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hostas in central Florida

Posted by ocala-gardener zone 9 (My Page) on
Fri, Jun 25, 10 at 2:32

Just joined the forum as I am begining to grow hostas in central Florida after growing a variety of tropical flora in south Fl for many years. It is different here!. Mostly shady yard with large live oaks. Any tips for growing in this area. Can hostas thrive here? Thanks, Sandy


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: hostas in central Florida

Probably not a good idea,but there are several people here on the forum that grow them in the Dallas/Fort Worth area of Texas,but they grow them in pots,and only certain varieties. Hostas need a dormant period where it gets below 40 at night. Being a former Floridian myself,I never even heard of hostas until I moved here,so I never grew them down in Sarasota. Others may weigh in now with their thoughts. Phil


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RE: hostas in central Florida

I didn't know you couldn't grow hostas in this area until long after I stumbled into growing them in pots. We're on the cool side of zone 8, kind of on the border of 7 & 8. Give them a try and see what happens. I've had real good luck with some and not so good luck with others. I've lost the names of the ones I've had a long time. I bought a "so sweet" last year and it's done really well. I have a real common variety of big blue, not sure of it's name, but it does very well. (when it blooms, I am going to post it for ID as it's my best one.) "Sum and Substance" has done well for me. I would suggest you get them from Gilbert H. Wild. They have the more common varieties, they're about as cheap as hostas come and if you buy the bare rooted plants, the are multi-eyed. Don't count on all of them being named correctly, though. I ordered 5 "wide brims", I got 4 and an oddball. (they sent me another "wide brim", I hope)

If it works, you have great potted plants that come back every year. If it doesn't work, you dont' have a lot invested. I might ask for suggestions of varieties that do well in the heat. Folks on the list will be glad to help.

Oh, grow them on some kind of "pot feet", which seems to cure the slug problem.

Barbara

Photos below - the first is sum and substance. It has huge leaves and is chartruse (that's a 3x3 sticky note). The second is an unknown common emerld green variety that does very well for me. It blooms early with pure white blossoms. The third is my blue variety. These three photos were taken last spring, so the colors have not developed like they do later in the year. The last one is "so sweet". I have to admit that there were three plants in that pot. I accidentally ordered 3, so I just put them all in the same pot.

sum and substance?

unknown hosta 2

unknown hosta

So Sweet 2


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RE: hostas in central Florida

  • Posted by hey_j 6 Dayton Oh. (My Page) on
    Sat, Jun 26, 10 at 16:07

I just HAD to check this thread out, since I was born and raised in Ocala! Welcome to the forum Sandy! :o)

I graduated from Ocala High, (1965 ) now called 'Forest High' and I grew up on the northern end of town, closer to Anthony!
Not as far out as where John Travolta has a home, now, but within a few miles of his place (toward Ocala. Who knew--he could
have been a neighbor had I stayed home instead of marrying a yankee and moving 'north'!!! But then, I'd probably never have
gotten the chance to find out about hosta!! Gasp!!!

I sure hope you do pull off growing hosta in your area! I think the biggest problem will be their short winter dormancy--but,
I've heard some determined hosta addicts (living in the South) have even refrigerated their plants to give them more dormancy!!

Did you grow up in Ocala or move there from the North with an already well-developed love for hosta?

Hope you hang with us awhile, Sandy!!

Janice


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RE: hostas in central Florida

Hello and welcome. I agree with Barbara, it can't hurt to try. The theory is that containers allow cool air around the roots and that helps with winter dormancy. You might try some of those galvanized pots someone just mentioned on this forum. Fried Tomatoes, Fried Bananas, Wolverine, and Invincible are all early risers that don't seem to need as much dormancy. It has been a few years, but I have heard from a gardener in Houston who could grow hostas.


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RE: hostas in central Florida

Welcome Sandy. If you find out you can grow hostas in Florida, please be forewarned. The fact that Barbara has a "Zoloft" post it in one of her photos should signal that you are entering into an addictive desire - and we will only enable you!

