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List your lemons

Posted by MadPlanter1 5 Nebraska (My Page) on
Sun, Nov 11, 12 at 8:48

I was posting an answer to hmacflower's request for hosta suggestions, and realized there hasn't been a list of "bad" hostas in a while.

I made the mistake of planting Carnival and Snowcap, both lemons. They just get uglier every year.

I love the way Independence looks, but it's a pain in the neck, forever reverting and the charming little speckles are disappearing. It was choked with tree roots, so I'm hoping for better things next year.

Twilight is another beauty that just hasn't done well.

What hostas would you never plant again?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: List your lemons

It looks to me that poor performance of a hosta usually is tied to poor soil, some fungus in the soil, constantly soggy soil, not enough watering, too much light, too little light (for mostly white leaves), root competition from trees, virus, slugs, cutworms and nematodes eating the plant, rodents eating the roots, etc. In my case it helped to remove the hostas and pot them in a comfortable pot with a well draining mixture, dousing it with a fungicide does not hurt, then after a few months planting it in good soil and appropriate light in the garden.

White centered ones are slow growers because of too little green in the leaves, and need more than average sun.
Bernd


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Never say never - but I'm really not into the challenge of babying along plants that clearly don't want to be in my garden - we spend all summer at a cottage so plants that don't tough it out on their own just don't make the cut. 'Cherry Berry' dwindled this summer, 'Fire and Ice' was the very first hosta I ever trashed, and on my list of failures to thrive are 'Dancing in the Rain', and 'Ann Kulpa' and 'Pilgrim'. HOWEVER I admit that every one of these could probably be fabulous in the hands of a better parent, and for that I feel a bit guilty.
Jan


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RE: List your lemons

Mad Planter

This is a topic I have seen before on these forums and am always eager to glean info from, especially as a new hosta gardener.

But I have to ask for clarification. When you say lemon do you mean "it looked good when I bought it, but then I drove it for a couple of years only to be disappointed each year by more trouble and less appeal ?"

If so, then this is a different spin on the usual topic of fussy/difficult to grow hosta.

As most of us know Don Rawson has put out various lists grouping hosta into categories. I have found them to be a very useful reference tool when I make decisions as to what I would like to potentially plant and purchase.

I have included the link to his website below. There is a category called "difficult to grow" in which he details that on average the hosta listed are not the easiest or fastest growers. There are also two other useful lists called "drawstring hosta" and "sawtooth margin hosta".

If we go with my interpretation of your request, and list ones that aren't necessarily hard to grow but just seem to disappoint each year more than please, I would have to add Wolverine. I haven't even grown this one a full year and am already second guessing myself. I see other hosta such as Lakeside Dragonfly and think "oh that is a much more appealing version". I look at mature pics of other's Wolverine and am under impressed by what it grows into.

I am lumping it under impulse buy and getting Lakeside Dragonfly as soon as I can find someone who carries it.

Aside from my overly obsessive tendencies toward specific leaf patterns it was a great grower for those that don't share my opinion :)

Ludi

Here is a link that might be useful: Don Rawson Hosta Lists


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I was thinking "looked good as a youngster but got ugly" hostas. For example, my "Twilight" was so pretty for three years, one of my favorites. Now it's lost that beautiful dark green color and the leaves get ratty.

I meant "Snowcap", not "Snowtop". Looks like a bigger Carnival.

Sultana was beautiful when I planted it, but the new leaves were pale and had little or no border. It's a new plant, so I'm giving it a couple more years before calling it a lemon. Maybe it just needs time to get established.

Barbara Ann is getting less appealing every year. The margins are very thin and drawstring.

I'd list Liberty, but since everyone else loves theirs, I suspect mine is just a dud. It's still a one eye, four leaf wonder after three years. The hostas around it are all doing fine. If it's not bigger in 2013, it's getting replaced.

I've been kicking myself for passing on Lakeside Dragonfly, although so far Wolverine has been OK.

Love Don Rawson's lists. I see some of my problem children on the "Difficult to Grow" list as well as a few hostas I added this year. Hope it's not a sign of things to come. Some of the plants on the D-T-G list are things that have grown just fine, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.


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RE: List your lemons

A couple that 'looked good when I bought them in the spring but get ugly in the summer'...

Paul's Glory & Gold Standard


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Barbara Ann never added a new leaf the whole first year. Then, it didn't come back. It stayed too wet in the spring, but the performance was so bad, that by then, I didn't replace it. Radiant Edger was a bummer for me. I'm giving Ann Kulpa one more year. X-rated didn't grow at all, although it did well at the Arboretum. When the dog attacked it, I just threw it in th trash. It wasn't worth babying back to health.

