Not replacing any of your hosta losses?

Moccasin(z9aMobileAL)September 30, 2012

We speak of our wish lists, and give reports of our orders received with great hope and expectation.

What about the ones you ordered which do not turn out so good? The ones which flat-out died on you, or which disappoint you?

Are there any you will without remorse drop from your garden?

I have one which is struggling. It did not look too good when it arrived, only having 2 leaves with the proper variegation, the rest were green and remained that way. Now all the variegated melted away. That is Oze. Even though it is on the double bloomers list, I wasn't impressed with that plant. It won't be missed if it doesn't show up next spring.

Then I ordered a lot of the very small plain green lanceolate leaved hosta, and some of those are very sparse. I figure they were in small pots, and dried out quickly. I'm considering a move of them all into one larger flatter container, to let them run around all they please. If one or more falter, I'm sure the other runners will take his spot. Any losses there, unless it is nakaiana, will not be replaced. I will replace nakaiana, it is a good bloomer and fertile.

So. What say ye? Will you be cutting your losses?

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Moc, As enthusiastic as I am about hostas I have had to develop relatively small sections of garden each year. When I'd first moved many hosta from Arkansas all I had was an area on the west side of my house mostly shaded that had been the previous owners place to strew his leafs every year. No grass but good leaf mold. I unloaded my truck and boat and just dug a hole and stomped them in. So I developed a system of adding only 10-15 hostas at the most each year as I made space available. This is the first year I have potted most of my buys, due to watering problems.

I lost my Dream Queen this year. Like its parent Great Expectations each year it died back further. I lifted IT (two tiny eyes with roots finer than my hair)and potted them. They looked more like seedlings than part of the original plant. Two days ago a critter dug them out of the pots and ate them. I bought Dream Weaver this year and I hope it does better. That makes the 3rd cultivar of the GE line and the 7th plant I have bought and nothing has lived 4 years.

DQ had roots like a octopus when I'd bought it as field grown stock from a local grower. It looked like crown rot was killing it this year, just like all of my GE's did. I've tried them in different locations. I COULDN'T have planted ALL of them too deeply. My soil has excellent drainage with coal dust rather than sand giving it tilth. (????? whatswith GE!)

I'd lost a Summer Breeze 3 years ago. It is such a striking hosta I bought another this year. I buy hostas when I feel a real need for them in my gardens so color, size and form rules. I love how the GE line shows when mature and healthy. But if Dream Weaver fails I will have to compromise with Thunderbolt, Cathedral Windows or some other non-GE type.

I can't perceive any hard and fast rule regarding replacing lost varieties of hostas. I'd added Cherry Berry last year and so far am not terribly impressed. The leaves, in spring, are very nice but as the season moves along the plant just appears tired. If I lost it I probably won't replace it.


    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 8:15AM
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Jon 6a SE MA


Granted my collection (don't really consider myself a 'collector') is small and mostly bullet-proof hostas, but I have not lost one. I do have a Fragrant Bouquet that is on life support (about quarter sized) and I have 2 Frances Williams that were completely de-foliated by deer and one that has had one leaf for the past couple of months. The petioles of the de-foliated plants have stayed green, so maybe they have a good root system for Spring (???). I also have a Hadspen Blue that seems healthy, but growth seems painfully slow. 16 of the 122 hostas are liners, which all seem to be doing well, but their very small size and the fact I planted them in Fall might put some in jeopardy.

All in all, I don't think I have such a green thumb, so I attribute the results so far to good conditions and a whole lot of good luck.


Hosta Plant List

Abiqua Drinking Gourd
Big Daddy 1
Blue Angel 4
Blue Mouse Ear 1
Brim Cup 2
Earth Angel 3
Empress Wu 1
Fire and Ice 1
First Frost 3
Fragrant Bouquet 7
Francee (small) 4
Golden Meadows 1
Great Expectations 2
Guacamole 2
Hadspen Blue 1
Inspire Greatness 4
June 6
Minuteman 4
Night before Christmas 1
Noid small green 3
Noid, large green 7
Orange Marmalade 2
Patriot 9
Paul's Glory 1
Sagae 1
Siboldiana, Elegans x ? (seedlings) 13
Siboldiana, Elegans 4
Siboldiana, Francis William 9
Strip Tease 1
Sum and Substance 3
Temptation 5
Twilight (sport of Fortunei Aureomarginata) 1
Victory 1
Whirwind 7
Wide Brim 3

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 8:27AM
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I am not really a collector either but choose hostas for specific locations based on size form and foliage colouration. I have not had any that have had real difficulties but I have fairly good hosta growing conditions - light well drained soil, good shade coverage without too much root competition, irrigation system that waters daily, no real summer heat, no noriceable slug or deer problems etc. That said I have some slow growers.

