Return to the Hosta Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Hosta Survival

Posted by MstrPBK 4 (My Page) on
Sat, Dec 28, 13 at 15:57

What is considered a good survival rate of hosta? Is there a difference between ground bed survival and raised bed survival for hosta? I know that winter conditions can effect this outcome but what about the growing location itself? One might add to those two: survival by driveways, streets, beside buildings, and out in the open as well.

As I raise Hosta in a raised bed against a building I found that between the 2012 to 2013 seasons I had a survival rate of 56% (from 18 to 10) which by anyone�s standards for hosta is bad if not questionable. I have guesses as to what happened but they are not discussable until I see what happens between 2013 - 2014 seasons. My 2013 - 2014 prediction for survival is 86% and obviously that has yet to be seen.

One person has suggested a 90% rate is reasonable thumbnail for survival. What do others think?

Peter Kelley
St. Paul MN USA


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Hosta Survival

in your zone.. with winter dormancy and all.. there is no reason why you should not have 100% on established plants.. and near 90% on new plants ... properly planted ...

when do yours die ... winter.. spring.. summer???

how deep is the planter... i got just a glimpse in your video.. how about a picture ....

is there drainage in your planter.. i hope its not raised sides on a see-ment pad ....

what are you growing in??? dirt or media ...

how do you plant them .. bare root them??? .. or stuff in a pot full of media into soil???

how do you water ...

so many questions.. so little space and time ...

ken

ps: have you read the prior 67 pages of posts??? ...


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

Similar to what Ken writes, I also have close to 100% survival. I have no hostas growing very close to a building. Perhaps that raised bed has water puddling up, perhaps rain from a roof onto frozen soil with hostas in it = crown rot? Bernd


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

I would think you should have almost 100%, too, in St. Paul. Not counting what my darling demon doglet, Cleo, did to my hosta last year, I would think I have 90 to 95% success rate in pots in Texas. (Not an optimum situation.)

Are they rotting? Do they just go away and not come back? Do they wane until nothing is left? Are you starting with liners? What happens?

Your loss rate should not be that high.

bk


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

Pete,

Unless you are growing a Hosta with a reputation for being difficult (like Great Expectations) you should have 100% or very close to that. I'm guessing you've got a drainage issue with your "raised bed." That's the only thing I can think of that would give you a 56% survival rate.

One other thing. Are you starting with decent sized plants? If you are buying "liners" or first year tissue culture plants, that might explain your survival rate. Make sure you are buying plants from sources that give you 2 or 3 eyes with well developed root systems.

Steve

This post was edited by steve_mass on Sat, Dec 28, 13 at 18:36


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

i told you.. in the other post.. i coped with 1650 pots... and my loss ratio ...

the death was mostly blues.. your BM conundrum??? ... who sprouted early.. and then repeatedly got frost-froze ...

i am wondering about your raised bed ... next to a south facing wall.. with cement on either side.. in spring sunshine .... bringing your hosta out of dormancy too early.. and them getting slaughtered by a z4 spring ...

many of the sieboldiana/tokudama heritage.. simply dont like wet soggy cold roots ... do you know how to look up heritage????

more facts please ... and a pic of that plot....

ken


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

Yes, I did a search on the theme of 'Hosta Survival' but nothing seemed to touch on this aspect of the topic.

My losses seem to be mostly in the spring from wintering over.

The raised bed is as it seems (a short 2 feet high) with NO concrete base - the water flows directly through; or so we were told when I moved in 22 years ago. Even during torrential rains which have flooded the apartment (twice) the water from the apartment AND the raised bed does not stay long. In both events the water had drained from raised bed before the water had been drained from the apartment (two hours at most). This reinforces the belief that there is only direct water motion from the surface of the garden bed down through it to foundation dirt.

Bernd raises a interesting point which has never crossed my mind primarily due to the flow through of water from the rain and watering. The raised bed does sit directly below the roof line of an adjacent access ramp to reach the upper floors of the building. I have always cherished the extra water for the hosta. While non-freezing water does not stand there long - Ice in the spring does exist from snow removal in the winter, ice piles from the roof as it melts; and in addition to the water that might stand if the ground were still frozen - this makes sense.

In defense of the raised bed ... the ice does seem to melt seemingly evenly. If there is any deviation it is from the building wall out to the 'front edge' of the raised bed. The building does produce heat which melts the snow, Ice, and softens the ground thus permitting what might become standing water to flow through in the spring.

