Mystery Hostas & Spacing

petpalikali(WI-Z4)September 18, 2012

Hey all! So, all summer I've been moving seven little pots around the yard, each containing a Hosta...of unknown origin. Now it's Fall and I really need to get them in the ground. I moved into my new house a year ago, and the poor dears survived one winter in pot already. It looks like I have four different types. My question is how much space should I leave between them. I want them to eventually grow shoulder to shoulder. I don't want them to look like little soldiers. Can anyone give me some guidance?

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MadPlanter1 zone 5

That's a tough one- hostas can be under a foot around or over 6 feet around. Often young hostas with multiple eyes are medium or small as adults and those with one big eye turn into giants. Even that isn't much help, since a "small" hosta like Golden Edger can turn into a 4 ft. clump. Shape matters, too. Vase shaped plants can have small ones under them. I'd probably just go with 2-3 foot spacing and move them if they get too crowded.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 4:13PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

post pix..

the pro's should be able to 'read' potential ...

if you had the names.. it would be easy to research potential ...


    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 6:24PM
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If you can't get any kind of handle on your hosta cultivars, which is difficult in the short time you have had them, I think you might find the "average" for mound width is somewhere 42". (In Hosta Library go to the first 40 hostas data base and add total observed mound widths, and divide by the number of plants you have listed) Use that as a guide and you won't be having to move plants soon.

That said, I planted a hosta I believed to be a small one mound wise (24-28"D), based on leave shape, variegation, blossom color and time, and growth habit in the pot. I planted it accordingly. It finally reached it's LEAP year and is the same size as Paul's Glory on one side and has buried Blue Mouse Ears on the other.

But if you use the 42" rule you could be ok. As is pointed out so often, leaf color and shape are a good indicator of growth rate; the less green area in the leaves, either in percentage or square inches (; the smaller or slower growing it might be, meaning you are less likely to have to move a stiletto shaped albomedia colored hosta because of its large size. So 'Stiletto' and 'Fireworks' will remain smaller than 42". Most tech data on hostas use the square inches of leaf as a gauge for this reason. The Mouse Ears group being an exception, generally the more ovate the leaf the greater the leaf area and the larger the mature plant is likely to become.

This is way too much being said to keep myself out of trouble, but we ARE talking in generalies, since we don't know what hostas we are dealing with. LOL

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 7:28AM
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OK,let me say this to you and all others about planting hostas. Maybe you don't know the name of those hostas,but you took a whole summer to figure out where to plant them,and still didn't? I am an old man,and I usually plant any new hostas I get within two,or three days of when I get them home. I know there may be extenuating circumstances about when you can plant a hosta,but a whole summer? Sorry if I'm being critical,but I'm just curious. Phil

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 9:35AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i am sorta going agree with phil ...

you are way too fixated on a PERMANENT siting ...

plant them.. and if in a year or two it doesnt work out.. MOVE THEM ...

crimminey.. you can bare root them.. are you guys ready.. and throw them on the driveway.. for a season or two ... and they will live..

whats all this hesitation..

dig hole.. insert roots down.. fill hole.. water .. job done..

sooo ... the specific answer is.. plant them far enough apart.. so that if you have to dig them up .. you have room to go in there and do the job.. 2 feet or so ... 3 might be better ... and plant some annuals in between until they fill their space ... and if you end up with some giant.. move the smaller ones.. and leave the giant where it is ....

otherwise.. how about those pix????


    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 7:30AM
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Take them out of the pots. Wash the dirt off.

The ones that are pot bound and / or have very big root systems will go in the back of your bed with 4 foot spacing.

The ones that have smaller leaves and smaller root systems will be spaced 2 feet apart in the front of your desired arrangement.

Plant them all in well tilled soil amended with compost or peat moss and composted cow manure. Water well.

Wait till Spring and above all keep them out of the driveway. :>


    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 9:09AM
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Hey all, thanks for your help! Jon, great tip about root system = plant size!. I wonder if that translates to other perennials? Ken and Phil? Pedestrian vs. won. Hostas are the toughest plant I have. They've been patiently waiting while other, less tough, plants find their homes. Now it's their turn. Pet out.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 10:50AM
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