Great Expectations has barely grown in 4 years though I love the foliage colours. Dream Queen and Dream Weaver have both expanded very well over two summers and display equally nice foliage. Sun Power didn't grow for 2 years after planting but this year took off. Whirlwind for whatever reason simply wouldn't grow over 3 summers so I finally moved it ... we shall see.

I had an episode of HVX that I reported earlier in this forum that caused me to discard 8 plants (Gold Standard). I have no specific plans to replace them. Instead I added Liberty and Climax plus planted some huetchera.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 8:57AM
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I've lost 2 3/4 hostas.

Great Expectations TC liner that I won't be replacing. Was the least vigorous (if you can even use the 'v' word when talking about GE) of all the liners that I bought. Survived the winter OK but got nibbled by a slug. Potted it up & it finally kicked the bucket. Rotted.

Moonlight Sonata--planted in the fall & lost in the spring thaw. Bought from of those tissue culture 'pluses'. I will replace it but with a mature division.

The 3/4 loss is Invincible, also from MITS & lost in the spring thaw. Two tiny eyes clinging to life. I moved it to the vegetable garden. If it lives, OK, but I'm not fiddling with it and will not replace it if it kicks the bucket.

Both MS & Invincible were planted in a row with lots & lots of other hostas that actually love that location & survived with flying colors.

I started my hosta gardens with The Green & White one, The Green One, Royal Standard and Krossa Regal. All of 'em just about impossible to kill. I didn't even know that hostas could be fussy until I got GE. So I'm taking a tough love approach from now on, splaining to the newbies that I've got moles, voles, slugs, rabbits & deer, drought & buckets & buckets of rain (not this year!)...and that I'm willing to help them get adjusted but they had better get with the I take them on a Show & Tell walkabout to see The Compost Pile. Life's too short to waste any of it fiddling with temperamental hostas. That & there are hundreds & hundreds of other hostas out there that will love me! ;)

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 9:51AM
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I'm going to toss my 'Cherry Berry' into my neighbor's yard. In like 3 minutes, right when I get outside. RIP/THROW... No remorse. In fact, it's gonna make me HAPPY! :)

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 10:24AM
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newhostalady Z6 ON, Canada

ci lantro: I like your realistic approach!

For me, Twilight has been the most disappointing hosta this year. At the beginning of the season, it looked great, and I thought "that's a nice hosta." And then the edges began to dry out. It just didn't look good anymore. I had it in a pot so I could move it in or out of the sun, but it just continued to do the same. Maybe it just doesn't like being in a pot. I will try something different with it next year, but after that (with the same results) I will find a new home for it.

I remember reading a thread a little while back where someone said "life is too short to grow ugly hosta!" That really stuck with me. Being on an average city lot, I am not going to be able to have hundreds of hostas. My goal is to have lots of hostas and to have the hostas that bring me joy. There are so many hostas now available to choose from so I don't plan to "waste time" with any that don't perform.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 11:57AM
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Les, no hard and fast rules here either. It crossed my mind that other folks might have some they look at and say, "enough is enough already." Previously, Cherry Berry was discussed as finicky to grow, and of course the Great Expectations line. I figure as far away as I am from Michigan with its ideal growing conditions for beautiful GEs, it just isn't worth the hassle to even try. Despite liking to have 3 Queens or more in my hand, I can live without Dream Queen. Other great fragrant-flowered hosta can replace it and be much more durable.

Like what you say, Ci-lantro. I have the compost pile tucked behind a clump of nandinas and the hosta not doing too well are quarantined in a ring around the pile. I have The Shining there right now. It was doing fine, but suddenly as dormancy approaches it is developing a strange variegated sort of MOSAIC design on a couple of leaves. Does not look good for its future.