May I point out that even flat ground gardens get ice from packed snow and freezing conditions below that. Both I think thaw in much the same manner. I view both possible scenarios to be similar (a ground level garden and my raised bed).

Non-the-less I will have to watch this natural process very carefully this coming spring. If I have recurrent freezing I am unsure what can be done to de-stress the plants since I am dealing with a natural condition; but let's deal with that later when I, or we, have a better grip on what might be happening.

Thank you for your input and thoughts.

Peter Kelley
St. Paul, MN USA


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

I have crown rot occasionally and have thought a lot about that. I think that frozen hostas in frozen soil with water standing on it and repeated thawing/freezing creates that. In the back I had some low spots, and plants got crown rot in those spots. So when you plant in a raised bed, the soil with the hostas should be higher than the frame to let water run off. In my back yard I created a long dry creek to carry water away.
So you do not have working gutters, but rain, snow and ice fall from the roof on that raised bed with the hostas - does not sound good to me.
Bernd

This post was edited by berndnyz5 on Sat, Dec 28, 13 at 19:17


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

Ken keeps asking for a photo ... so here here we go ... June, August and October. It would seem I can only post one Image at ta time from this location ...

So here is June ...


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

Here is August ...


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

and now October ...


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

  • Posted by Dgregory 6A - So.Central IL (My Page) on
    Sat, Dec 28, 13 at 19:33

The sides of the raised bed look like concrete. It might be similar to the challenges of overwintering a flower pot or container. The top media thaws but inches below is still frozen solid. Standing rain, thawed ice and snow rots the crown.

Just an observation.
Deb


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

Peter,

To me that looks more like a large sized container than a raised bed, and I would treat it like one. Firstly, I would not use soil or dirt in the mix. Instead I would use a mix with a large amount of bark in it. Something like Fafard 52 mix. Make sure the dirt underneath the mix drains well enough. Then I would use a fert like Osmocote on this bed.

For winter I would cover this bed with a tarp. Do not allow it to get snow, ice and rain on it. Remove the tarp temporarily in the Spring on days that are over 32 degrees. Alternatively, use a spun bound polyester frost blanket in the Spring as the plants may begin to grow earlier than the rest of the garden.

You've got a great place to grow Hosta there. But you must treat it like a container, instead of a bed.

Steve


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

Great advice from Steve there.

Don B.


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

To those who are following this ... there really is no concrete base to this raised bed. One of the first Gardening Chairs of the residents here opened a raised bed up and found that it was soil all the way down.

Steve -

Last fall I asked around about using a tarp or some kind of cover for the bed and those I talked to said, 'Hosta don't need tarps. they will be fine as they are ... ' (no offense to your observation). Needless to say my concern about the loss rate has been on my list of concerns for some time.

Thinking outside of the box: Let's take this from another angle ... IS or MIGHT Blue Mammoth MORE prone to crown rot? Sum and Substance ... Golden Tiara, Little Sunspot, and 'venusta' are all on the roof line found on the right side of this garden, and they survived the winter - these plants are very successful where they are at. Frosted Mouse Ears also failed on that side of the garden. Maybe this is what is being demonstrated in my gardening exploits!?

- - - - -

Are we talking in terms of a tarp similar to a 'painters tarp' or something different?

Might some one be able to give me product type reference for the 'spun bound polyester frost blanket' so that I know what is being referred to here. It is an entirely new concept to my eyes since we are typing!

To everyone else .... you might be surprised to learn this is actually a south side gardening space!

Since this is inner city location I to would expect a higher survival rate than 56% for my garden; keep in mind I only had 18 varieties that year. This is the first group of hosta growers who I have heard insist on the fact that there can be a 100% survival. I find this just a little hard to swallow - but pauseable.

Peter Kelley
St Paul, MN USA


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

Below is a link to Johnny's Selected Seeds. The fabric is also called Row Cover and it's widely available. I doubt if Johnny's is the cheapest place to buy it. But they likely have a good selection of different weights and level of protection. I would only use this in the Spring for protection from frost.

The tarp would be anything that keeps the bed dry. You might need to lay boards underneath and weight it well to keep the snow from collapsing it. The point is that Hosta need little or no water during dormancy. Crown rot happens when a pot or enclosed area freezes and then late Winter or early Spring rains collect in that area. The water sits in that area and causes the crown of the plant to rot. It's not just Blue Mammoth. It can and will happen to any Hosta and many other plants as well. This is the reason why many Hosta growers who overwinter pots here in the Great White North will tip the pots on their side during winter. When you have a container that is too big to be tipped, you cover it for the same reason. Thus the tarp.

