Potted Hostas

Bill123456August 13, 2013

Pots protect hostas from predators...but are there other drawbacks beyond the obvious limiting factors of size and possible tendency towards dryness?
For those of you who use pots, have you got any tips for success or warnings for the rest of us? Are some materials bad for hostas? How about cement pots? Anyone have a problem with them?

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jadie88(7 MD)

Oh, you've come to the right place! Several pot experts around. If you search the forum you'll find some valuable threads. I am no expert, but I've read a lot and I have my newly-acquired hostas in pots until I finish prepping beds for them, so I will tell you some of the highlights I've picked up.

The main warning is about the media...you want excellent drainage to avoid root/crown rot. Don't use "moisture control" bagged potting mix, as its a known hosta killer. :) I use about 60% pine bark mulch in my pots in order to get fast drainage.

Black nursery liner pots are best, then slip those into whatever decorative pots you like. Don't put small hosta in big pots.

Poke around and you'll learn everything you need to know! :)

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 9:01PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

hey bill

what version of z5 do you live in.. MI or MO? .. big difference as to winter protection and storage ...

what she said about media as the #1 concern ....

there is a GW search up above.. i am sure the potheads will roll thru .. but the search function can get you a broader overview on growing things in pots ...

good luck

and welcome


    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 7:05AM
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Are we talking about pots out of the ground, or in the ground to protect hosta from critters and tree roots?


    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 8:57AM
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bkay2000(8a TX)

Hi Bill,

I grow in pots, but I'm in Texas, so handling winters will be where I can't help. Let us know what kind of winters you have and someone will be able to help with that. Again, it's about rot. You don't want them sitting around half frozen with the unfrozen half holding water around the crown.

Jadie covered most of the rest of it. I'm in Texas, so the first thing I think of is water. Most of mine have to be watered daily in the summer.

You don't want your pots to be too big. If they are too big, the plant won't use up the water quickly enough and they will stay wet. Hosta like both water and air to the roots, so you have to work that out in your environment with the potting soil, the pot size and frequency of watering.

Fertilize occasionally and you have it. They are really easy. Just don't forget the air, especially while they are young.

I'm sure I've forgotten something important, but someone will tell you whatever it is.

Welcome to the forum.


My favorite potted hosta

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 5:40PM
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newhostalady Z6 ON, Canada

Hello Bill. Beverly raises a good question---are the pots you are talking about going to be in the ground or above? I personally have both, but way more above ground. So please respond so that we can give you more advice!

You've been given a some good tips so far I see.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 4:59PM
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Many thanks. So much great info.
I've been able to move my hostas in pots during the year to get them out of the sun in July and August. I move the ceramic pots into the garage for the winter. But I've got a couple of nice big cement pots (not moving them anywhere!) and the hostas I've put in them are unhappy.

Sieboldiana is in deep shade, so that might be the problem - or, as you've mentioned, maybe there's a problem with drainage and I've got to lift it off the ground. None of my other pots need to be sitting on bricks...but I understand the benefits especially in winter.

Frances Williams is just stuck...not doing anything for 2 months. She got burned early in the year, so I moved her out of the afternoon sun. But wow really nothing happening.

I really thought you were going to say that cement has lime or something and hostas don't like cement pots. Aren't azaleas averse to concrete because of the lime?

I use about 50/50 pine bark mulch and peat moss then add about 20% more in top soil. I'm starting the compost pile tomorrow, OK!

Will also look for liners. That should cure my cement problem...if it exists.

I'll be tipping over a lot of pots this winter. Thanks!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 6:24AM
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Sieboldiana with curled up leaves. Not perky. Been in the cement pot about a month. Am I slowly poisoning it?

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 6:42AM
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Frances Williams in cement pot has no new growth since early June.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 6:50AM
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jadie88(7 MD)

What a beautiful place you have there! The pots look lovely. I would definitely go for the liners...you'd avoid the alkalinity of the cement, and improve drainage. Water can really get stagnated in such big pots, and those usually only have one hole in the bottom, yes? The other advantage to liners is that you can swap the placement of the plants with ease.

Generally you don't want any soil in the container mix. A small % of sandy soil may not be a big problem, but something to think about while troubleshooting.

I don't know if FW is particularly sensitive to transplant shock, but mine sat frozen in time with one leaf partially furled for about over month after being moved. Others didn't miss a beat.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 8:17AM
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Thanks so much, jadie. I'll work on drainage and try liners.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 9:41PM
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