Of course, I'm in zone 8 and I grow in pots, so my bummers may differ from those in different growing conditions.

bkay


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I only grow three of the ones listed here but I haven't had an issue with any of them. Cultural conditions, including depth, will always factor in.

A 12 year old Twilight in spring.

Photobucket.

It got darker as the weather warmed. Twilight can be a magnet for slugs, so my ammonia/water spray bottle is always handy.

Paul's Glory & Gold Standard in August.

Photobucket

They're not too shabby, just a bit worn (except where I nailed them with the lawn mower).

tj


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RE: List your lemons

One that I absolutely adore is Masquerade, and so far I fail to get it going. Of course, this is my first year with most everything. IF one of them grows out next spring, I'll hold my breath for it to make it all season long.

It is a white centered hosta, and my track record with white centers or even white margins is not doing very well. My problem may be seeking too much shade to avoid too much sun! It is really HOT down here.

I was told that Sugar Daddy was a disappointment, and I decided to put the two eyes into different pots and locate them in different conditions. So far, they are both doing fine, but not growing quickly. They are not yet dormant, just looking tired. Next year will be a better test.

My Paul's Glory reflushed nicely and still has a good look to it. But, of course, I have only pictures of it to compare my hosta collection to. No other gardens to view here. I think this photo was taken less than a week ago.


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Growing hostas in zone nine must be a real challenge. We had a hot, dry, miserable year here in zone 5, so I can't imagine what it was like where you live. My white centered hostas get a fair amount of sun. They get bleached out, they sometimes burn, but they do grow - except Sugar Daddy. It had two leaves all year long, but decent roots, so I'm giving it one more chance.

I saw your post about Gold hostas with green edges (or was it the other way around?) and discovered I can't identify the few pictures I did take. Next year, I'm "writing" on the photo. This well fried Orange Marmalade has a visible label.

Can't believe your hostas are still growing. Mine got frozen to the ground about Oct. 10th.


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Orange Marmy is a gorgeous hosta, as is Forbidden Fruit. I kept mine in mostly shade, so the white portion did not look very WHITE. After temps began moderating, I gave them more exposure to sun, and it seems to have extended their season.
Here is part of Orange Marmalade with Golden Meadows taken this month.

None of those are my lemons though.
However, if Patriot doesn't buck up, it is going on the lemon list.


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I have Minute Man. It's another one the dog got, but it already wasn't happy when she decided to "break it's neck". I woudn't buy it again, anyway. It wasn't nice, to say the least.

bkay


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BKAy, I agree with you on MinuteMan. I'm not happy with Patriot or Minuteman, and if they don't quite make it, so be it. When your garden has limitations, grow what works is the mantra.


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Minuteman works fine for me. Maybe it doesn't like the heat.
Photobucket

Steve


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Steve, I believe that has something to do with it. Most of my white margined hosta have issues. The yellow margins are fine. The green margins are fine, with yellow middles. But I have to figure the proper balance of heat and light. Which is why I'm backing away from a lot of the hosta with a lot of white in them. Frustrating, because I really like to have white flowers-- white caladiums might be added since they do very well here.

I have doubles of some hosta, bought intentionally to try different conditions. However, so many are looking really fine that I've decided not to stress out over what I cannot have easily. Maybe one day I'll understand what I need to do.


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Yeah, Moc! I don't do it as much as I'd like, but love trying the same hostas in different lighting. The color differences can be surprising, as well as growth rates. The only thing that holds me back is the size of the garden. I can barely take care of what I've got now. Of course, after the Great Tree Disaster (will post about it eventually) there's a big new spot that sure looks like prime hosta real estate.


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Photobucket

I am aware of Great Expectatios bad reputation among many. Mine, above, was planted this year and so far so good as it seems to be thriving. I wonder how it can become the best selling hosta of all time while being allegedly so finicky.

Is the reason it is best selling hosta of all times because so many people have tried and failed multiple times?

Jon


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RE: List your lemons

  • Posted by babka 9b NorCal (My Page) on
    Sun, Nov 18, 12 at 14:14

Jon- Just curious...where did you see that GE is the "best selling hosta of all time".

I've seen claims that it is the world's most beautiful hosta, but I would like to know who determined that too!

-Babka


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I had also read somewhere that GE was the best selling hosta of all time. A little research today brought me to Hostasdirect.com where they claim it to be the best selling hosta all time. Not sure whether this applies just to Hostas Direct, but they certainly make it sound like it is the best selling hosta in the US. Currently Amazon and Ebay have GE listed for sale and also claiming it to be the best selling hosta of all time.

This spring I saw a small, one eyed GE selling at a Canadian Walmart for $12.99. My first thought was that most people have no idea just how long that little hosta is going to take to get to a decent size! My second thought---it sure is pretty.

Anyone else have some information to share?