More questions? Ask away.

Steve

Here is a link that might be useful: Johnny's Seeds - Row Cover


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

Hi Peter,

To those who told you 'Hosta don't need tarps. they will be fine as they are ... ' Well... I would look at your poor survival rate and wonder if Steve may have an excellent point. The reason he's suggesting the tarp/covering makes a great deal of sense to me, as does his point of view about treating your planting area as a big container. Keep that extra moisture OUT of your planting area, whatever you want to call it. TOO MUCH WATER, freezing and thawing, poor drainage combined with dormant roots/crowns, I'd bet anything THAT is what is causing rot and killing your plants during winter and early spring. It really does not matter whether your bed has a concrete bottom or it's soil all the way to China; The high walls are what is making the conditions play out like it's a pot(Like Deb wrote)! I guarantee that if you gravitate towards what Steve suggested, you'll lose less hostas, and the ones you have will be happier, and thus grow better and more robustly.

As far as 100% survival rate goes, I'm sure it's possible, and happens frequently. My first year of hosta gardening, I bought 73 plants. All but 3 came back in 2013, being planted in 2012. I now have about 165; I'll let you know the survival rates in the spring.

Not trying to twist your arm, it's your garden, my friend. I hope all your plants come back this spring. Grow them however you see fit. But it sounds like you're asking for advice, and I'm telling you telling you telling you, Steve knows what he is saying, as do so many of the peeps on this forum. His suggestions are very appropriate for your growing conditions.

Best of luck, Peter. Most of all, have fun and welcome to the forum. I hope your hosta gardening is a true success!

Best Regards,
Don B.


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

Well, TARPS are usually waterproof. Painters drop cloths are something totally different, perhaps canvas.

One thing I'd point out is if it is possible for the ''container'' to be contaminated with road salted slush, then I'd for sure get a plastic tarp and keep it as SteveMass suggests.

It is the one solution offered which deals with all the issues you've pointed out. ''Nah, hosta don't need no steeenking tarp.'' They tough, right enough. But it seems to me that it would look better than dirty ice and snow. And not harm the hosta. I'd say you have a perfect setup for crown rot as it is now. If it was me, I'd try it.....unless you enjoy buying new plants every year. Something to be said for that philosophy if you like to shop.........:)


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

OK so painter's tarp is NOT what is being talked about here. Could someone give me a link to an example of the type of 'tarp' being suggested here. LInks and examples help me (and maybe others) understand what is being discussed.

In this case there is less than 5% chance of road, street, or sidewalk chemicals being involved here.

Bernd (trying not to be rude), you don't need to talk down to me to suggest that what is being encouraged is pretty solid advice. And I do fully understand that. I think I have acknowledged to you (and others) that the late winter/spring water movement maybe the center of the issue. I have yet to examine the water at this time of year, and see of the comments fit with the observations. This is not something one fixes with a snap of one's fingers - in this case it may take 10 months to get things in line to try for next year.

The readers may also want to note (said earlier) that I am heading into this spring with the hopes of having a 86% success rate based on last years bedding of the plants. Between next spring and next fall I can identify the materials to bed these plants down with in the hopes of reaching that 100% success rate that people here say is reachable.

Peter Kelley
St. Paul, MN USA


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

I'm thinking a weather resistant basic blue tarp would be ideal...

Don B.


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

I'm not talking down to you, Peter. (You DID mean me and not Bernd, yes)? Obviously your problem is root/crown rot, and Steve's ideas will fix what ails your garden. Look at all the responsesto the issues you describe, Peter. They all suspect rot.

Didn't mean to offend you, Peter. My apologies. Just very enthused and excited that Steve's response was spot-on about what you need to do to fix your survival rate. Just trying to help.

Cheers,
Don B.


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

First I don’t want to start a fight. What I am about to do is to try to put some order to the prevention of Crown Rot and to do that I need to make an observation.

What is being said here is that Crown Rot occurs predominately because of standing water, and for this discussion we're talking early spring waters from thawing and freezing, and shifting snow from a roof.