Teresa


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RE: hostas in central Florida

Thanks for the welcome. I grew up in the Chicago area, WoodDale to be exact. My sister had the most beautiful hostas around her house, I always wanted to grow them. While looking at Lowes/Home Depot for shade plants I found hostas. Some were nicely potted and grown plants, some from bare roots. Some of the bare root plants (2 months in the ground) still have not sprouted although 2 came up in the last week. The others are doing well but I'm really concerned about slugs/snails since I have had some on my orchids. I hope they make it through the winter. If not, I will try some in pots next year. Thanks for the advice, Sandy


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RE: hostas in central Florida

Good AM all! I too will be trying my beloved hostas this year in my new yard in The Villages. Mine were big & beautiful in Maine. Just got eight root plants from Sams: "Zounds", "Yellow River" & "Mama Mia". Will pot them all this weekend and hope for the best.


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RE: hostas in central Florida

Sandy and NYnic,

Welcome. I would suggest you start with the plantaginea (fragrant) family of hosta that have their origins in warmer climates. If successful with these then lighter colored hosta as Barbara suggests might be your next challenge. Should you choose to accept it.

Pots would help give you better moisture control as you will need a lot of water.

Jon


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RE: hostas in central Florida

  • Posted by babka 9b NorCal (My Page) on
    Thu, Feb 21, 13 at 23:32

Why not give it a try. Oh, and WELCOME!

Just keep in mind that they do go dormant, and during that time you will need to tuck those pots elsewhere, so you don't have to look at pots with dirt in them when everything else is green. Also, they most likely won't get anywhere near as large as those in Chicago that you (and I) have seen.

Still, they are fun and adictive plants to grow. Why not try a few and see what happens? A fun adventure.

-Babka


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RE: hostas in central Florida

Hi, Ocala! Welcome aboard the Hosta Addiction Express!

My location is just south of I-10 in near-coastal Alabama, Mobile to be exact. You have the record as far as I know of being the furthest south poster on this forum.

I'm about headed to bed at this hour, but will think about the ones I'd recommend you grow. Like JonnyB says, the fragrant flowered hosta or plantaginea family of hosta, grow the best for me, so far. But I've really been doing this only for less than two years. I LOVE what I've discovered about hosta, and I was always before that growing sub-tropical things.

Look for another Floridian to show up, Paula over in Jacksonville, who goes by the screenname Ilovetogrow. So very pleased to have you join us.


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Yes you can grow them. I am headed to work but I will be back. Welcome Sandy. Great horse country out there in Ocala. Start buying pots. Paula


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I can't contribute to what our hot climate pot-heads are telling you except listen to them. i also can say a hearty welcome and warn you about the addiction: though not as cutely as Teresa did with the Zoloft post-it. tee-hee

I liked that Teresa in MN. :o)

Theresa in IL
ps: Janice, I like your smiley with the cute button nose also I hope you don't mind my borrowing it.. 'T'


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RE: hostas in central Florida

This makes me think of something not related to a new forum member, but it is concerning hosta in central Florida.

Okay, I looked at the membership list of the American Hosta Society and discovered another member just across Mobile Bay from us. I thought about this a bit, and a scenario came up which involves growing out tissue culture hosta and having masses of hosta ready for market at least a month earlier than the folks further north using their greenhouses to get a jump start on shipping to market. Not a nursery that sells their own product, I'm seeing this as a ripe possibility for a commercial grower located here in a milder climate, who will then ship to the (shudder) BIG BOX STORES or other nurseries whose own-grown hosta would not look as developed or vigorous that early in the season.

I guess as an amateur I am overlooking the logistics of commercial hosta marketing, but it sounds possible to me.
So. Am I naive? Or with good transportation to market, could it be profitable?


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RE: hostas in central Florida

One local grower here in zone 5, started growing hosta TCs in his greenhouses around February, for sale starting in May, so growing TCs early in Florida was not required. Bernd


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RE: hostas in central Florida

We once gave some Hosta to a relative by Bradenton FL. They lived for a few years, but gradually diminished to nada.

Now Bradenton is pretty much coastal, and Ocala is inland, and I know how the climate here in MI is dramatically different from the central highlands to the Big Lakes coastal lowlands, so perhaps and hopefully that will make the difference for you.

Bet ya most of us here are interested in what you find!

happy trails,

hh


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RE: hostas in central Florida

  • Posted by babka 9b NorCal (My Page) on
    Sun, Feb 24, 13 at 21:36

I just noticed that the original post was dated June 2010. I wonder what the results were.

