Ordering--fall, or wait for spring?

mosswitchAugust 25, 2011

I am thinking about ordering some hostas this fall, but wishy-washing about waiting for spring. I've never ordered in the fall before, what are your opinions? Do the hostas get a jump start by getting them established with fall planting, or is it better to wait for spring?

Thinking about ordering from Mason Hollow and the Hosta Patch. Those would be new vendors for me, and I always like to try at least one new source every year. I might also place a small order from Land of the Giants, to see if it is better to get fall shipment from them, as spring doesn't work for me. Their spring and mine are vastly different!

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hosta_freak(z6 NC)

Well,if you believe the little magazine I get from Lowes,Now,is the time to plant hostas! As for the other part of your question,I never order hostas from anyone. Even though I like hostas a lot,I am not so crazy to think I will get every hosta that was ever found,or hybridized. I only got three this year,locally. I still prefer to pick out my hostas in person. Phil

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 10:33AM
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Gesila(MI Z5)

I placed a late fall order with Hallsons last year (Sept 17). This was my first hosta mail order. I thought for sure I had killed two of them, since the leaves never even stood up. However, all of them came up looking great this spring.

I order now if the price was right. I think all the hostas I ordered last year at this time were 20% off.

Gesila

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 11:24AM
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mosswitch

I usually order some every year, and have been mostly pleased with everything. I have already picked over all the local nurseries. I don't need every hosta out there, either, but I have plenty of open space to plant in the woods, still.

I'm kind of looking for older varieties that you can't find in the nurseries any more, but I want to get them from someplace I can trust to have clean plants so I don't buy from the big box stores anymore. Besides half the time they are mislabled. Not risking expensive plants to the deer in the back half of the woods, either! Those special ones go close to the house where I can guard them!

I plan to divide some of the bigger ones, and move some down in the woods farther, in spring when I can get to them easier. I also have a few seedlings that show some promise. If the deer eat them, I'm not gonna be that heartbroken over it.

That being said, still trying to decide whether to order now, or wait. I don't have a place to keep potted hostas over the winter so they would have to go in the ground right away. I'm just wondering if they are more sucessful, get bigger faster, etc if they are planted in fall as opposed to spring.

I will be getting some in the spring when my friend at my local nursery gets her bare root plants in (I'm helping her place her orders this fall, lol!)

Oh yeah, there IS the Greater Ozarks Hosta Society auction next weekend................

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 11:28AM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

I just got 3 plants from Hallson's (Silver Bay, Autumn Frost and Journey's End). They are having a 25% off sale right now and the plants I got were huge. Plus Chris sent Great Arrival as a bonus plant. He must have access to my wish list. Either that or he's reading my mind.

Steve

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 1:48PM
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ninamarie(4Ont.)

In my climate, I've always had great success planting between late summer to very late fall. Hostas are good candidates for a late planting.
I like planting late because I always get a little more plant than I had hoped for in the spring.
And overwintering in the ground is much easier and less time consuming that overwintering in the spring.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 3:49PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

heave is a nightmare in my sand..

and that is just about your only issue ...

so if that is not a problem.. go for it ..

or figure out how to deal with it..

ken

ps: this morning.. wasnt there another post about removing trees.. and how many hosta you have to move.. lol ... that aint gunna stop you.. huh??

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 5:15PM
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ci_lantro

Have been ordering hosta & planting or potting them up until I decide where to put what. I've rec'd two orders this week, one from Made in the Shade and another from Hallson's. The size of the Hallson's hostas far exceed Made in the Shade's. And MITS waited an entire week before shipping. I placed the order to Hallson's 2 or 3 days after the one to MITS & rec'd the Hallson's order on the day the other order was shipped. (But then, I'm next door in Wisconsin.)

From Hallson's, I got Fragrant Bouquet and Guacamole and the daylilys Fragrant Returns and Omomuki. FB was huge; I immediately separated it into two plants. Guac was very nice also, as were the daylilys. And, they sent a bonus hosta, Lederhosen. I was impressed that they sent a bonus plant (25% off sale) and doubly impressed that it was a fragrant hosta, apparently noting that I had ordered fragrant ones! Didn't know anything about Lederhosen but it looks like a nice one.