It has also been suggested that “Row Cover” might be useful for the spring phase of this prevention process. If that is so then what I am reading as product description for Row Cover seems to be contrary to what would be used in this situation. The description from Jonny’s Selected Seeds reads: “Fabric row covers are lightweight blankets made of spunbonded polypropylene which is sunlight, rain and air-permeable. …” Permeable generally means to permit ‘x’ thing through. If the goal is to keep Hosta dry until the frost has passed then is this not counter productive for use - or maybe I am missing something in the discussion.

Peter Kelley
St. Paul, MN USA


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

Peter,

I'll try to be clearer. The Row Cover would not be for preventing rot. That's what the tarp is for. The reason I might use Row Cover in the Spring is that it's possible that the tarp will cause the plants in the container/bed to begin to grow earlier than those that are in the ground. Therefor they may be more susceptible to frost damage. I'm talking about later in the Spring here. You don't have to use the Row Cover. A little frost damage on the leaves won't kill your plants. It's just something that I would do if that were my bed.

Here's hoping you get better than 86% over this winter.

Happy growing,

Steve


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

Peter, WOW, you wrote "Bernd, you don't need to talk down to me". I only explained my experience with my planting, and I still have to change some locations. I learn as I go, that's all. I thought you might like to benefit from it. I am not a guy who talks down to anybody for anything.
I.e. I believe I have voles, 3 plants are shrinking, just went to 3 Dollar type stores, but could not find those wire waste baskets.
In gardening we all love advice from all people!
Bernd


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

A note from another 100%-survival rate hosta grower in zone 5, Ontario, Canada.....Steve cannot be any clearer than his last post. His advice is based on knowledge, experience and common sense. As a matter of fact, everyone's input rings the same.

I was surprised by your statistics when I first started reading...and my automatic reaction was that I am sorry you lost any at all. The responses should assist you in dealing with this problem. We all hate to hear of anyone losing hosta, for any reason. By the way, when it comes to the spring overnight frosts, a bed sheet or two will do to protect the emerging plants. This past spring my front and back yards looked like Bed n Breakfast Central...bed sheets all over the place but no frost-bite on hosta!!! :-). Wish I had taken a picture.. However, as Steve mentioned, frost-bitten hosta may look a bit unsightly but they survive just fine.

You have some nice hosta there. Fingers crossed that they ALL come back for you. Please keep us posted? Last but not least - WELCOME TO THE HOSTA FORUM!

Jo

Don, I love the delivery guys with the tarp!! Lol


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

Duplicate, sorry.

This post was edited by josephines67 on Sun, Dec 29, 13 at 10:02


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

hey pete ...

many of us have been hanging around here for years ... a great group of friends ... we josh and kid each other.. and often.. when new peeps come along... we continue such ... but it does NOT translate thru the medium of typing... for the newbie to understand it as such ... please try ... nothing pleases us more.. than to hook a newbie.. and enable them to the detriment of there checkbook ... lol ...

trust me.. that no one who has responded to you.. is some troll.. set to piss you off ... we want to help.. and we each have our own personality ... if you give us time.. and some patience.. you will soon get up to speed on this ...

ok????

if you want to put more than one pic in a reply.. you need a photo sharing site like photobucket.. to host your images.. if you are going to rely on GW... one per reply is it ...

you gotta love these peeps.. i set the premise... along comes my good friend steve .... agrees.. supports.. and adds the rest that i was too lazy to type.. and my other good friends here give him the triumph.. and declare him Caesar ... lol .. whatever ...

BTW ... i am sure a few of the others... have been waiting for this.. you know.. lol.. hosta are so sturdy ... that you could leave most of them.. in a pile of dirt on the driveway.. all winter.. and they will survive ... lol .. there .. i feel better ...

which... given that .... then leads me to what you 'created' .. that is interfering with their superman-like hardiness ... and all i can come back to... is the raised bed ... the reflected/retained heat off the house.. and the reflected/retained heat and sun off the surrounding patio ...

setting a tarp on top of it all.. is simply going to create more heat.. in spring sunshine ... if you could tarp to make shade... OFF the bed itself... what others might call a shade house.... you would.. IMHO ... be on the right track ... but i failed wildly.. trying to build such.. in winter.. in MI ...

they want to reduce water... i want to reduce heat ... breaking of early dormancy ....

one of the things i like to say.. regardless of the plant.. is .. GET IT DORMANT.. KEEP IT DORMANT ... as late into spring as you can.. for your zone ... the bed is forcing them out of dormancy early and i think that is your base issue ...

as an aside.. if you fert'ed late into fall ... that would be a complication .. as your plants may not have properly hardened off.. increasing the potential for spring rot .... [if so.. they are actually rotting now.. but being totally frozen in your zone.. it wont show until the soil starts to heat] ....

maybe more later.. after they give laurels to someone else ... lol

ken


 o
RE: check out the post i just ran across in the perennial forum

go for it

ken

ps: its like de ja vu all over again ... who said that.. yogi or boo boo???

pps: dont forget.. there arent any special rules for hosta.. its just a type of perennial ... so you might want to find other forums where you might gleen pertinent info.. though we sure wouldnt want to lose you .. lol ...