-Babka


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OMG, Babka, are you kidding? Do I have to scroll all the way up there to read it.......and I was going to add something to what HH said about coastal and inland, air circulation, humidity, etc.

But now I'll just think about it myself a bit more.


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I totally missed that babs-nice catch.
Theresa


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RE: hostas in central Florida

How funny. I guess the results were not good for Sandy.

NYnic- I am assuming that you are also near Ocala? Watering is of the utmost. One has to be committed to that almost daily. Get a bubblier attachment and soak each pot good. And drainage is so vital also. It is raining in Florida today all day and sometimes torrential. Water has to drain fast. I drill extra holes in my pots to help with this. I use a mix of soil, perlite and pine fines, lots of pine fines. Did I mention the pine fines? OK. I use pots and only pots as I found I could not keep them moist enough and trouble with invading roots when they were in the ground. Keep it simple and they will grow. Watch out we will enable you. I get my pine fines where mulch is sold. Timberland is a good brand.

This post was edited by ilovetogrow on Mon, Feb 25, 13 at 20:08


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RE: hostas in central Florida

I live in zone 9B, Central Florida. There is a plant called Sun Hosta or tropical hosta that is made for our area. So far I haven't had luck having them come back, but i was just told these hostas need sun, and i have the one from last year in a shady spot. the one I bought this year is in a container garden in a sunnier spot, and doing great . Now I just have to figure out where to move the hosta from last year that is just really tiny and hasn't done much this year . Is there anyone on this forum who knows a lot about tropical hostas?


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1. I have not found a 'Tropical' hosta.
2. Hosta Sun Is usually sold by Wal-Mart in February. I have 2 and each is different. They have actually grown into a nice plant both.
3. Grow in pots. Do Not use anything moisture controlling as it is not good to use.
4. Drainage is of the utmost. You know what a Fla afternoon looks like. Downpours daily. I use a lot of pine fines.
5.You have to water all the time, unless a good rain and if only a couple of minutes rain? Get out there get that hose.
I have some who stay full sun till July 4. Morning sun if possible as it is softer. Afternoon shade with martini is considered best.
6. Feed. I give a MG in hose spray almost weekly. I do not over do it just a light snack.
7. I have over 200. I had to stop collecting as house renovations took over and a broken wrist. (hint: Lift pots with 2 hands) I was told they do not do well here and would not grow. I have lost 2. Treat them right and they come back. Some of my babies are 4 this year.
8. Read. Great group of people here. Glad to hear there is someone on this sand barge too. Welcome


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Hi Ilovetogrow,
In my are the two best nurseries are selling this tropical sun hosta. They told me it was developed by the University of Florida for our climate. The nursery I spoke to yesterday told me to put it in the sun, get it out of the shade, but morning sun is best. ??Sure sounds like a lot of work from what you said. Wish we had more varieties. I fell in love with hostas when visiting a friend in Virginia about 10 years ago. I have not seen the hostas in lowes or home depot. I do have one in a dish garden, but have enough pots ot worry about. I really need stuff in my landscape. They won't do well in landscape?


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RE: hostas in central Florida

Missylin, glad to see you on the forum.
I think the hosta is not actually "made" for the tropics, it is just tolerant more of a shorter dormancy. Because hosta should all have a dormant period below 40 degrees for about 40 days. And, the more heat tolerant among them have less chill requirements than the regular hosta.

BUT, that being said, while they are growing, I'd heartily recommend that the sun they get should be morning light. Then when they get tired in November/December, place them where your coolest spot is. And do not water them, protect them from winter rains. Otherwise, the crown will rot and not come back in the spring.

I live in Mobile, which is zone 9a now. I have about 400 (maybe a few more) hosta, and especially the plantaginea fragrant hosta do beautifully for me. The ones with morning sun stay looking fine for the whole season. The ones with afternoon sun wind up with burned or bleached out leaves. I like the yellow ones the best, along with the solid greens. I discovered that the white tends to burn off the leaves and in full shade it turns mostly green.

Your experience with the hosta is of interest to myself and several other hosta gardeners in the hotter zones. Please tell us how they winter over for you.


