Minimum Hosta Temperature:

ishinagaJune 5, 2009

Greetings,

I'm a new member and I live in Texas, zone 8a. I'm in the middle of doing research regarding the feasibility of growing hosta in my area? Some have told me that hosta need to have a winter of temps. around 40 F. for 4-8 weeks? If this is the case, what are the reasons? Will they not come back, or will they just not come back strong with new growth? Physically, how does the winter low temps. effect the hosta plant? I have grown orchids for years and I know that a couple of weeks at around 55 F. will induce spikes because it stresses the plant and makes it return to work so to speak. What effect does the cold weather have on hosta?

Steve-TX

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

the link is a good place to start

ken

Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   June 5, 2009 at 12:50PM
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mary52zn8tx

Welcome,
I have been growing hostas for about four years. They are a challenge, but they will grow. I have moved most of my hostas into containers with pine mulch as the medium. They go dormant in our zone in mid November or a little earlier if we have an early frost. Some of them begin to break dormancy as early as mid Feb. One of the disadvantages of pots is that they break dormancy several weeks earlier. The occasional warm day during the winter does not seem to cause too many problems as long as the night temperature stays down in the 30's or 40's. Once they start to grow, the late frosts are a real pain to deal with. I always cover mine because they have enough of a challenge in our climate. I do have some hostas that get smaller, but plenty of northern growers talk about that same problem. Water is the key, and I think that even a short amount of time without water will set back hostas in our climate. I watered three times last winter. I wonder if some of the ones that are smaller this spring might not have been overlooked when I watered. It takes a lot more time for the leaves to move from the pointed juvenile stage to the more mature rounded stage, and the leaves don't get anywhere near as big as those on plants up north. Even with all the challenges, I have not found a better shade plant. The variety and sheer beauty of a hosta garden just can't be topped. Here are some shots from my garden this evening. I have a long way to go, but I am seeing some progress.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2009 at 10:55PM
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yardmom

Mary, have you tried any in the ground?

    Bookmark   June 6, 2009 at 6:29AM
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mary52zn8tx

Yardmom, I started out planting all of my hostas in the ground. I have heavy clay, and even with compost, I did not have much success. In 06 I very nearly lost everything. Something was getting the roots. I did see one hole, but I never did see a vole. It also could have been some kind of fungus. There was a discussion here about containers. I decided to give it a try, and the results were so much better that I have ended up moving all of my hostas to pots. I have maybe five left in the ground, and they are declining. There are some Texas growers who can grow them in the ground. I wish they would grow in the ground for me, too. I love the look of hostas in the ground, but the containers work much better for me.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2009 at 12:12PM
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Karchita(WA Z8)

Maybe they are getting a better chill in the pots than in the insulating ground.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2009 at 4:21PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

Pots work for me too here in San Jose where we rarely drop below freezing in Winter. Why don't you just try a few and see what happens. Here are pics of the ones I keep outside my family room.

-Babka

    Bookmark   June 6, 2009 at 11:31PM
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mary52zn8tx

Karchita, they do get greater chilling in pots, but I guess they warm up faster, too. Maybe that is why they come up earlier in the containers. Babka you have such lovely hostas. What are your summer high temperatures like? How much watering do you have to do? We hit 97 yesterday after a pleasant, wet spring. Oh well, summer is upon us.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2009 at 3:15PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

Mary52-

Thanks! We get Mediterranean type weather here in the South Bay (San Francisco area, summer gets mid 80's with the occasional 90 degree day, but it cools off at night. We do not have AC in the house. Depending on the temps, I water the pots every 3-5 days. They are 80% bark and once that gets wet it is amazing how it holds moisture, yet water runs directly thru the pots when I water. We get zero rain during the summer months.

-Babka

    Bookmark   June 8, 2009 at 1:45PM
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