Non-blooming hostas

BombeniJuly 27, 2014

I've had two hostas the same kind for about ten years and they've never bloomed. The foliage us always nice, tho they've not gotten very big. Is it a matter of sunlight? They are in mostly shade with about an hour of late day sun.

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sandysoil_2008(6 MA)

What kind of hosta are they? Fragrant? My Fragrant Fire didn't bloom last year. It was at the back of the border where the shade was deeper. I moved it this spring into more sun and it has flower buds this year.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 4:03PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

all hosta bloom ...

there are some.. where the blooms are actually at or below the leaves ...

any chance you can learn how to post pix ...


    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 4:54PM
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I don't know what kind, I gotta learn about hostas. Here's a pic.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 4:55PM
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And while we're at it take a look at these two pathetic specimens. This is the size they were when I planted them in May. I used good soil, added a little manure. What am it doing wrong?

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 4:57PM
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bkay2000(8a TX)

I have a hosta that I've had for somewhere in the 15 - 20 year range. I can't remember it ever blooming. I know it hasn't bloomed in the last 5 years. I grow in pots, so it's been moved around several times in that number of years. I have another I got at the same time, and it blooms most every year.


    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 4:58PM
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Here's the pic for that last post...

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 4:59PM
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Am I the only one seeing the photos upside down?


    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 6:38PM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b


You can do a few things to help your Hostas look their best. First, in the Spring fertilize with a good organic fert like Milorganite. Do it just as the little "bullets" are popping up. Secondly, add an organic mulch to help the soil maintain an even level of moisture. Thirdly, give them extra water when Mother Nature does not provide it. Twice a week should do it.

That should help your plants to grow to their potential. Then you may see flowering as well as a good level of vegetative growth.


    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 6:55PM
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bragu_DSM 5


    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 6:57PM
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Okay I'll try that fertilizer. I've put an all purpose fertilizer on them I think the brand is Schultz. But they've never bloomed. I've seen some incredible hostas on garden web today and I know now I need to change something up.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 7:37PM
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donrawson(Z 5)

Only a couple hostas are thought to be non-flowering. There are a few more with flowers that never (or rarely) open up.

Non-flowering Hostas
Closed-flowered Hostas

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 8:09PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

Just curious, Don. From what I have read, Clausa does flower but it doesn't open. There are flower photos at the HL...closed flowers. I understand that the HL is not gospel but Geo. Schmid is as good as it gets for me. Quoted:
"This Korean species which was first identified in 1930, is noted for its bright purple flower buds that do not open. It is rhizomatous in nature and spreads well, forming mounds about 8 inches in height. The foliage is lance shaped, one inch wide and dark green with a sharp pointed tip. Flower scapes carry many buds and are purple dotted near the base.

"Growing along river banks it is exposed to periodic flooding brought about by typhoons during the time of flowering and seed maturation which severely disturbs normal sexual propagation resulting in evolutionary changes to a more efficient vegetative method by way of extensively creeping rhizomes." according to The Genus Hosta by G. Schmid (1991). "The species epithet is derived from clausus = closed (bud)."

Seedlings or sports of this species include H. 'Purple Ladyfingers'."

If rhizomatous is like stoloniferous....

What do you think?


    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 9:47PM
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hosta_freak(z6 NC)

OK,here's what I have observed over my years of growing hostas. All hostas wil try to bloom. The thing is,I have some hostas that bloom every year,some that bloom once in awhile,some that have never bloomed,and,this year I have some that bloomed,for the first time ever! They do like more sun to bloom,but I have some in shade that do bloom. The fact is you really don't know what causes them to bloom,or not bloom. Some hostas are sterile like Undulata,and even though they bloom every year,they will not set seed. It that clear as mud? Phil

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 10:58PM
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sandyslopes z5 n. UT

My experience has been very similar to what Phil wrote. I do think sun or bright light helps because I had a mature Guacamole that never flowered until it got more sunshine.

I wanted to say that the specimens you show above are not at all pathetic for being planted in May. There's the saying with perennials, 1st year sleep, 2nd year creep, 3rd year leap.

When they appear to be doing nothing on top (sleeping), they're really working underground putting down roots they need to be able to support more growth on top. Next year you'll see a little more growth on top (creep) and supposedly 3rd year they leap and show you what they can do. Although some of mine don't have a good leap year until year five.

Being a hosta lover, I think they look pretty good at all stages.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 1:30AM
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Babka NorCal 9b

Just re-read the OP. Ten years? Something ain't right here. Even small hostas grow in width. What is on the other side of that fence? Perhaps a large tree? With large roots?


    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 1:43AM
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sandyslopes z5 n. UT

Oh yeah, good catch Babka! So the two in Bombeni's first pic are the ten-year-old hosta, not the new ones in May. In that case, I have nothing helpful to add, but I do like your cat figurine, Bombeni.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 3:00AM
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The factors why any plants that should bloom, don't: they need fertilizer, not enough sun required by the plant, they were cutback (pruned) incorrectly, too young, or winter damage.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 8:14AM
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Not enough water, possibly tree root competition.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 9:00AM
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donrawson(Z 5)

Here is the list of non-flowering hostas:
clausa var. stolonifera
'Gray Streaked Squiggles' (rarely flowers)

Hosta clausa var. stolonifera (a variant of clausa) does not flower at all. According to The Hostapedia (page 193), "This is a variant of H. clausa that does not produce flowers, but spreads by underground rhizomes (Schmid 1991)."

Regarding 'Gray Streaked Squiggles', Zilis writes, "I observed this odd hosta in Peter Ruh's collection back in the 1980s. Mlosty likely it is of 'Undulata' parentage. As far as I know, it has never flowered, probably being too weak a grower to produce a scape," (The Hostapedia, page 380).

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 12:56PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

Don- What are the odds of finding these in most backyards? They are unusual ones. I thought you were ID-ing the OP's hostas.

Your lists are nicely researched, and I refer to them often (thanks to Pieter).


    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 1:20PM
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donrawson(Z 5), I wasn't trying to ID any hostas...just responding to the comment that "all hostas bloom"...I doubt you'll ever find the two varieties on my list...doesn't sound like they're very common...

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 4:41PM
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if its tree root competition, it goes back to 3 factors, they need more water, more nutrients, possibly more sun... or any combination of the 3

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 5:18PM
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bernd ny zone5

My h. 'Key West' is probably 6 years old and never bloomed, Its neighbors bloom. It gets early morning sun, pine branches are 30 ft above, gets enough water and is fertilized. It otherwise looks healthy and happy, is bright yellow. Perhaps plants can have also individual temperaments? Bernd

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 5:45PM
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that particular hosta may need more sun than its neighbors?... being of the H. nigrescens heritage its iikely a late bloomer in August and that may be impacted by how the sun hits it and when over say, mid going into late summer in correlation to its bloom time? as opposed to the others?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 6:17PM
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Yes, that pic of hostas by fence have been there ten years. A patio is on other side, no tree roots in the area. They have stayed that same size....never bloomed, just come back faithfully every year. I give them all purpose fertilizer a couple times a year. And they do get watered. Sunlight is another story. They don't get any direct sun at all, just a little dappled after 5 pm. So maybe I need to move them over to other side of garden which gets about an hour of direct sun late afternoon.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 8:52PM
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