I'd be in the garden working with the landscape fabric, the mulch, and pine bark, repositioning hosta by my own priorities were it not pouring down rain. I took a walk around earlier when it slowed to an easy drizzle, and all the chartreuse and gold hosta were simply glowing. How can you not love such vibrant faces! Even the ones with golden margins and middles were glowing. Every one of them keepers.

Ci, 2 3/4 hosta is a good way to express it. Hanging on by a thread. And Newhostalady, life really is too short to grow ugly hosta. With limited space here, I too know that I cannot give all the great looking hosta already in my garden the time and care they need if I am distracted and focused on helping the marginal ones. It is Darwin in a teacup, survival of the fittest on a personal scale. I'm paid the big bucks to make the hard decisions. :)

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 1:09PM
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Jon 6a SE MA

I went to the Home Depot to pick up some hinges and a clasp. I now have 124 hostas adding-

1 Island Charm. Which I understand is challenging so I carefully put it where it will get 3-4 hours of morning sun and afternooon shade to hopefully prevent the dreaded "middle white burnout"


Sleeping Beauty continuing to fill in the Cascade area. I have a ton of stuff back there, but not much to see until Spring.

I also want to defend-

My 2 Great Expectations, one of which I stepped on squashing one third of it (bottom picture). Both are doing quite well, even though the squashed one is under the drip edge of a White Pine. Maybe they need a little abuse. I guess the true test will be next year to see if they continue to thrive....or not.

I know many will cringe at buying hostas at HD. At $4 each it is not a big investment and they will be isolated if they should have a virus or other problem. I am confident that I can deal with the situation and contain HVX if it arises.


    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 1:14PM
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bernd ny zone5

I would be careful to write off hostas easily when looking at them right now. Most hostas do not look good presently, especially after what they had endured during this summer and drought. Some of mine have disappeared. some are showing only petioles. So I will see how they will look coming May, only 7 months away.
Though one little H. 'Imp' disappeared this spring and never showed up again. It seems small hostas have small roots only in a few inches below surface and get killed by the heat. I will not replace that one. A streaked seedling took its place and is doing very nicely there.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 1:35PM
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Jon 6a SE MA


I bought Twilight this year because it looked good to me and it still looks good. It is a fairly big hosta at maturity (almost 18 inches high) so maybe you are correct in guessing it just doesn't like being in a pot.

Dump it out of the pot and check to make sure it is not potbound. If it is, then get thee a bigger pot, or stick it in the ground...if you can.


    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 4:28PM
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I lost Island Charm a long time ago,but I would not replace it,also Thunderbolt,which I wouldn't replace either,comsidering how well Dream Queen grows. Phil

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 5:30PM
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jan_on zone 5b

I just joined the company of 'Cherry Berry' failures - it had dwindled to 2 very sorry looking leaves, and I really needed its spot for 'Brother Stefan' who has patiently been waiting in a pot after being excavated by the groundhog this spring. Like ci lantro I'm adopting the tough love approach since space is lacking and there are a ton of great hostas out there that I would like to own. I'm almost at the point of wishing some of mine would die. 'Pilgrim' for example.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 5:49PM
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newhostalady Z6 ON, Canada

Thanks Jon for your suggestions. That's a good idea about taking Twilight out of its pot to see if it's rootbound. I remembered someone saying to always remove the hosta from its pot (if possible) before buying to see if there are a good amount of healthy roots. I agree that it certainly wouldn't hurt to have a look in the pot. I have heard that certain hosta like to be in pots and others don't. So I will try Twilight in the soil. I look forward to seeing what will happen next year.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 7:47PM
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I'm going to wait until spring to see what I have actually lost over the summer. Then I'll decide what to replace. I might just fill their spots with some of the seedlings that I have waiting to see what they are going to be when they get bigger, until I decide what I want there.

Like I have any lack of other hostas to plant, haha.