From MITS-- Holy Mole, plantiginea, Invincible & Moonlight Sonata, all at regular price. On the small side (I was thinking they'd be larger since it was late in the season & would have almost a whole season of growth). Really, not a whole lot larger than the market ready ones from Hosta Liners. And no bonus plant.

Anyway, I was so impressed with Hallson's that I have ordered another Holy Mole, Fried Bananas and Bix Blues. Know that I wanted HM & FB so figured I might as well get them now when they're on sale!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 5:34PM
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mosswitch

No, Ken, not gonna stop me! I got lots of places for hostas besides my front yard where the trees are gone. And where the electric company tree butchers are never gonna touch my trees! I've been soaking the area pretty well where I have to move my hostas to, maybe tomorrow when the digging is relatively easy.

There's another space for new fall plantings, that's ready to plant. I have spaces marked for transplants, and lots of room for new ones.

And if I run out of space, well don't tell my husband but I have my eye on a bed of ground cover that's going to go next............I just have to break it to him gently that I have room for more, and there are more rocks to dig out.

I have ordered from Hallsons, and probably will again in the spring, but I don't see anything in his list that I need right now. The ones I like I already have, or are out of stock, so I'm going to wait for the 2012 list.

Sandy

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 5:57PM
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Gesila(MI Z5)

I bought Lederhosen from Hallsons last summer when I visited their nursery. Chris recommended it because it get tons of fragrant blooms. I love the leathery feel of the leaves.

I have mine on the edge of the garden where it gets neglected. The rabbits by-passed this one in the spring. Slugs ignore it. It probably only got watered a couple of times this year. The hail storm was the only thing that got to it this year. I love how wonderful it looks in late August.

My late fall order last year from Hallsons included Holy Mole and Fried Bananas too!

Sandy, Chris is out of almost everything I want too.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 8:09PM
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kskaren(z5 MO)

I ordered about 25 hostas from Bridgewood Gardens' Ugly Plant Sale last year. I was impressed with the size and look of each plant--they really didn't look ugly to me at all. I didn't lose one over the winter! So, if I had money (after this wedding we'll be in the poor house!) I would have no qualms about planting in fall.
Karen

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 10:52PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

And if I run out of space, well don't tell my husband but I have my eye on a bed of ground cover that's going to go next............I just have to break it to him gently that I have room for more, and there are more rocks to dig out.

===>>> late in the fall ... while its still green ... surreptitiously ... spray it with roundup ..

and then be thoroughly amazed in spring that it is all dead..

tell DH you have no clue what happened to it.. but since its all dead.. what the heck..

rotflmbo ..

ken

    Bookmark   August 26, 2011 at 8:46AM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

I have pretty good luck planting fully cold hardy material in the fall. Have had a couple borderline trees suffer or parish. Am starting to come up with a zone colder than yours hardiness type rule meaning I am zone six so all zone five or colder hardy plants can tolerate planting in my fall.

Frost heave Ken? Is that what happens when you have to put studded tires on your suv?

    Bookmark   August 26, 2011 at 10:49PM
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ci_lantro

My Lederhosen came with bloom scapes intact. I potted it up and put it on the porch by the front door where it is happily blooming away. It's keeping company with a HoneyBells and Fried Green Tomatoes. HB is about to bloom and FGT is sending up a bloom scape. I got those last year and this will be first year for them to bloom. Can't wait to sample the fragrance!

Back on topic. I used to live in NW Oklahoma and now live in central WI. For you folks down there in zone 6, etc., IMO, if you're going to use northern growers like Hallson's, you almost have to order & plant in the fall. This year, spring was really late, cool & very wet. General rule of thumb here is that you wait until Memorial Day before setting out tender annuals--to give you an idea how far behind we are. By the time the growers up here can jackhammer plants out of the frozen tundra in the spring, ya'll are cooking down there. Besides it being a huge shock to the poor plants, you'll be fighting an uphill battle nursing them through a southern summer.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2011 at 12:46AM
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bkay2000

I totally agree with you Ci lantro. It was June before I received my northern grown hosta this year. This year was worse than usual, but by June, we were at 100 degrees. I decided this year not to order much from the frozen north in the spring again.

We've always planted in the fall, here. It's the best time to plant trees, shrubs and perennials. It gives them time to establish their root sytems before the first freeze. Generally, we get a lot of rain in the fall, too.

