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Sinking pots?

Posted by Cricket_Love 4b (My Page) on
Thu, May 24, 12 at 4:48

I've noticed quite a few of you just sink your pots in the garden rather than just planting directly into the ground? Is there a specific reason for doing this? Also, for those of you who keep your hosta in pots, planters, chimney liners 0 Do you often lose you plants over the winter? Do you sink them in the ground before the frost and cold hits?

Thanks in advance!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Sinking pots?

I've got some in sunken pots, some in Agroliner bags, and some directly in the ground. The ones in bags are primarily under a maple, so I use them to avoid root competition.

A couple years ago I lost a bunch of plants and hosta to voles, so I started keeping many in the sunken pots. I can't use poisons because I have dogs, and wasn't successful with traps, so pots are my best choice.

A third reason for me is that I like to move my hosta around- eventually many will make it into the ground, but using pots while I'm making up my mind where things should go makes it easy to try new arrangements.


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Drainage

Forget to add- no, I don't lose any over the winter. It's important to use a potting mix that drains really well.


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RE: Sinking pots?

I don't normally pot new hostas nor do I normally sink those I do. However, I do pot some and sink some. It depends upon whether I have 1) a location for the hosta already picked out for planting; 2) I feel a new hosta needs additional tlc for root development without competing with other plant roots; 3) It is late in the season and I want to overwinter a new hosta and don't have time to plant it properly and/or; 4) I have a reason to want to isolate a hosta for "health" quarantine.

If I don't plant immediately for the above reasons, I normally pot bare-root purchases or re-pot nursery purchases into larger pots to allow better root development.

If potted, and this is only my instincts, I will sink a hosta potted as above into the ground. I feel imbedding in the ground keeps the roots cooler, which is healthier for the hosta, and the earth acts like a perfect saucer and helps with moisture availability for the hosta. I use a very loose "professional grade" potting mix and excess water runs through it and is absorbed in the soil around the pot without danger of drowning the crown of the hosta. I generally set my pots with the soil lines of soil and potting mix at the same level.

Just my opinion and practice, and I feel I have had proven success using it. With the recently increasing threat of HVX virus, I feel suspect plants roots can be better controlled, and removed if necessary from soil, if the plant is in a substantial pot which is inserted into the soil. If it has to be removed and disposed of much less soil would need to be removed and disposed of than if it were planted directly into the soil.

One last note, related to my last point: In recent years I have used a post-hole digger when preparing a hole for planting hostas. It makes preperation much easier. A shovel is used for removing a hosta. Think about the anti-viral sanitation advantages of following this practice.

Les


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RE: Sinking pots?

It has become necessary for us to sink our pots in the ground rather than directly planting in the ground due to a terrible infestation of voles. We lost so many plants that we can't risk putting them in the ground any more.

Several of our hostas are planted in large ceramic pots and some in very large plastic pots that we leave above ground. We've found that they are the happiest of all the hostas we have. They emerge earlier in the spring and grow larger throughout the summer. The above ground ones winter well - haven't lost any due to rot. We have lost a few of the sunken pots due to crown rot I think. The soil did not drain as well as needed. We're currently working on improving the soil mix.

Kim

Kim


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RE: Sinking pots?

this is a VERY zone specific topic..

the OP is z4 ...

and z4 winter.. is a whole bunch different that z7 ...

read all answers.. but pay attention to z5 and colder answers .. IMHO ....

ken


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RE: Sinking pots?

I notice you are in zone 4, and that is totally different climate from my zone 9a. Here, I'm still learning, and I do not think my experiences will translate the same message for you. We do not have long periods of below freezing weather, or anyway not regularly....we did have a time of 14 days below freezing, at least at night. But the ground does not freeze like I'm sure it does where you are.

Of my more than 100 hosta varieties, only three are in the ground, the rest are all potted.

Photo taken of the courtyard first week of April. Many more
hostas added since then.
Hosta12Apr007.jpg


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RE: Sinking pots?

Moccasin-How in the world do you keep up with the water in the DEEP SOUTH! I�m in Zone 7, central Maryland. Here in July temps hover in the mid-90s with 75% humidity. Containers in the sun need water morning and evening. If I go away during that time I set every container in a baby pool with a few inches of water just to keep them moist. I can�t imagine the WORK 100 hosta in pots in AL would take.


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RE: Sinking pots?

