Should I pot up hostas or baby heuchies?

esther_bJuly 2, 2014

I can amend the soil in my Brooklyn friend's yard further, where we laboriously cut out a 9" trench from clay-y soil in which to plant hostas & baby heuchies, but I am worried about the competition. Not the World Cup, but holly roots vs. hostas & baby heuchies. The new plants are planted around the dripline of there-forever holly bushes.

Should I

(1) Remove the hostas and/or baby heuchies and put them in black nursery pots until they get bigger & more able to compete with holly roots? And then put the pots on top of the trench?

(2) Put the hostas and/or baby heuchies in spinout bags?

(3) Tear out my hair and put on sackcloth if they do not successfully compete?

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

go with #3... take pix ... lol

why dont you look into spin out bags ...

i would bet my shiny nickle.. the large shrubs will fill that nice trench with new soil.. inside two years ... why wouldnt they ...

spin out is the way to go .. someone else can link you to such ... or explain ... as i have never done it ...


    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 4:08PM
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Heuchera do well under trees or in dappled shade. Their roots are not deep, and competition from tree roots has not been a problem for me. However, They like it moist and fertile, many trees suck the ground dry. Its best if you know which variety of heuchera you have, some are more tolerant of adverse conditions than others.
Depending on the size of the division, i do pot my heuchera up to start them, but for larger divisions, they go right in the ground.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 5:03PM
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irawon(5a Ottawa)

Esther, I agree with Ken. The spinout bags are the way to go.

Woah, unbidden, which Heuch is that ?

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 7:44PM
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So, spinout bags. Which size, do we need them for BOTH hostas & baby heuchies or just baby heuchies? Best place to get them? How long are they effective?

I think the pictured heuchie is really a heucherella. I think it might be Buttered Rum.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 9:37PM
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This is Heucherella, Sweet Tea, I wish I had Buttered Rum its beautiful.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 12:45AM
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irawon(5a Ottawa)

Esther, there is a spinout cloth that you can get as well, that you can cut to size to line your planting holes.

It's been a while since i researched the product. Off the top of my hat I think In the Country Gardens and Gifts had the bags at one time. With the bags you turn them inside out, so the copper coating will repel tree roots.

I live in Canada, so maybe someone in the States would be better qualified to advise you on where you can get the product.

Unbidden, I have Sweet Tea but mine looks a lot darker. I really like the colour of yours. I'll have to research Buttered Rum, I haven't heard about that one.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 1:18AM
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OK, but WHAT SIZE of spinout bag is needed for tiny baby heuchies and/or juvie hostas? They come in 5 gallon & 10 gallon sizes. And do they just stay in the bags until they outgrow them?

Unbidden, your Sweet Tea is sort of light for that variety. That's why I thought it was Buttered Rum. Both are beauties.

The heuchies I planted in my Brooklyn friend's yard are Rio, Midas Touch, Paprika, and Vienna. I have all of these minus Vienna in my own garden, and they are gorgeous.

I also have the mini heuchies Frost (stunning!), Sugar Berry (wow!), Peppermint, Ginger Snap and Sweet Tart.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 2:19AM
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kalija(6 WNY)

Esther, I just planted some blue angels in spin out bags two weeks ago. I actually ended up cutting 2 ten gallon bags and making one really big one for them, but they are large hostas - I think you had planted mostly smalls? You should be OK with the 5 gallon for them. If I was planting mediums I would use the 10 gallon. I got the bags from Wild Rose Distributing and their delivery was really fast - had them in three days. Hope that helps a little!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 7:42AM
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I lost Buttered Rum this winter. :-(

I have several dozen heuchies and clay-ish soil.

I will warn you that they like very well drained soil and I have to disagree with unbiddenn, that they actually prefer it slighly dry. They DO NOT LIKE WET FEET, especially in clay soil.

I have a strange section of my hard that had a sand pit on it and they LOVE it there.

If you have heavy clay, I don't think I'd plant heuchies in that area.

Have you tried posting about this in the Heuchera board?

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 9:10AM
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irawon(5a Ottawa)

Not paying attention. Esther, kalija already answered your questions well.