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Hostasdirect, Hirts on Amazon, Nextag mysimon, hostasiboldiana.weebly says it is one of the most beautiful and best selling hostas ever (which is argumentative if they mean it is the best selling ever).

I tried to find an industry source for sales, but could not. It is often repeated, however I don't know if is true or not. There is no doubt it is very popular and one of or the best selling hosta though.

Jon


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Sounds like marketing crappola to me. It was at the top of the AHS popularity poll in 1995, but it is typically around 20th now. It's possible that this was true at one time, but I seriously doubt it is true now. If you said June or Sum and Substance, then I might be inclined to agree.

Steve


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I was about to say "wishing will make it so."
Or......it is believed to be "most beautiful" and "best selling" by a fair number of sellers.

Self fulfilling prophecy? If you say it often enough, maybe the mantra will be accepted by word of mouth as the gospel?

I do not think it is an intentional perpetration of a myth. I think the catalogs and websites are looking for descriptions that make plants unique or noteworthy, and maybe buyers will be satisfied with that. The beat goes on.

I'll check out MYHOSTAS.BE and see what they have gleaned from their perusal of sales literature.

I'm with Steve on this.


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  • Posted by babka 9b NorCal (My Page) on
    Sun, Nov 18, 12 at 22:53

Myhostas.be is a WONDERFUL place that brings together all the published info on any specific hosta. BUT sales literature, although inspiring, isn't always factual.

"I think the catalogs and websites are looking for descriptions that make plants unique or noteworthy" said Moccasin, and that makes a lot of sense.

How many ways can you describe the white/green one and the green one and the green/white one, etc?

I'm amazed at some of the catalogs and their descriptions. I think Tony Advent of Plants Delight Nursery does it best or at least provides the most smiles.

-Babka

PS. Boy, has this thread evolved from the "lemons" subject. Oh, well, it is the "down" time for hostas and time to play around here on the forum w/o much happening?????


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Hey, Babka, with questions about the place of Great Expectations as the most beautiful and best selling hosta of all time, and the reality that lots of people report having "issues" or difficulties growing it to be gorgeous, it is only slightly off the lemon topic.

I remember all the posts where Ken reminds folks they cannot expect to grow it properly unless they live in Michigan. It is not one of the easy hosta, nor is it a particularly fast grower. Two very good reasons to continue to avoid it.....here in south Alabama at least. I have plenty to keep me busy already! :)


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  • Posted by babka 9b NorCal (My Page) on
    Mon, Nov 19, 12 at 1:06

I'm on my second one. ;-) Ken can't grow it and he lives in Michigan!

Enjoy this Wintertime lull in the board postings.

-Babka


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Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, but sales should be a number. However it seems that no one is counting. Individual companies surely must know how many they sell, but it seems the industry is not interested in sharing.

We can discuss it ad infinitum and no one could be proven wrong or right.

Great Expectations grows so well for me I bet you could grow it in a driveway.

;)


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A young Great Expectations is IMO a gorgeous hosta. It stands out among all the young hostas. I have seen people not hosta lovers buy it. I wouln't be surprised if it IS the leader is sales, and the biggest lemon the buyers have ever bought.

I am going, to start a new post about GE in pots.

ci lantro, I love Paul's Glory until it brightens to gold in late season. Les planted it next to Old Glory, for comparison. If you like PG's spring flush but not late season color, replace it with OG. You will never miss PG.
Theresa


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Great Expectations could be the top seller seeing as so many folks by multiples of it thinking this time it will grow for them.

tj


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Since Great E and Walmart were mentioned, our local NY state Home Depot had a whole shelf full of good looking multi-eyed GEs which did not sell. Finally at $4 a pot I could not resist, never got HVX from HD over the years, got planted in a corner.
Bernd


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'Great Expectations' made #20 on the AHS popularity poll in 2011. I don't know how many people vote in that poll, but those who do perhaps know more about hostas than the average gardener. So I suspect there must be more than Ken's 4 successful growers - perhaps a dozen or so!
Jan


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I wouldn't call my GEs lemons, but they do take more babying than most hostas. As long as they get a fair amount of light, fertilizer, and daily heavy watering, they do OK. I just wonder how many people are going to do that. Most folks think of hostas as an easy care shade plant. And there's a very fine line between "enough light for best color" and "burned to a crisp".


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I must say that one of my 2 GEs looks like the normal one, grows in dappled shade. The other grows in more sun, looks like GE in spring, burns a little, then has a second set of leaves which are streaked. Therefore, I bought another 2 inexpensive GEs, grow one in dappled shade and the other new one in more sun, and will try to learn what is going on.
Bernd


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When GE was in my composted garden it was SLOW, when I moved it under a large spruce and ignored it, it grew beautifully!
Most hostas do well here, Ivory Coast didn't make it, others I got rid of because they were slug bait, ie Medusa.
Heather


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