Here is a link that might be useful: link


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

  • Posted by Dgregory 6A - So.Central IL (My Page) on
    Sun, Dec 29, 13 at 12:14

Peter, might I suggest that if you opt for a tarp to cover your raised bed, a tan color tarp might blend in better and be more aesthetically pleasing than blue. Tan or blue tarps should be readily available at department stores such as Walmart or a farm supply store. See the link below for a tarp example.

Also, if you are handy, have the tools and space to do so, perhaps you could construct a peaked wooden frame to hold the tarp in a tented fashion...similar to the rafters of a home. This would hold the tarp up off the plants/bed and also shed the rain/snow/ice so it doesn't puddle on top. If you use screws to hold the lumber together, you could de-construct and store the frame work boards more compactly when not in use...

I hear your frustration with the mixed advice from the local gardeners and then from gardeners here on gardenweb. Our intentions are to help with suggestions. Sometimes when typing a message the tone comes off as harsh or condescending. We are truly simply taking an interest in your hosta survival rate and in no way intending to insult you or your raised bed.

You have time to research and observe your raised bed conditions this winter/spring. Take notes on dates, temps, snow and rainfall and keep in mind that each season/year may be different from the previous.

Your raised bed pics show a pretty garden, something to be proud of. Best of luck to you. Please stay with us and start a new post in the spring to let us know of your observations and progress.

Deb

Here is a link that might be useful: tan tarp


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

I don't know about a tarp. Somehow I imagine the rain getting in there anyway.

The hostas that you say have done well, at least two of them, are rhizomatic and maybe (just guessing) less effected by drainage. I think everyone says drainage because its winter and we all just went through preparations for overwintering our hostas and its on our minds. In spring you can give us information on missing hosta. Are they just gone (hosta thief?) or is there a sickly plant that slowly dies? We'll know more then.

The dirt under your planter BTW, does not help with drainage in spring. The ground under the planter will be frozen solid, impermeable, long after the planter thaws and the hosta begin to rise. That can cause a problem.

Your hosta garden BTW, is quite nice.

Beverly, who has managed to kill a couple of hosta.


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

Gosh, Ken - when you want to, you nail it! And I am one of the first to respond to it because it is brilliant!!! I always come away with some words of wisdom from you.

In your own words... "And adds the rest that I was too lazy to type" ... Yes, I agree with you but in the end you more than make up for it with subsequent explanations....which then read like a tutorial with terrific information. What did someone once refer to you as? I think it was "The Wizard". It was right after the picture of you and Phil was posted. I think that says it all. :-)

This forum is sometimes like a relay race - someone sets up....and someone hands off - and the job gets done! Team effort from the get-go from a whack of experts who love to share their knowledge and experience.

I just love this forum and as Ken fondly says, you "peeps".


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

Peter,
Like most above, my hosta seem to survive despite my best efforts. My only loss was a mail order Spilt Milk which just never got established.

I think Steve offers good advice. I will add another angle: Is it possible that something is leaching from your bed enclosure? Lime from the masonry? Maybe a soil test could tell you something.

Good luck.
Harry


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

I open today by acknowledging each and every one of you are trying to be helpful. I read through the additional comments since 11 pm last night! The high points that stand out:

• Once Dormant; Keep 'em Dormant. This seems to be wise advice. As many of your know Mother Nature does not play that way. The forces of nature do play with any given northern climate plant; hosta included. One of things I did after midnight last night was to see if I could find any hint of what our spring forecast MIGHT be like. The only hint I found was that It might be a dry year next year with cool temperatures; with suggestions of an irradic spring.

• The double cover system being suggested seems wise - even for passing protection of the plants. Row Cover with tarp on top so that the gardener can peel each away when the time is right. I suspect that this is an implementation that will have to be stared NEXT fall. Still need a link to an example of the tarp being suggested. Personal thought: the tan would indeed be better.