This post was edited by irawon on Thu, Jul 3, 14 at 10:52

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 10:42AM
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Wow. Thanks for all the information. I had also called TerraNova, breeder of the baby heuchies. They thought I should put all the baby heuchies in small pots in a controlled environment. I had to laugh. Then why are places like HostaDirect selling baby heuchies with no such information?

I KNEW you guys would recommend spinout bags, and you are REAL people, the average Joe on the street. I haven't seen any of your pics featuring hostas or heuchies in greenhouses. I knew you would have real-life solutions to this problem. I just want my friend to have success with her hostas and heuchies.

I don't think there is a drainage problem in her garden, because water seems to drain away pretty quickly. I didn't see any pooling on top.

In summation---please correct me if I didn't get it straight!!

1. All the hostas and heuchies we planted should be transplanted to 5 gallon spinout bags, filled with potting soil (but NOT the moisture retentive kind).

2. I should add a couple more bags of topsoil to the trench and mix it in with my T-bar tiller.

3. All these plants should be kept gently moist, not soaked.

How long will the spinout bags be effective? Will the then-larger hostas & heuchies have to be transplanted to fresh bags, or are the spinout bags just necessary until the hostas & heuchies develop their own extensive root system?

BTW, I brought home the bonus Wheee! to my own garden because there was no space for it in her garden. I put it into a pretty glazed 12" ceramic pot next to my 18" ceramic pot, and covered the surface with 3" flat round river stones (only anti-squirrel device that seems to work). It seems to be doing quite well.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 12:10PM
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Remember when you called me and I also told you that the baby heucheras, sold as starter plugs, should be started in small pots? I still think that is what you need to do to have any success with them.

The hostas should probably do fine in spin out bags but I don't think putting starter plugs of Heuchera into a 5 gallon spin out bag will help them to get started.

If you are putting things in the spin out bags I don't quite understand why you would also be continuing to amend and till the soil.

Baby heuchera do not need to be constantly moist. Let them dry slightly between waterings and then only water them lightly. They don't like wet feet and don't like clay soil. You want to encourage them to get new roots without rotting them away. The hostas will like more water than the heuchera.

I would still recommend, like we discussed on the phone, that you pot up the heuchera in a well draining potting soil in small pots (about 4" deep and about 3" wide) and tend those that way until they are rooted out.

If you were to plant directly in the ground I would recommend adding a lot more soil amendments to the garden and then rototill that all in and plant the hostas that way.

If you are worried about root infiltration and are going to try the spin out bags then just dig the holes big enough for those bags, I believe people fill it with good garden soil, then plant the hostas in that. But like I mentioned I don't have any direct experience myself with the spin out bags.

Lots of people have given what I think is good advice but I think you are getting confused by all the different things being suggested. And while I hope you do have some success with some things there be prepared for some losses as it can be tough figuring out a new garden situation like this and what will grow there.


    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 1:15PM
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kalija(6 WNY)

I didn't use potting soil in mine - I mixed the soil I dug out for the holes with new topsoil (didn't have enough after sifting out the maple roots) and some compost.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 1:19PM
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We all have different soil, different trees roots, different zones. I have loamy soil, I don't need spin out bags. I dont even need a shovel. My roots aren't a problem.
And not every plant, even of the same species, has the same light, temp and water requirements.
I cant imagine a heuchera in a spinout bag, but who knows? Their root system is not like a hosta, it is not as deep and involved. There is very little dirt involved when dividing heuchera.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 8:22PM
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There is no way that a heuchie will EVER outgrow a spinout bag, even the small one. Their roots are very contained.

Just follow Chris's advice. He knows his poop.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 9:13PM
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When I dug up my 3 foot wide Caramel Heuchera, to my surprise I only found one tap root. They have minimal roots.
I also ordered some Heuchera plugs last fall and popped them in the ground. No mulch. Come spring they had heaved (miserable, long winter), and popped up out of the ground about an inch. I stuck them back in and they are growing just fine and 3 times the size.
What I'm saying is, I wouldn't touch a thing until/unless it became necessary down the road.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 9:52PM
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