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RE: hostas in central Florida

missylin I will not grow in this sand. Mine started sinking down in the sand as the tree roots pulled them down. It was not going to be a winning situation. To keep them watered good you loose so much to the sand as it dries out faster. Pots are the only way to go. They are actually easy to care for which is one of the reasons I have them. I have had to beg for my vendors to get hosta for me. I mail order from good and reputable companies. Addictive and you can do it here in Florida.


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Hi love to grow.ammending the soil doesn't work? One nursery had tons of the tropical sun hostas but they are very large and $14. My other source doesn't have many since, maybe because they"'ll die back soon. I wanted them in my landscape, so will have to think this all over. Thanks for the sd ice. Wish we had more Florida hostas. Thanks!


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Hi mocassinlandinge, the one nursery I got my first older hosta from said to put in a shady spot. my screened in porch is shady and has a roof. It did not do well there. They knew I'd want a hosta as for years I'd been asking for them. I was always told they could not be grown here. It did so so during the growing sesson, but it did not come back. Last year I planted one behind ruella. It did fine during the season. During its dormant time the ruella drew tall and I guess the hosta is getting too much shade because its tiny. Now another nursery told me they need at least 4 hours of sun, so I will have to move that hosta. It is alive but has tiny leaves and no shape. My newest hosta I have I got in June. It's in a large dish garden that has white stones on top, i guess to help with drainage. it is in an area that gets sun, but not that super much. Its on the north side of my house and It is doing well. I was told by one of the nurseries the tropical hosta is the only one we can grow regardless of whether it comes back. That no other type will take our heat that includes warm humid nights. Our nights can still be in the high seventies and super humid now. If I should not water the hosta in the winter I have a problem as it is the star of the dish garden . I bought the dish garden with a gift certificate to the nursery i received for my birthday. In the dish garden growing sort of below the hosta, is a leafy beautiful purple plant, which is trAiling. They are gorgeous together. I would need help getting it out of there and pitting it back next year. I am worried. I had visions of hostas in my garden. Now I don't know what to do. I am sad.


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RE: hostas in central Florida Need quick advice

can someone please tell me what kind of dirt to put the hosta in that I'm taking out of the ground today. What should I put in the pot to help it drain well with the dirt. We don't have to worry about winter rains, I think. Unless they are allowed no rain at all. Winter and spring are drought months. It seldom if ever rains. Its our summer that is the rainy season. But if it does rain I can move it in the winter.


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RE: hostas in central Florida

Missylin,when you pot them up, you don't use the dirt from the ground at all. In your case, since you are even further on the frontier of hosta growing than we are, I'd do what Paula (Ilovetogrow) said.

The recipe that I use is MiracleGro but NOT with "moisture control" which retains the water. You will be trying to wash away the salts and such that collect in a pot.

As for the winter, hosta will go dormant. In fact, they might even go HEAT dormant in the summer, if they get too hot. So while the nursery may tell you to keep them in sun, under no circumstances does that mean afternoon sun, which is very hard on these plants. Even Hosta 'Sun' should get only dappled morning light.

My potting mix is the MiracleGro, to which I add some of the bark fines. Bark fines is a term for well broken up pine bark that is almost composted but still looks like bark. It is smaller than what I find at Lowes labelled "mini bark nuggets" and it appears trashy to be honest! Paula mentioned a brand Timberland, but I've not found it in Mobile.

Hosta look very tropical, but they are definitely not a tropical plant. They need the coolness below 40 if possible. And the ones which thrive up north like to have at least 6 weeks of nights that are that cool. If you have a spot on the north side of your house where you can keep them (away from the outdoor heat pump unit) just plop the pots there. Keep them out of the sun, and do not give them any water once the tops die back. I imagine that would be from maybe mid December to perhaps mid February for you. When you check the pot and notice some little green pips poking through the soil, turn them upright and allow it to rain on them but don't yet begin to water them. Last winter I turned my pots on their sides to prevent rain from rotting the dormant crowns and roots. However, I lost some anyway because the squirrels (or perhaps you might have armadillos) dug them out and they dried in the air. This year I am planning to put 1/2" hardware cloth over each individual pot.