• Being disabled ... someone else does my photography. I was thinking, If others did not feel it was excessive, I could post weekly diagrams of the snow melt and any standing water being noted as spring comes. Would that help this discussion or would that be a waste of time? The composite might make for a simplified passing animation.

• A modified Shade Sail is also on my list of things I want to try to implement during the next year as I get two to three hours of 100% sunlight in the middle of the day. That discussion seems right for another thread here when the time is right. I need to sort thought this first since the survival issue has a longer impact than shade does.

I'll be back tomorrow -

Peter Kelley
St. Paul, MN USA


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

BeverlyMN -

You commented that two the hosta I listed are considered more rhizomatious (sp?) than most (I know what the word means). Which two were you looking at?

Peter Kelley
St. Paul, MN USA


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

  • Posted by Dgregory 6A - So.Central IL (My Page) on
    Sun, Dec 29, 13 at 17:51

Here is a link to rhizomatous hostas for consideration on your survivors and Beverly's theory.

hth,
Deb

Here is a link that might be useful: rhizome hosta


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

Deb -

I have looked at that list from other sources (the entirety of all those lists are a good resource for anyone). Sadly, none of my varieties are listed on it which is why i asked Beverly which ones of my list caught her eye.

The whole idea of hosta diversity will be picked up later in a separate thread later ... !

Peter Kelley
St. Paul, MN USA


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

Peter-

I am not an expert. For the most part, I just lurk here trying to learn from the people who know much more than I ever will. I just had to chime in, because I'm in Minneapolis, so I know your weather. I don't doubt that you suffered terrible losses last winter. It was our worst, without question. I am sure that had something to do with your problems.

Last spring, I lost some hostas to rot in a bed somewhat like yours. My bed is up against the house on the north side, but the cement blocks are only on one end. It is a downhill slope with the blocks at the bottom. I had grown the old green and white hosta there for years with no problem. When I ripped them out and planted a couple of blues, they all rotted. The worst was last winter.

Ken and Bernd thought it might be that they were planted too deep. The rain tends to wash the dirt to the bottom of the hill. So, I planted some gold standards, higher than normal and I have paid attention to the depth of the soil. We will see this spring if that helps.

But in reading all this, I am guessing that we are experiencing the same thing. It is too wet. It stays too wet. I know the snow piles up there, and it is the last to melt. Last winter it was still snowing in May. I wasn't happy, so I'm guessing the hostas weren't exactly thrilled either.


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

Peter, thanks for sharing your garden with us. As you have probably observed, we all like a project. "Golden Tiara, Little Sunspot, and 'venusta' " you said did well despite being under the drip line.

Hosta library discribes venusta as "creeping rhizome," and I have heard, but can't find a reference, that Golden Tiara is rhizomatous also. I have Golden Tiara and have seen this. It was just a thought that came to mind. I know nothing of the third hosta Little Sunspot.

Beverly


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

2012-2013 winter was horrendus for in N. Wis. gardeners. Repeated cycles of sub zero, swinging to above freezing caused terrible plant loss for nearly everyone. It didn't help that winter started without the rains that moisten the soil before freezing, insulating roots. When it came the freeze was deeper than it should have been, root kill was extensive. All of this came after a horribly hot dry summer, plants were already in survival mode.
My friends main hosta bed is raised. At the highest, it's about 5 feet tall. She lost more than half her plants over the winter of 2012-2013. Big lush mature hosta, she was devastated. I didn't loose hosta, but did loose japanese iris, heuchera, and a few others. It was a tough combination, that terribly hot hot summer followed by the freeze-thaw freeze-thaw winter.

In the picture of your raised bed, that dirt looks really dark and wet. Mabye too wet.

This post was edited by unbiddenn on Mon, Dec 30, 13 at 10:32


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

Welcome to the hosta forum Peter.

You stated: "The raised bed is as it seems (a short 2 feet high) with NO concrete base - the water flows directly through; or so we were told when I moved in 22 years ago." It would be interesting to see how far down a metal rod (or equivalent) could be hammered down into the soil. It may be that the raised bed was built on concrete. We cannot be 100 percent sure that it wasn't. I see that there is a cement slab on one side of the bed and then on the other side there are, what looks like, cement tiles. Cement or tiles under that raised bed would impede drainage. I guess if it was me, I would want to know for sure that my raised bed is not on concrete because that would be a big issue that would have to taken into account, along with the other issues raised.