    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 8:55PM
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bernd ny zone5

When spring comes there will be more seedlings from this winter to be planted. It is always good then to have empty spaces to fill. The replacements will be waiting then in their little pots.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 1:50PM
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Cherry Berry. I threw it over my fence into my neighbor's backyard, he's always bugging me for divisions....I have no remorse; I very much enjoyed it. However, a few seconds later I heard my neighbor say "I asked for a HOSTA!!" and launched it back over the fence...I can't GIVE it away! :(

Don B. Co.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 10:47PM
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Dougald, I have one to recommend to you, that might fit with your leaf patterns. It is Unforgettable. I really really like it, and it is still growing nicely. Mine came from Green Mountain Hosta in Vermont. The most recent photo is this:

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 10:26PM
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Don in Colorado - That is funny!

Les actually bought Cherry Berry for one of his daughters as a gift because her last name is Berry. I read your last message to him and warned him to be on the alert in case she throws it back at him. He plans to pot it for her in the spring.
Oops-sorry ml; I didn't mean to stray from your good string. Don just tickled my - well - whatever tickles.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 7:47AM
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Theresa, do not feel bad about inserting a laugh. I was chuckling over the old hosta-over-the-fence game too. :)

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 10:00AM
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troutwind(7a SE TN)

Earlier this year we had a "Gust Front" blow through, winds over 50 miles an hour and we lost three trees in the wooded fringe of the back yard. What will be my future hosta area as soon as I finish clearing out all the various vines and ground covers.
As it turned out we also lost a fourth tree, a big hickory which provided the afternoon shade on my temporary bed of hostas. A very large crack was discovered leading down into the heart of the tree. So out it came and very quickly once discovered. So quickly that I didn't get a chance to cover my hostas. They were showered with sawdust mixed apparently with lube oil from the chain saws. Within a couple of days they were showing numerous damaged and dying leaves. The intense afternoon sun was no help either so now all my plants are in pots under the second story screen porch at the back of the house getting early morning sun. They are a sad looking bunch right now but even the Fire and Ice which is a 3rd year plant with three eyes had a second flush in the last few weeks of cooler temps.
I'm going to keep them in pots for the foreseeable future. My wife has recently developed a debilitating health problem so I just don't have time to mess with them. Life is turning out to be a lot like plan survives contact with the enemy.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 9:18AM
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Ludi _PA_7a

Out of the 32 new Hosta I ordered this year I only lost two ... Emerald Scepter and Quilting Bee.

They weren't liners, but they are not large hosta by nature. After they came in the mail I put them upstairs in my orchid room. Don't ask me why I didn't just put them outside ... silly move on my part but my life got a bit hectic and I was unable to tend to my garden/plants for the month of August.

They ended up getting the worst mold I have ever seen on any plant and I pitched them immediately.

I will definitely be replacing Quilting Bee with my spring orders ... but as for Emerald Scepter ... I am not sure ... when I first read the description on the website it said that this is not a commonly distributed hosta anymore and has since been replaced by other stronger variants ... but the seller had an affinity and kept it in his stock so I thought it sort of vintage ?

So I am sure I will replace Emerald Scepter, but I might choose one of the other Scepter cultivars, or one of the Tiaras maybe. No rush since I have allllll winter to think about it.

Cheers to new beginnings !!!


    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 8:25PM
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Late in the year, I lost The Razor's Edge to southern blight. Around September, I got a replacement for it. It was sad to lose such a beautiful hosta, although I probably should have waited until 2013 to buy the replacement.

One I can add to my DO NOT REPLACE list is Masquerade. As much as I love it, and have bought upwards of 10 of them, none did well, most died quickly, and I'm really discouraged not to have it to create a nice white w/green margin border. The last couple of Masquerades, if they come up this spring, will be my last stab at it. It might not like the heat and humidity.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 4:41PM
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I know I implied that I was done with 'Cherry Berry', but I'll probably get another one just so it'll succeed. I do think a healthy mature is very pretty. I can be very stubborn that way, so I'm told.
I actually ended up losing 'Jade Scepter' as well, but I really wasn't in love with it, anyway. I'll keep the space open for something better. Gave it the "DO NOT REPLACE" stamp.

Don B.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 12:09AM
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bernd ny zone5

Don, it might be that 'space which you keep open' which is the problem. I had such spaces where hostas died of crown rot, so I scooped out the surface, raised the soil level and occasionally spray a fungicide over that area and plants do OK there again. Those places were low spots and water collected there when the ground was still frozen

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 10:58AM
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