Perhaps you might consider a raised bed for some of your plants, including the hosta. If I don't have shade, I create it with a big patio umbrella. They come in handy for that, and might help keep sun and rain off the hosta during the winter. If you have only a few plants to worry about, perhaps you could place them in an unheated ventilated space where heat does not build up. This August I created my first raised bed for the hosta, which I'm testing in the ground. I put a deep layer (6-8 inches) of the mini pine bark mulch down after the soil had been dug clean of the roots. Then I put bags of the composted cow manure on top of that, about 8-10 inches after it was spread. It was fluffy, so it settled as it rained on it. I put in my hosta and topped the bed with another 3 inches of mini pine bark nuggets. I kept the bark away from the bottom of the plants. And, in my case, I liberally sprinkled the crushed hot peppers (the kind you put on pizzas and HOT) around them beneath, because the squirrels love to dig in soft soil. The pepper needs refreshing as time goes by, especially if it rains a lot.

We have a rainy winter, so tipping the pots was my approach last winter, and the winter before that. I lost a few hosta, but that can happen in any climate. I've grown hosta for only two years, so none of mine are mature YET.

There are hosta which have less need for a long and cold dormant period, but they will all go dormant as part of their nature. You might look for the ones labeled as fragrant , because they come from the plantaginea species. This species originated in the warmer parts of China (relatively speaking warmer, not tropical), and have less need of a cold period. They arise earlier, and they need the longer growing season that our climate can provide so liberally.

Do not despair. You can grow hosta. Realize, however, that you are on the far frontier of hosta culture. It is all a learn-as-you-go process. I'm sure other folks in your area buy the Hosta 'Sun' too, but you are the first to bring your questions to the forum. If you drive around your city and see a hosta, perhaps you can strike up a conversation with the gardener, ask how they deal with the winter dormancy. You might find out that they treat hosta as annuals and replant young plants from the nursery every year. They will be missing the process of the hosta maturing, and believe me, if you like your young plants, just wait until you see it show off as a mature one!

I have a Flickr photostream under the name MoccasinLanding, which you are welcome to peruse. Mostly about HOSTA, which is a passion that is all consuming. So you see how my garden is arranged for 400 POTTED HOSTA. With big umbrellas, and with tropical plants such as bananas, elephant ears, bromeliads, palms, blueberries, cannas, and ferns. It is a learning process for me, the reverse of keeping things WARM in winter, now I'm seeking COOL for the hosta.

Show us what your garden looks like, or how you want to use your hosta. Pictures are worth a thousand words.
:)


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Hi Moccasinlanding,
It will be 80 during the day here well into October, maybe even November. it is still not far below 80 at night in late September. The nurseries here have a growing soil that I think is less moisture conserving than miracle grow. Should i get that. I also have a Faford (i think that's the name) potting mix. My Miracle Grow is moisture, so that's the wrong one. I also have a "100% organic Garden Soil" one local nursery sells. It says "adds texture to sand, loosens clay soil." Or I could get something else.
I have 3 shady areas. My Magnolia tree is in teh west, but under it is always shady, next I have the north side where the little hosta is, but I could move it to a less shady spot on the north, In the east, I just removed a huge clump of creeping juniper. Half of that area is under a ligustrum tree.It gets some morning sun, not a lot. Directly under the ligustrum tree it never is sunny, but this other place where the juniper was . gets different amounts of shade depending on time of day. I am going to use the sunniest part to add new daylilies.. I just went out and took photos of each area with the ipad and then remembered you can't attach pictures here but have to use stupid photobucket, and I don't remember how.. I know for certain no other kinds of hostas can survive our weather except this so called Tropical Sun hosta. Strange that the one nursery told me me they need 4 hours of morning sun and everyone here seems to be saying no. This Tropical hosta is the only one sold here at all, and few places carry it. I just noticed what will be a bloom on my "new" hosta which I got in June. It is in a dish garden in the north. It gets sun on and off there during the day, but not intense heat. My home email is lin2@cfl.rr.com if someone could please explain photo bucket to me again. I am hoping they will develope more hostas for my climate. I know they die back, but our "tropical hosta " is at least a Hosta. But I love the green ones with the big leaves.