Ken is right of course. I neglected to mention that when I overwinter a pot in the ground I do it in a sleeve. I've only done this the last 3 winters on a limited basis but it has worked. This spring I still have Liberty, Diana Remembered, and Cherry Berry buried in sleeves, but that is because I haven't been home to plant them properly.

Les


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RE: Sinking pots?

I have several hostas growing in clay and plastic pots above ground. I just leave them as they are during the winter. I live in northern Utah and we have freezing temps for weeks on end from Dec-Feb. Every year in the early spring I notice that one of the pots looks like a frozen ice block which eventually melts and I always think to myself that surely that hosta must be dead. But it isn't...comes back every year and grows great! I have never lost one in a pot but I have lost a few in the ground. The ones in the pots grow really well and come up much earlier than the ones in the ground.

Linda


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RE: Sinking pots?

I have lost a few, thinking back, but the ones I've lost have been ones I've left in totally unprotected nursery liner pots, in poor draining soil, and also they were ones that many people consider "difficult" hosta- Fireworks, Eskimo Pie, etc.

A few others left in hypertufa pots have sustained some damage from either being too cold or wet, but have survived. I've never lost one in a sunken pot, however.


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RE: Sinking pots?

I'm in zone 6. I wish I had thought to sink a large pot with Dream Weaver into the ground at least a few inches as it did not make it through the winter. However I do have several large shallow pots with minis and they have done exceptionally well living in pots over the last three years (not sunk in the ground).


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RE: Sinking pots?

Hostabuff, Do you think it died because it was too cold or because of crown rot? I am also in zone 6 and have overwintered 4 different plants in above ground pots for years and they have all been fine. I am planning on planting a few more in pots and now I am wondering if that's a bad idea.


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RE: Sinking pots?

when i moved out here.. i brought 1650 pots... ugggg .. thats a bunch of hosta eh???? [and dont start with the 'its a bunch of hostaS]

the problem with pots ... in winter.. in z5 [and i presume colder] .. is that they went in and out of dormancy... during the winter ..

the pole barn was at least z7 .. and they sprouted 2 moths early ... so i have to start moving them back out into z5 ..

and when i moved some outdoors ... as the media froze and thawed REPEATEDLY .... and it snowed and rained.. it held too much water.. and i lost about 100 to 150 sieboldiana/tokudama ... my blue collection .. because they HATE wet COLD feet when dormant ...

other than that.. it was easy and fun

i will yell.. I HATE POTS !!!!

its the HOLDING THEM OVER WINTER... that is the issue .. not the actual GROWING in them ... i would suggest.. you cant just forget about them.. like the ones in the ground ...

ken


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RE: Sinking pots?

Dray, you see how it goes here, this is my first full year of hosta gardening. However, I manage the same way you do, with a couple of baby pools. When I have really needy plants, I set them in the larger pool with deeper water. Plus soak them from the top to make it quicker.

I'll have to do a separate thread when I have more to show. Not really sunken pots, I tipped mine over and covered them with pine straw.


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RE: Sinking pots?

I have a a few sunk.
some are done that way because I know it's a temporary spot and it will be less transplant shock on the plant the following year, if I don't have to sever roots.

I have Fire & Ice in a pot in the ground since I'd lost 3 of them prior. It occurred to me that "hey, the always look good in pots". So, I decided to put nursery pot and all in the ground. It has done amazingly well so far.... about 4 years in that spot.

I should mention that I'd NEVER do this in a low spot in the garden where snow melt might collect.


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RE: Sinking pots?

I agree melissa-why plant a hosta in the ground in a short term temporary position and tear up the roots.

I haven't had a potted hosta, in the ground in sleeves, crown rot because of standing frozen water. Doesn't mean it couldn't happen. The sleeve system need be no more than a hosta in a nursery pot placed inside the next size larger nursery pot with the bottom cut out, sunk into the ground. I think the key is setting the pot with the potting media no lower than the surface of the ground (or prevailing high water line in winter).

I have found I have been able to recover a stressed hosta better not having it compete with maple roots or eaten by volesfor example, when potted properly. But again, that's a means to an end, not the end itself. To our friends to the deep South and the West Coast, if they want to grow hostases (just teasing ken) using pots is more than the means to an end.

