Winterizing hostas

katy122October 9, 2007

I have about four hosta's in pots, they did well all summer, do I now bring them into our garage for winter and frost protection? I fear we may have a hard winter with alot of snow, maybe some ice, they are now under pine trees but with little protection from the elements of a hard winter.

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

let them freeze.. then tip them over so water doesn't accumulate in a frozen pot... they can handle snow and cold...

besides the ice.. NO SUN ON A POT all winter long... move to the north side of a building for full shade if the pines allow sun ...

IMHO ... your garage can be 2 to 3 zones warmer.. and can be a big problem.. depending where you are .... you get a week of 60's in mid winter.. and your garage gets to 70 or 80 ... what will you do with them in mid winter ..

people in zones higher than my 5.. seem to do ok in garages ...

tell us where you are.. if you want more specific answers ...

don't make it harder than it has to be...


    Bookmark   October 9, 2007 at 6:27PM
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We live in Vancouver,Wa, do not know what zone that is in. Normally we are looking at temps sometimes in the 70's but we already looking at lots of rain, the weather all over is kind of crazy..I love my hosta's...dont want to lose any. Also what should I do about the leaves that are yellowing, should I cut them back??

    Bookmark   October 10, 2007 at 10:54AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

when you get a good frost.. they will turn to mush.. and you can just pull them off.. many of us enjoy the fall color ...

i would prefer you just unpot them and stick them in the veggie garden.. and repot in spring... let mother earth take care of them.. it minimizes all the variables... so much easier....

i have no experience beyond z5 ... so good luck


    Bookmark   October 10, 2007 at 11:10AM
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Pieter zone 7/8 B.C.

Katy, I'm just outside of Vancouver BC, in Richmond. Without looking at a USDA map I would think you're probably in zone 8. Here in Richmond I keep more Hostas in pots than in the ground, it's called suburban lot size, or more precisely LACK of lot size. I would say I have probably 80 or so Hostas year round in pots ranging from 1 to 5 gallons. The biggest thing i worry about is to make sure the pots are properly drained. While we don't see quite as much rain as Seattle, we do get our share.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2007 at 11:47AM
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I would just tip the pots on their sides as soon as you get a frost. This will prevent too much water from collecting in them over the winter. Here in zone 5 (not far from Ken) I've had good luck just turning pots completely upside down and then piling leaves over them after I baited for mice. The leaves help to keep a consistent temperature around the pots, avoiding thaws on warm days. In zone 8 you probably don't even have to worry about that.

Hostas can take cold and snow just fine :)

    Bookmark   October 10, 2007 at 11:52AM
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Pieter zone 7/8 B.C.

Never really answered your question though, did I?

I simply leave them where they are, don't worry about mulching and virtually all of them are in areas which will not see any direct sun in the winter, so I don't worry about freeze/thaw. I keep some in a sheltered area, mostly recent divisions and first year seedlings, and my biggest concern there is to make sure they have adequate moisture over the winter, so they may get a dose of rainwater from the barrels every 4-6 weeks, depending on how dry they feel. When I say sheltered I mean it has overhead protection, but it certainly is not frost protected, my Geraniums still freeze in there :-)

    Bookmark   October 10, 2007 at 11:56AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

as to pietertje ..... the better question is what potting medium do they use?

too much peat in winter in z5 can be very problematic ... retaining too much water in dormancy .. when ... believe it or not.. hosta dont need all that much water ...

when i moved 1500 potted hosta to the new house.. i lost 100 over the winter.. almost all of them tokudama or sieboldiana ... they got too wet in spring.. before the hosta broke dormancy ... they made it through winter.. but rotted as dormancy broke.. or soon there after... all thing being equal ... it had to be too much water .. roots need air ...

think of how you would store a potato or carrot for winter ..... they need some humidity .. a bit of water ... but too much water.. and they will rot ... it would be no difference with potted hosta ... any chance you care to dig a root cellar.. lol ....


    Bookmark   October 10, 2007 at 4:10PM
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Might I add another sugestion to Ken's advice? Last winter I followed his directions to the letter and stored my pots tipped on their sides on the north side of the barn.In May I was digging them out of frozen snow drifts long after my'inground'hostas popped up.Despite a late start, they came through the winter beautifully. However...this year they will be stored per Ken's instructions in an old shed away from the drifting snow.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2007 at 6:34PM
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"In May I was digging them out of frozen snow drifts long after my'inground'hostas popped up"

Leave them in the snow where they are protected from the vagaries of spring weather.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2007 at 8:43PM
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lisasmall(7a NoVa)

The USDA generates the map:

USDA National Arboretum 1990 Map

USDA Explanation of Hardiness Zones

Arbor Day's Zip Code Hardiness Lookup

A terrifying page is run by Arbor Day here. What's scary is the link on the left-hand side that puts the map in motion (animation) to see the climate shift right before your eyes.

Do you see the link to "member pages" down at the very bottom of this Gardenweb page? You can go there and edit your page so your zone will be included in your posts, the way mine shows I'm in 7a. This helps people answer your questions.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2007 at 3:08AM
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Great information Lisa!

I looked up my zip code yielding zone 6, in fact my tiny dot is on a high plateau that is as much as 10 degrees lower than spots 20 miles away. So I use zone 5 for my planting decisions. One might want to consider exactly where they are such as a low valley or a high point like me.

When it gets to 100 we are maybe 101 but the cold times are 5-7 degrees colder often.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2007 at 2:44PM
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