If you're looking at older varieties, look at Gilbert Wild and sons. I was pleased with the less expensive hosta I bought from them. They were field grown and nice sized plants. Most were at least 3 eyes. I was not happy with the more expensive plants I bought from them. They were greenhouse grown and, in most cases, single eyed plants. Non survived the winter, although I can't blame them totally. I made lots of gardening mistakes. Be aware also, that you may get mislabeled plants. I ordered 5 Wide Brim and received 4 Wide Brim and 1 Francee. They replaced the mislabeled plant immediately, with no questions asked. That Francee has become one of my favorites. I would buy from them again, just not anything over $6.00 or $7.00.

bkay

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 10:29PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

I'm in zone 8b or 9. Even tho my hostas begin to wake up in March, I've never had a problem with ordering in Winter for Spring shipment from back East. When they arrive they are just roots and little white eyes, but they are up in a week here. No problem at all. But then we rarely hit 100 degrees at ANYTIME here. Most of the ones I get from Naylor Creek come in March, and in April from Hallson Gardens. Hallson Gardens is in Wisconsin (frozen trundra)so I don't understand the shipping in June from other Northern Growers.

Even when I lived in Illinois and the frost free date was May 31st, I could dig in April.

I guess it all depends on YOUR conditions when you receive them, and who you order from. I like to get them in springtime, so I get to watch them grow right away, instead of waiting over Winter.

-Babka

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 11:57PM
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hosta-see(Z5bMI)

Hallson gardens is located outside Cement City, Michigan 15 to 20 min. south of Jackson MI

    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 6:01PM
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bkay2000

Some growers dig in the fall and store them over the winter in walk-in coolers. They then ship in the spring. Others have to dig them at shipping time. At least, that's what I understand.

I think this spring was as bad for the growers as it was for us. They couldn't get into the fields to harvest as they got zapped by late winter weather. We really got zapped by the early summer weather. I think we pretty much skipped spring this year and went straight to summer.

bkay

    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 6:33PM
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mosswitch

I'm working on a fall list. Not too big, tho. Just dug out my compost pile and put 6 wheelbarrows of finished compost in my new bed, so it will be ready soon.

bkay, we did have spring here.....it was nice, too. Then we got the tornado May 22 and went straight to the hubs of hell. It rained that week and we haven't had any since. We skipped early summer altogether and went straight to August, for three months. Still no rain and still hot here.

But I do have hopes for September.....

    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 8:30PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

Oops, I meant to say Hallson Gardens is in Michigan. (Sorry, Chris) I have grandchildren up the UP Michigan, and once lived near the Wisconsin border. I shouldn've caught that before I posted. It is ALL cold up there, in either state.

-Babka

    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 9:12PM
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Moccasin(z9aMobileAL)

After spending a few months up nawth and seeing the way hostas grow in New England, I developed "hosta envy." And I've been trying to grow some that can survive our humidity and slugs and whatever else in south Alabama.

I tried to order a few fragrant hosta for the shady garden in zone 5B, from Plant Delights Nursery, and DH threw away all the tags before I drove north. So now I know there is a couple of plantaginea, a Fragrant Queen, Lederhosen, Eskimo Pie, Sum & Substance, plus a couple of really gold leafed beauties. I have plans to dig them up and take them back south with me when we depart around Thanksgiving.....this will be my last year gardening in zone 5B.

So I am making notes about which nurseries you order from, and what experiences you are having. I am pleased they are coming up with varieties that can tolerate our humid summers. But I wish they would not make the names so irresistable, because I buy hostas the way I buy paint...it sounds good, then it has to look good. Right? :)

    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 9:27PM
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Moccasin(z9aMobileAL)

With the information I found in this thread, I spent almost the entire day going from one hosta seller to another. I had a great time, and added many new plants to my WISH list.

Ones that I am ordering now for shipment to Alabama are VICTORY, GUACAMOLE, FRIED BANANAS, FRAGRANT BOUQUET, and
FRIED GREEN TOMATOS. I figure the fragrant varieties have some hosta plantaginea in them, which can tolerate the humidity of the zone 8B climate. And I just really liked Victory, regardless of its family connections.

When I can do so, I will upload a picture of a hosta that is different from any I've seen before, a jet green, wrinkled heartshaped leaf, and it is just DIFFERENT. Maybe someone can help.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 9:52PM
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