Reputable sources

prairie_love(z3/4 ND)June 25, 2012

You all often admonish newcomers (such as myself) to purchase hosta only from "reputable sources" and I fully understand the reasons for this advice. I know the most respected are Hallson's and Naylor Creek (and perhaps a few others), and it seems that most people consider their local "reliable" nursery a reasonable source. Am I correct on that last point? But then box stores such as Lowe's or Home Depot are a no-no.

According to the tag on the pot, my local reliable nursery gets their hosta from Monrovia.

So does my local Lowe's.

So is it Monrovia that we would not trust? Or is it the care the hosta receive after arriving at the nursery or box store? Do the rest of you actually have local nurseries that get their hosta from someplace more reliable than Monrovia?

Just a little confused ...

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i dont know the answer to the specific question..

but i doubt monrovia.. offers a couple hundred varieties ... and that is usually where most of us are ... once the newbie gets past the common dozen or so.. you just arent going to find 'more for teh collection' at bigboxstore ...

and the secondary issue.. is where monrovia wholesales their stock from.. many volume suppliers.. simply pot up hosta.. leading us beck the the real explosion of hvx.. coming from dutch suppliers ... a decade back or so ...

they would dig up mile long rows of hosta.. and wash them all IN THE SAME WATER ... before and after crown cutting ... and they didnt know the after affect ... OR SO I WAS TOLD...


    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 3:48PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

and further to Ken's...

I also do not know where Monrovia purchases their stock. But even if you assume the best...after Monrovia ships to their customers, how do the people in that nursery handle them? Do they group them with hostas from other suppliers and use the same clippers to trim off damaged leaves as they tidy up?

Since the virus doesn't always show up immediately in an infected plant, just visually checking won't cut it, so if a nursery says "the ag inspector was just through here and he didn't find anything" that is no assurance that all is well. ONE bad plant and you could mess up your whole collection for a long, long time. Not every plant at the big box stores is virused, but it is a crap shoot. Wanna roll the dice? Not me.

HVX is scary stuff, so unless your supplier knows where that baby was born and how it has been handled up to the time you purchase it, I'd say don't buy from them.


    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 4:15PM
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thisismelissa(z4a-S Twin Cities MN)

Just to clarify.... my "local" growers have also had issues with HVX. Just last week, I called out a VERY large Twin Cities nursery for having a dozen infected Gold Standards. They were locally grown.

I've also had the other 2 BIG local growers with infected stock. It happens.

Another small local grower.... well, let's just say that nearly everything I've ever gotten from them has been infected. I went there my first year and ONLY my first year. I've since learned better.

Rarely do any of these 3 large have anything I don't already have, so I don't usually buy much there.

Besides choosing to only do business with "reputable sources", the single best thing you can do is educate yourself what the virus looks like. Don't turn a blind eye to it. Study pictures and posts showing infected plants. Get to know that "ink bleed" and "collapsed tissue" looks like, so that you can keep it from coming into your garden at all.

Be aware, too, that if you're at a big box store and cannot resist a 2 gallon beauty for just $12 (like me, last year) that you may want to consider quarantining it for a while till you're certain it's ok.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 4:24PM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

Local neighborhood nurseries are often worse that Big Box stores. Neither are reliable in my opinion. There is an easy test. Ask the manager if their Hosta have been index tested for viruses, specifically HVX and where they come from. If he/she says they come from Holland go elsewhere. If he/she doesn't know what HVX is go elsewhere. If the Hostas come from Walters, Q and Z, Shady Oaks, Bentley Gardens or Terra Nova, they should be fine.

Where do you go? I'm very glad you asked.

Here is a link that might be useful: Where to buy Hosta.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 5:38PM
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prairie_love(z3/4 ND)

OK, seems I may have misunderstood the "trust" the forum has (or doesn't) in local nurseries. It seems I see a lot of threads by forum regulars saying "I stopped by the local nursery today and look what ended up in my shopping cart". Maybe those then are quarantined, I don't know.