Ken - what do you think about the quarantine of a suspect hosta with its roots contained in a pot before planting it in a garden? And PLEASE DON'T YELL unless you have to. In todays market I tend feel if I don't buy a hosta certified HVX free every hosta I buy should be quarantined. The way tags get mixed up I'm not even sure I could trust a "HVX Free" certification.

Les


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RE: Sinking pots?

Les, How long do you quarantine your plant for? I bought a nice Great Expectations at Lowes (yes I know) and the plant looks fine. How long before it will show signs of HVX if it has it? I figured I would pot it up and keep it in another spot far from the other Hosta until I know if it is ok.

Another reason I like to plant them in big pots is because most of the shade in my yard is from the neighbors giant cottonwood tree and it has such invasive roots that I can't really even dig anywhere near it. Potted plants at least make the area look nice since very few plants grow well anywhere near that tree.

Linda


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RE: Sinking pots?

Tropic_Lover,
I have not checked the pot yet, however I was wondering if a vole could have traveled up the drainage to eat the roots. I have also had hosta in much smaller nursery pots and they have survived the winter.


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RE: Sinking pots?

When I have done it, which is something I am considering doing more often, I'd like to see the hosta go through at least a full cycle including spring development so I know what weather it has been exposed to. I have seen too many funky looking leaves due to frost or freeze damage that I probably wouldn't recognize an HVX symptom.
My hosta collection is rather small at 60 varieties, and I am only strapped for space by the limitations of what space I have developed. If someone came in with eqt. a truckloads of garden mix I could easily double my collection without crowding. So I move slowly. I used to have a nursery patch with a mound of my opinion of optimum soil for hostas. My fastest maturing hostas spent a year or more in it before having a permanent home. The soil was so loose I could lift a plant for replanting without doing serious root damage setting a plant back.

I honestly can't truly answer how long is the right amount of time. HVX is almost like a crap shoot from what I have read. I think quarantining all purchases is unrealistic, but if it kept spreading HVX to my garden???

I'm not buying too many green bananas nowadays. Over 30 of my 60 hosta varieties are fully mature plants and not easily replaced. I would hate to loose them. I had to leave a mature T. Aureonebulosa in Arkansas when I moved to Illinois and as long as it takes that one to mature it was painful.

Time vs. HVX development would seem to have to have an inverse relationship: the longer you have one without symptoms of HVX the less chance it has HVX! But what that relationship is exactly, I have no idea. To make an accurate risk assessment it would have to be known to some reasonable degree of accuracy.

But rather than contaminate good hosta soil where hostas shouldn't be planted for a while? It seems to me containerising (potting may be only one form of containment) new purchases might be justified. If we can't get a handle on minimumizing the number of infected hosta being put on the market it may become something we all might have to consider. HVX is potentially that much a danger to our hobby! And I am inately an optimist.

I hope I never see that in my lifetime. In the meantime I'm rolling the dice just like everyone else. But potting all of our hostas is possible. Just ask out heat zone hostaholics. they are doing it now!

Les


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RE: Sinking pots?

i thought i made it clear.. but you never know...

my issue with pots is WINTER STORAGE ... and that was emphasis.. not yelling.. lol ...

i have no problem with pots otherwise.. other than i forget to water them sooner or later ...

and as to sinking them.. you better have a well draining soil ... so water can move thru and out the pot ...

ken


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RE: Sinking pots?

I have been very successful in using the post hole digger, putting in 2-3 inches leaf compost, cutting bottom 1-2 inches of pot, placing the exposed roots on the compost --and then pulling the pot 1-2 inches above ground. This gives me a 'water well' that I can fill during drought, contained space for Plant-Tone feeding, and the 2 inch above ground lip keeps some 'droopers' off the ground and slug attraction. My 25 'deck babies' are still in plastic pots that get placed in a sheltered space during the winter. They drain well and get placed back on the deck in Spring--never lost any (but that's in No. Virginia)


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RE: Sinking pots?

About 4 years ago, due to an ash tree's tenacious root system, I started planting small, medium, and large hostas in appropriately sized pots, pails. Some had holes drilled in them, some I did not. They are all doing very well and no rotting even with 1" or more of watering per week. I left about 1" of the pail sticking above ground.
I'm going to dig up 4 year old hostas under a hackberry and oak tree and plant them all in 5 gal pails or larger pots. They are pitifully little and some are even dwindling away to 2-4 eyes. I give them 1"+ of fresh lake water each week.
Peggy K


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