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Hostas that just don't like containers?

Posted by funnthsun 7B - NC (My Page) on
Fri, Jan 10, 14 at 10:11

I wanted to throw this out there as a discussion topic. I was thinking about my new hosta bed project coming up and the fact that the majority of hostas that I have are now in containers. Well, that led me to think about which to choose to move from the containers to the hosta bed or if I should just put the newbies in the bed and leave the containers as is, or maybe (and most likely) a bit of both. That's when the question arose of maybe some hostas prefer a bed to a container or vise versa. We know all hostas have their little quirks with regards to sun, etc., so maybe this is a little quirk as well. Do you guys have particular hostas, in your experience, that just seem to do better in the ground, as opposed to a container or vice versa? One would think the answer to this would be that all hostas would do better in the ground than a container, but I think there could be a discussion here arising...

What do you think? What's your experience?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Hostas that just don't like containers?

I think that Blue Angel doesn't like a pot. It's been well rated in trial gardens nearby, but hasn't done well for me in a pot. It's grown, but nothing to write home about. It has never bloomed.

I got it in 2010. It looked great for a couple of months. Then it got anthracnose. I've not been able to rid it of the disease. None of the other hosta have much problem with it. I've replaced all the soil in it, twice. I've sprayed it.

I've come to the conclusion that it's the pot. However, I'm going to try a bleach treatment on it this year and replace all the soil again. It's a soil borne disease, so maybe that will work. If it still has the disease after that, it's gone.

(I know, I said that last year.)

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RE: Hostas that just don't like containers?

I find that my ruffled edge hostas grow well in pots. Maybe they just look better being elevated.


RE: Hostas that just don't like containers?

I have more issues with red stemmed hostas not doing well in pots than other varieties, often getting petiole rot if they aren't drying out fast enough.

RE: Hostas that just don't like containers?

Blue Shadows didn't do well in a pot for me - I grow most of mine in containers due to root competition from the surrounding trees.

RE: Hostas that just don't like containers?

'Earth Angel' has not done well for me in a pot, but most of my hostas do just fine in pots. Biggest issue with growing in pots is to make sure you have a well-draining mix in it. You'll find though that container grown hostas typically do not grow as big as bed grown ones.


PS. Welcome BCHosta to the forum, from a fellow Hostaholic in Richmond.....

RE: Hostas that just don't like containers?

Agree with Pietertje that the growing mix is the main factor, good drainage being the key - especially here in rain-soaked B.C.! That said, I initially used a heavier mixture that certain hostas appeared to grow well in - particularly the larger ones such as Guacamole, Great Expectations and Sagae. Perhaps it has something to do with the more robust root systems.

P.S. Thanks Pietertje for the welcome greeting!

RE: Hostas that just don't like containers?

August Moon was dirt cheap a few years back and i thought, POTS! Two went into the ground, four went into pots. One of the potted survives, barely.

RE: Hostas that just don't like containers?

In general your climate probably has more to do with it than the individual hosta. Freeze thaw cycles can be the most dangerous. For years in zone 4/5 interior BC I carelessly grew many, many plants in pots. I tipped some over but for the most part was successful ignoring them and they always came back. Then one year after planting new additions late in the fall in too heavy soil and very wet conditions the following spring I had a loss of 60 + plants. That included many of the new ones and also older ones that had been in pots for years.

Now I am much more cautious about everything. Red October, Sugar and Spice, Sky Dancer, Awakening Angel and some others that have always lived in a pot and look great so I don't want to put them to the ground. In that case I take an 'insurance' division and plant it somewhere just in case.

The one plant that might be an exception is Sum and Substance and it's family. Gary from Naylor's told my sister that his experience with S & S was that it HATED being divided or moved. I didn't hear that until after I had done both to my thriving, formerly huge S &S. It is still trying to recover after quite a few years. For that reason I try give extra thought to where I'll a plant of this family long term.

RE: Hostas that just don't like containers?

  • Posted by Eleven Michigan 6A (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 13, 14 at 15:22

I just moved my smaller (but still mature) Sum and Substance last fall. It will be interesting to see how it does in the new site this spring.

As for pots, I lost several last spring even after they seemed to survive the winter. I'd left them in the potting soil they came with and think they just drowned/rotted when the spring thaw and rains began. I got lots of new and old hostas buried last fall but had to stop when my tendonitis got bad. So I have a good dozen in pots again but will make sure to tip them as soon as the snow melts, no matter if I can plant yet.

RE: Hostas that just don't like containers?

Hmmm, McTavis, I got my S&S in May 2010 up in Massachusetts. It went into the ground there. In 2011 when it went dormant, I dug it up with a lot of soil and put it in a container to come south. It woke up in a pot and I did not notice a setback to juvenile leaves. In fact, it really outgrew the 5 gallons of soil in its pot, and in August when I created my driveway bed, S&S was the first choice to return to the soil of a raised bed.

I also put Blue Angel in the ground, never having been in a pot since I got it in 2011, as one of my 3 non-potted hosta. I'll have to check on it in the spring to see if it was set back by the move. Plus, another biggy was Empress Wu. It spent two months in a pot waiting for me to ready the driveway raised bed for it. Within the two months time in the pot, the root system on that hosta grew to fill the small pot. It had been bare root, of course, and the root system was healthy and beautiful. We'll see how it emerges come spring.

I am primarily a pot hosta grower. Given the nature of my climate, I keep moving pots around as the sun climbs higher and the shade patterns change. NO HOSTA should have to endure our summer direct sun. But some might have huge root systems after I've allowed the leaves to fry a few times. Thank heaven for big umbrellas.

Somewhere around here I have a note about a couple of hostas which definitely do not like pots. But wouldn't you know I cannot recall where I put it?

One thing I realized after I'd potted up a LOT of hosta in the WalMart pots with the attached saucers, was they do not drain properly. When some hosta began declining, I first drilled holes in the pot and the saucer. That helped a wee bit. But then Lowes began selling the black smooth plastic pots in great sizes with holes around the sides at the bottom. So even on a table or directly on the ground, they drained nicely. As I've up potted things, those are the pots of choice. There is nothing wrong with a black nursery pot but if you want "pretty" then pop it into an ornamental pot. Me, I just push a lot of them together and skirt the bunch with some liriope or fern. Works for me.

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