Since I am only at 35 varieties as yet, I can still find new-to-me at my favorite nursery. Which is why I asked the question.

Where do you go? I'm very glad you asked. Well I am glad I asked too! I assume the "where do you go" was rhetorical and referring to the excellent, linked thread, because my answer to "where do you go" would be meaningless to anyone outside my area (All Season's Nursery). Thank you for the link.

the single best thing you can do is educate yourself what the virus looks like Ah, yes. I am attempting to do so. It's difficult, working only with online photos. I have one hosta I am concerned about, will post photos later. I agree, though, need to know what it looks like.

Thanks all. I am glad I asked because I thought the "distrust" was primarily for box stores, not local nurseries. Seems I was wrong. Unless you know the precautions the nursery takes.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 7:39PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

There is a whole forum at Hallson Gardens devoted to HVX. Lots of photos and discussions explaining what to look for in different varieties.


Here is a link that might be useful: HVX Forum

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 9:08PM
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prairie_love(z3/4 ND)

Thanks Babka!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 11:17PM
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prairie_love(z3/4 ND)

Babka, that's a lot of information in that link! I have started wading through but ... wow, so much information.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 11:41PM
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I treat every hosta I buy as if it potentially carries the HVX virus. So, no cutting, digging, handling roots without disenfecting tools, wearing disposable plastic gloves, etc. No matter where I buy it, that's the drill. I don't plant them so close that the roots mingle. I even do this with my Hallson hostas- it's just a practice I've gotten used to. I do buy from local nurseries, but have to say that I have seen at least one obvious case at every single local nursery in my vicinity now. It's a risk I take, but again, I treat them all as if they *might* be carriers. I personally think HVX is easy to spot when the symptoms are showing. But, they don't always show symptoms, or show them right away. I have had HVX show up twice, on plants that had been in the garden two years, and won't be surprised to see it show up again one day.

For me, I wouldn't be that tempted by a big box store- my local ones don't carry anything other than the most common, and I always, always see infected plants there. Even today I stopped for bolts and saw some infected ones on the shelf in the garden dept. I have no idea where my local BBS's get their plants.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 11:46PM
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eclecticcottage(6b wny)

There is one absolutely wonderful nursery near me that, if they had any Hosta I was interested in, I would ask about HVX. Their plants consistantly look amazing, large and healthy looking. Otherwise, the others aren't that great (WAY too expensive, smaller plants or not much in the way of perennials of interest).

I personally think a large part of the HVX problem isn't the stores selling the Hosta, but the general perception of many "gardeners" who aren't disturbed by losing plants. If people bought perennials/shrubs with the idea that they should and would live many years, they would be less likely to accept diseased plants. It seems so many people treat nearly everything like an annual, or at least aren't overly concerned when a non-annual dies. Yank it and replant, maybe even take the "body" back to the bigbox store for their 1-year replacement guarantee. No worries about was cheap and replaceable, right? Yeah...(I will admit to not being overly concerned when 10 out of 100 Butterfly bushes didn't make it, but they were bare root, rooted cuttings from the county, so it was a bit of a gamble on our part on if they were viable or not).

    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 8:47AM
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hosta_freak(z6 NC)

I have only one thing to say on the subject. The only HVX plants I have EVER gotten were in those bagged hostas,never from anyone where the hosta was in a pot,where I could see the plant. I may be lucky,but I will still buy hosta from wherever I see one that I fancy. Phil

    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 1:38PM
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bernd ny zone5

I thought 3 or 4 of my hostas had HVX, never tested it, per recent threads about other viruses, my hostas probably had some tobacco etc virus. So be careful labeling everything HVX. Some of these diseases do not appear the first year. Two plants I got at a good local nursery developed foliar nematodes the second year, perhaps they got them from my soil? Two other problem plants which seemed to have started some leave blotches in 2 other plants I got from the same good local nursery, one also from Walmart, or they all got it from that W plant, who knows.

I had never any problems with hostas I got via the (reputable) internet and HD and Lowes.


    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 2:50PM
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