The devil or the deep blue sea?

bkay2000(8a TX)July 2, 2012

My Invincible is really stressed. I keep losing lower leaves. They turn yellow and die. I'm almost sure that the problem is the potting soil. The pot weighs a ton, and the soil doesn't "flake" like my homemade potting soil. (I must have missed it when I was replacing all the mositure control potting soil in the others.) At the rate it's losing lower leaves, there won't be much left of it by fall and certainly not by next spring.

The problem is 103 degree temperatures. I hate to bare root one now. But it won't be much cooler until October, which may be too late.

(Also, when I popped it out of it's pot, the roots were kind of tan, rather than white.)

If I leave it alone, it might well be a first year hosta by October. If I repot it, it might well revert to juvenile status as well. Or, it might even die.

I had a really ugy hosta that bugged me a couple of years ago. I repotted it in the summer and 90% of it died. I didn't really care about that one, as I think it was a seedling, but I like this one.

Any encouragement to leave it alone? Any ideas on how to reduce the stress if I repot it? (I'm taking 4 or 5 leaves per week off.)


current size

May 2

Yellow leaves


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Hmmm, BKAy, I say go for it. For sure you will be close to losing it if you wait, and if you do it now it might rally.

I recommend bringing it inside into some air conditioning. Or at least a place which has some normal temps good for man and beast.

Why not bareroot and repot? They are still shipping plants now, washing them off and shipping them all over everywhere. You just tell your Invincible it should buck up. Talk to it. Maybe it will listen. :)

The yellowing leaves remind me of some of my hosta too. I leave them on the plant until they are toast, then they come off very easy. Like the trees around here, they are dropping yellow leaves when they cannot support them, and I presume they will add more when water is again available.

You are thinking of the worst case scenario, don't think that will be the story with this hosta. It will live, even though you did not throw it on the driveway!

My Invincible is beginning to grow finally, after we got a bunch of rain early in June. I hope it keeps on growing, because it was very small. Yours looks really fine, I know you get attached to a plant, have an emotional investment in them doing well.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 6:39PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

Those roots look fine to me, but the soil looks saturated to me. What about the roots in the center of the plant, and the crown? Your plant isn't doing what you think it should be doing right now based on your past experience with this plant in your climate.
Something is wrong.

Just repotting a plant doesn't set it back, in my experience, you still will have the same amount of roots. What will set it back is if ou find some rot in the center and thereby reduce the amount of roots. Then you will probably have smaller leaves next year.

I agree with Moccasin. Bare root it and see what you have. After hostas flower, the growth on top slows down or stops and all the growing takes place under the soil building more crown and roots storing energy for next year.

Hose it off and take a peek.


    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 7:20PM
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hosta_freak(z6 NC)

Bkay,the yellowing of different leaves is what I was alluding to, when I talked about summer dormancy. I have many hostas showing yellow leaves,and they aren't in pots. The hostas sacrifice some leaves to survive the hot and dry times we are having now. My Korean Snow looks almost like fall,and it does this every summer,but it always returns every year. This year has been particularly weird,as everything came up early,so hostas are going dormant early also. Phil

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 9:22PM
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What Phil said.


    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 9:43PM
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All the responses are reasonable and learned. I will add that after 'fussing' with it, it appears that an 'up-potting' isn't inappropriate at this stage.

fwiw and a heartfelt best wishes, especially since this cultivar is such a cool shiny leafed one,


    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 9:49PM
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If you aren't going to repot in better soil then at least let it dry out before you water it again, and make sure that particular pot is draining well. If the drain holes are flush with the bottom maybe it doesn't drain out and needs some holes at the sides or needs to be raised on feet so it drains better.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 9:58PM
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bkay2000(8a TX)

You're right Chris, it wasn't draining well. All my pots are on pot feet. I drilled more holes, but it keeps raining, so it stays wet. It just isn't drying out....has to be moisture control potting soil.

It gets new dirt this afternoon.


    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 11:02AM
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bkay2000(8a TX)

It has been repotted. Other than soggy soil, I didn't find anything really wrong. The roots aren't white, but I'm not sure if that means anything. I didn't find any rot, squishy spots or southern blight. It drains well now. I did it yesterday and it looks fine today. No wilt or anything. It looks totally normal.

A question - do you see anything that shows what the problem might have been/might be?

Now, another question - it's in full flower. Should I remove the flowers?


    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 6:08PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

I don't like those orange spots/tips on several of the roots. 10% bleach solution before you re-pot. Ooops you already re-potted. It should recover now that it won't be so soggy. You will know soon enough.


    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 7:05PM
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Wow, BKay, that is a nice Invincible you have....too much water and it still had the stamina to be full of blooms. You are so lucky that you caught it before it went down for the count.

I was not so fortunate with my Eskimo Pie. It was hard to get going early this spring, then it had 3 leaves, then 4, and suddenly it lost a leaf, and I could not tell why. We had that 20 inches of rain and the garden was so soggy I could not walk the walk for several days. By the time I saw what its condition was, it lost the remaining leaves. Oops, I dumped it out, and there was a rock in the bottom of the pot which had blocked the drainage. It had done fine in the ground up in Massachusetts since May of 2010, and looked okay when I potted it up for the move south. Mea culpa. I did it in.

Actually, I won't be replacing that one. I have a White Elephant that I'll try growing instead, and maybe look for Hudson Bay instead of Eskimo Pie, when my hosta ordering trigger finger gets to itching too much.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 7:20PM
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Ludi _PA_7a

I think with some TLC, a slightly larger container and new well-drained soil she will be just fine. Here's to a speedy recovery. ::Crosses fingers::

My 2 cents, I would cut the flowers to allow the plant to focus fully on recovery. No additional stress kinda thing.


    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 7:35PM
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lonestarhostababe(z8A Texas)

Hi bkay,

I live in Arlington, Tx. Just wanted to say I use those same pots and I always take the saucers off. That helps them drain.


    Bookmark   July 6, 2012 at 6:25PM
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bkay2000(8a TX)

Hey Judy,

Yeah, but then they look funny. I drill holes in all the pots. (It's really hard to find pots without that saucer anymore.) I found that one wasn't draining well about 3 weeks ago. I drilled more holes in it, but it just wouldn't dry out. Between the rains and me forgetting and watering it anyway, I couldn't get it to dry out even with all the holes. It drains now...BIG TIME. So far, I think I dodged the devil and the deep blue sea. It looks nicer than it did. (I raised it in the pot may be why it looks better.) It's showing no sign of stress so far. Maybe it's my imagination, but it seems more "stiff".

So, Judy, have you found a good place to buy hosta locally (besides wide brim, albomarginata and Francis Williams)? Calloways had some nice ones last year, but they're on the Wide Brim train this year, too. Northhaven has the same 10 hosta every year. I found some at Brumley's which is off LBJ on the NE side of Dallas. He had some nice ones early.

I'm glad to see another hosta nut from the metroplex on the hosta forum.


    Bookmark   July 6, 2012 at 8:12PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

Bkay- Stiff is good, so they say. It's Friday after 5pm. here.

Consider getting cheap ole' plastic nursery pots and put them inside nicer ones. A few pebbles, or sometimes I use my good old 3/4" x 2" to 6" long bits of redwood in there to raise up the pots if necessary for looks and drainage. The same little sticks I use to keep the pots from sitting directly on the deck. Pots with saucers are an open invitation to slugs outside.


    Bookmark   July 6, 2012 at 9:13PM
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bkay2000(8a TX)

Repotting it worked! I haven't had anymore yellow leaves. It looks like it has never been touched.



    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 9:25AM
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