Each one of us loves our hostas, and I know you do too. So I hope that you will have a much greater survival rate than you had in the past.


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

I, like Jamie, am mostly a lurker and usually don't feel the need to repeat what someone else has offered before me. But, since I have not seen anyone else suggest it - my thought would be that, if possible, you or someone you know could construct a wooden peak or cap of some sort to cover the entire bed with air space would solve your problems. I would omit the use of a tarp for a number of reasons. A tarp would create heat from the sun, even in winter when you want the plants to stay as frozen as possible. In the spring it would make the plants emerge too soon. The use of a cap of wood with air space and possibly snow cover on top would keep them insulated from the sun. I have quite a few very large barrels that are too large to move into an unheated building and too large to tip over. I cover them with a piece of plywood with a rock on it over winter. I haven't lost any of those hosta yet. Just my two cents.


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

I saw that blue plastic tarp above and scrolled down here right away. Oh do they look familiar! Google Earth satellite images of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina looks like a sea of blue tarps! Ah, those were the days. I saw a blue tarp still on a roof from that hurricane, just this week.

The blue tarps are perfect at covering holes in roofs, keeping the water OUT.... and very cheap.

Now I scroll back up and read the thread.


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

  • Posted by Babka 9b NorCal (My Page) on
    Sun, Jan 5, 14 at 0:29

Hostas don't like to be cold and wet for very long, no matter where they live.

-Babka


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

Getting caught up here (sorry for the delay):

jamie81 -

Sounds like we're both suffering nearly the same thing. Though I have a flat bed and you have s slop. The weather ought to be nearly the same between Minneapolis and St Paul as we are approximately 13 miles from each other. When I get a post to pound down into the bed would you like to be a witness to that test to definitively see if there is concrete below it?

Beverly -

The drip line is an enigma to me. In theory it ought to be a hindrance to the growth of my hosta and yet ... they survive there. This draws me back to think (theorize) that my problem is not entirely Crown Rot. This is not to say that the comments here are not important - I take them with a great degree of seriousness.

By the way thank you for the clarification that you were looking at Golden Tiara and 'venusta' as rhizomatious hosta. I was unaware of that observation of them in the past. I have corrected my records to indicate that.

unbiddenn -

It is good to know others had similar losses as I did, but the outcome is always very sad. Very observant of you! The ground had been watered just before the photographer came to the photo work in the hopes of perking the plants up just a little for October photos.

newhostalady -

The person who told me about the raised bed design was a resident Gardening Committee chair. Her mate (as they were not married) by odd coincidence was the liaison between Developers and the construction company who did the reconstruction of the building over 20 years ago. So my information came from what I feel is a pretty imperial and trusted source. None the less I will re-drive a post into the bed this spring to see what happens.

Keana -

The tarp in this case would divert some snow and the roof snow drop on to my raised bed. (correct me if I am wrong) IF the tarp was positioned at say ... at 45° to the bed ... that would divert the snow and still maintain a frozen bed to insure hosta blooms in the summer (remember here hosta need 60 days of freezing to insure its blooming cycle). based on previous discussions here what I understand is being said is that hosta need cold by dry wintering.

That's it for now. Keep talking and suggesting to help me sort this out. The January cold; from my view; generally indicates what the spring might be like here. I will know that prediction in about 2 weeks!

Peter Kelley
St. Paul, MN USA


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

I have been following this saga with interest as I, too, am a hosta newbie.

Just an observation - even if there is NO concrete at the base of your raised bed, there IS concrete-like material on both sides. So there's no where for water to go except straight down, into soil that's been compacted and undisturbed for 20+ years. So I guess I agree with the majority that you need drainage.

Are there weep-holes in the concrete side walls of your raised bed? Like they put in concrete foundation walls of buildings, or masonry walls?

Here is a link that might be useful: Story about weep holes


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

littlebug5 -

To set the record straight this raised bed is made of missionary block. And in addition I have been playing with hosta for about 16 years now ,,,

Thus ... up until now what i have been experiencing I have considered to be 'normal' for this growing space. The discussion here has at least shifted the situation to at least 90° in direction

Peter Kelley
St. Paul, MN USA


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

Mid-January Thoughts:

I am noticing more than a few 30° plus days for my area this year in January alone; which suggests a warmer than average January this year. SOME sidewalks are reminiscent of late february. AT this point the Hosta bed is still covered with snow and I expect (as I have in the past) not to see the surface peek through until March sometime.