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RE: hostas in central Florida

use the GW search for PBucket info ...

of my 1500 ... about a thousand came in the mail ... as you realize.. you are not going to find them local .... and i suspect.. your local nursery peeps are NOT going to be highly educated on them ... thank the Lord you found us ...

refer to plant delight nursery.. for info on hosta in the south ...

ken


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I know for certain no other kinds of hostas can survive our weather except this so called Tropical Sun hosta.

I do not know what I am going to tell these hostas. And I am in Jacksonville! I will give you the best advice: Nursery people are in business to sell. I keep both ears open to filter the junk. You are not going to find any hostas for sale. I have to ask for them and mail order the most in. Hallson is great. Green Mountain. I buy by eye and seem to be doing ok here. Relax it can be done.


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RE: hostas in central Florida

Missylin, I think someone is "spoofing" you. I checked the University of Florida horticulture website and there is no information about trials of hosta or a breeding program for hosta. There were no hits on a yahoo search for "tropical sun hosta".

Hosta "Sun" or "Sunhosta" is a hosta that is a trademarked brand name that is patented by Grolink. It is a sport of hosta "So Sweet". (I can actually see no differences between the two.) It is in the trial garden at the Dallas Arboretum. Grolink is out of Oxnard California.

It's possible that the nurseries were told that story about U of F, but I found no evidence to support it. (Think a salesman might stretch the truth?) I researched the "Sun" hosta when I saw it in Dallas a couple of years ago.

It actually did hold up well in the heat. That was the year that we had so many days of over 100 temperatures and no rain. However, so does "So Sweet", it's parent plant. "So Sweet" is a hybrid of "Fragrant Bouquet" and an unknown plant. "Fragrant Bouquet" would do well for you, I'm sure, as would So Sweet. They are similar in looks, though. All mentioned are fragrant hosta.

I think you are the victim of an exaggerated sales pitch.

bk

Sun hosta at the Dallas Arboretum in August 2011


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RE: hostas in central Florida

Thanks BK. this does not look exactly like our hostas, but close. These two nurseries are very honest. But maybe the one nursery was told the story by the vendor.one I believe calls tropical hosta or maybe Tropical Sun hosta.i did notice the ones on sale this year some are white on the perimeter of the leaves, and some are a light yellow on the perimeter.i think the leaves do not have the ripple effect the leaves in the photo appear to have .i will check into the others you mention, but I would like to have ones that look different .I'd love the deep green all one color rippled ones. I wrote the nursery Ken mentioned. Someone said they were from Jacksonville. I am over three hours south. There winters have many more cold days. I have not had a single freeze in 4 years.


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RE: hostas in central Florida

Missy, I gave up on Photobucket when they redid their format. I use Flickr now. However, the code you must use to insert into the text of your post is the HTML code, where ever they hid it, that's what you need.

But, you can also upload one picture per post with the GWeb Image uploader.....it is right beneath the blue line which says POST A FOLLOW-UP....."Browse" and find the picture you want to share from your computer.

There is an app for the iPad and Android to directly upload from your phone or tablet direct to Flickr, I'm sure there is the same sort of thing available for Photobucket, if you wish to continue using them.

And about the fertilizer....Fafard is probably the best of the mixes. If you have access to it locally, go for it. I wish I could find it locally....

I recommend that you take a look at the hosta pictures in the Hosta Library, I'll give you the link below. You really came to the right place to get help growing hosta---although not many people have the first hand experience growing hosta under conditions that the deep south hosta must endure. However, we have access here to people who hybridize hosta, who've sold them professionally for years, who have won awards for some hosta, who do research on hosta. I realize that their years of hosta knowledge jump started my understanding of growing hosta. in south Alabama. Paula (Ilovetogrow) and I are south of I-10 and seriously growing hosta, and we are pleased to hang out here with experts and hobbyists. Even without being an expert, forum participants are always willing to tell it to you pleasantly but straight.

Don't get hung up on putting your hosta in 4 hours of sun a day. That's not the prime issue. One hour of our sun is like a day of sun in a more northerly climate. Put it out there and watch it go heat dormant. Won't kill it, but it will go to sleep to wait for a cooler location.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hosta Library


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RE: hostas in central Florida

I am following this thread carefully as I have outlaws and in laws in Central Florida. I am going to be really interested in finding out how they can have some of our wonderful hostas!

hh


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