip it out of the pot.. and buy the MOST ROOTS ...

without which... you dont have any eyes ...

its like those 6 foot plants we have seen in the last weeks.. mail order ... IN QUART POTS ... how much root mass can there be??? ... for those nitro-steroidal-juiced plants ... well.. only a quart pots worth ... it simply wont be 6 foot tall next year ...


    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 11:10AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

To me I tend to go for total plant volume over strictly counting eyes, but it sort of depends on the particular plant. In this case two larger eyes would be the winner to me over any number of small eyes. Sometimes when a hosta is stressed out it will overcompensate and put out a ton of eyes. On a large hosta like Blue Hawaii it should be multiplying fairly slowly, with the eyes getting fatter and fatter before putting out new ones. If one has a bunch of eyes I bet there is something going on with the crown, either some kind of rot or some other kind of damage that happened to it along the way. In time the larger eyes will multiply naturally on their own over a bunch of small ones and will often be the larger and more robust and mature looking plant quicker than a bunch of small ones. I think of it as quality vs quantity.

On the other hand if it is a fast multiplying plant then more eyes would be the way to go over a couple larger ones as they will catch up to the larger ones quick enough.

The other question I get asked sometimes is if you have nothing but single eye plants and some are flowering but others are not, which one do you pick? The flowering one will appear to put lots of energy into the flower and won't send up any more leaves from that eye but the one that isn't flowering will continue to flush out new leaves so may seem the better choice. To me, however, I would take the flowering one because after it flowers it will work on setting new dormant buds which become more eyes next year. It won't do much this summer but next year it will be larger than the singles that didn't flower this year.

Just my take on it :)


    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 11:20AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Everything I see here locally is rootbound in pots. Seriously, seems very unusual. Literally full. Of course, that all means nothing to me, as I see infected-looking plants all the time, so there's only one place I ever buy from locally anymore. A shame.

But indeed, Ken, nice eyes without good roots certainly say less than good root systems with little eyes. Great point. And a "Crikey" to you, sir!

Don B.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 11:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Now that I've finished vacuuming up the dirt...

Ken - that makes sense! So much that I decided to dump my gallon pot upside down. Yes, kind of over the bag, and very near the back door (where the rug is covered with a towel to get muddy). I saw a root peeking out the bottom before I started, but also realized that the dirt looked a little loose. Let's just say I don't think it's been in a gallon pot since last year. :-)

But seriously, examining the roots makes good sense. And I did feel like some of the plants with more/smaller eyes, almost had that "it's been stepped on" look. I should have gotten some of both and experimented, I guess.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 12:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
josephines123 z5 ON Canada

I sometimes get "looks" at the nurseries because I tip the plant out to check the roots. I don't care, I'M spending the money so I choose based on root volume and health as Ken stated as well as the additional factors Chris stated. It takes time for me to arrive at a decision, I even place it in an open space to check out the shape but in the end, I go home satisfied with my purchase. Sometimes I even smell the root mass...don't ask! Lol

Edited to actually answer question....usually choose bigger/fatter eyes.

This post was edited by josephines67 on Thu, Jun 12, 14 at 12:44

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 12:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

get "looks"? like they never seen a little dirt in a greenhouse? silly people! but ok... maybe smelling the roots would make my eyebrow go up, just a little though. Only because I would wonder what you smelled in there.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 2:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
josephines123 z5 ON Canada

Lol. The looks weren't for my dirtying the place up, (rootballs, in a lot of instances where they haven't just up-potted to make more $, are tight without loose soil spilling out) but that I would have the nerve to "inspect" the plant that closely.

I love the smell of humid soil/potting mix! This is pronounced in greenhouses. My parents grew acres of vegetables for a living for many years and having worked those fields, I grew to love the smell of that gorgeous peaty soil. . . the back-breaking labour? . . . not so much! :-)

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 2:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bragu_DSM 5

which is why, when prepping for a farmers market, you cater to both ⦠and offer both.

I found that when i have a singleton and ask a price that peeps think is an 'awful lot for an FM' that if i put two in a pot and double the price, knocking like 50 cents off, people tend toward the doubles. I also pot stuff up in a really nice store bought pot - that i buy near the end of the season for cheeps - and mark it high, it usually sells by the end of the market day, cuz peeps like to get a nice pot and a nice plant or vice versa. Or they might be gift shopping.

Ya gotta make back the booth fee â¦


    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 5:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I like big root masses, sometimes the hostas sit in pots for a couple of years.

You can tell by how light the pot is.

Needless to say this "Paradigm" was light as a feather. the potting mix was gone, basically growing hydroponically.

This year it's almost a mature plant.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 6:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yes Dave, but I'm sure they "Already have that hosta at home" right? LOL Liberty, Undulata Albomarginata, Fragrant Bouquet, same thing!

Jim, I'm ogling those roots, even though Paradigm seems to be saying "Hello, my eyes are UP HERE!"

Don B.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 8:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

jimr66 - wow, I'd take those roots no matter how many eyes. And Don - LOL about "my eyes are UP HERE!"

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 6:38PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Got pips?
I have been telling my hostas that there is no hurry...
ilovetogrow z9 Jax Florida
YEA PIPS!!!!!!
Oh, wait a minute, those are tulips. : {
Jon 6a SE MA
Early emerging hostas?
What hostas which emerge early each spring before the...
Whatever happened to...?
I did a google search for Rob Canning (is that his...
Babka NorCal 9b
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™