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

The great Minnesota thaw begins tomorrow, and this will begin testing any garden plants with at least 4 days of fluctuating temperature above freezing. This seaonsally is a 60 day process!

The list of hosta from last years (the 2012 to 2013 survival) were as follows:

Name 2012 over to 2013 Survival
Dragon Tails Added
Gorgon Added
Itsy Bitsy Spider Added
Little Devil Added
Xanadu Empress Wu PP20774 CPBRAF Added

Blue Mammoth Replaced
Frosted Mouse Ears Replaced
Holy Mouse Ears Replaced
Popcorn Replaced
Vulcan Replaced
X-Ray Replaced

Dancing Queen Yes
Dixie Chickadee Yes
Emerald Tiara Yes
Golden Tiara Yes
June Yes
Lemon Lime Yes
Little Sunspot Yes / Replaced
Sum and Substance Yes
T-Rex Yes
‘venusta’ Yes

Discontinued in 2013
Buttered Popcorn
Medusa

For more information these plants in my garden you can go to my blog at the link below.

Those added were those sent as complimentary plants or those simply added to the collection.

Peter Kelley
Stl Paul, MN USA

Here is a link that might be useful: October (First Edition)


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

Hi Peter, just to clarify, when people here are mentioning crown rot from wet soils in spring, we don't necessarily mean water standing on the surface of the soil. While the soil surface may be thawed, down below is still frozen, and if it is sopping wet (even though there is no visible water pooling on the surface) that is where the trouble comes in. If an inch, or two, or three down is soaking wet, but still frozen, (thus the roots are still frozen), yet the top inch or two of soil is thawed, and warming from the sun (and reflected heat of a south-facing wall, and masonry blocks forming sides of raised bed, as well as reflected heat from concrete on one side and patio stones on the other side of the bed), this stimulates the hosta to come out of dormancy and try to grow, but with the roots still frozen (or partially), it spells disaster for the plant. I am new to this forum as well. Last winter with 40+ varieties, I lost one or two, my first losses, and surprisingly enough, none of the hostas in pots succumbed. I have however, lost several daylilies over the years from such before thinking about the cause. That being said, I was more careful in storing pots this past fall. We all wish you much better success with your hostas this spring. No matter how long we garden, it is a learning curve for all of us. Some learn easier, with better luck, even when we are blissfully ignorant (as was I!), some of us seem to have a harder time with more problems, but if we love it, we persevere. May spring come soon (I know, a little overly optimistic, considering the several feet of white stuff on the ground at the moment), and may your hosta be bounteous and beautiful!!


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

To gardens1:

The issue of 'standing water was mentioned earlier in this thread. Quietly before (not mentioned here previously by myself), I have wondered about the double issue of winter thawing (top surface vrs. below surface) Issues. It was not until this forum did the specter of Crown Rot had been mentioned. I had previous assumed my losses were ... 'normal'.

As we process through the next year I am trying to account for all the variables of the garden's growing conditions. This process is causing me to be more obsessive about gardening (and I am hot sure if this is a good sign in this case). I suspect there is more than just crown rot occurring' which will be discussed later when I have the evidence to go in that direction for this discussion.

Acknowledging the below surface thawing as being a factor in the survival process I non-the-less offer a current picture of the garden as it stands with approximately 12 to 14 inches of snow on top of it. Taken just hours ago. If you look with care you might see the snow lime from the roof on the right side of the bed.

Peter Kelley
St. Paul, MN USA


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

M.PBK, last year I made an in-ground hosta bed for the first time. Until then, I was a container gardener. Very soon, I'll find out if the hosta I trusted to that bed will come back.

What I did, because we have extremely wet and usually warm winters--this one has turned into an exception, because we've had lots of rain and cold temps which endured more than a few hours at night. I dug out the beds, added lots of pine bark nuggets to make about a 6" layer to serve for drainage channel (think underground river), mixed some bags of sand and cow manure and compost to layer on top of the bark layer, and then dug in the hosta, finishing off with more small pine bark to mulch around the hosta. Of course, a big layer of dead leaves fell on top of that as the hosta went dormant and disappeared. I'll be soon looking for any pips.

But what I'd do, as mentioned by someone before, is treat your "bed" as a "container" and give it some positive drainage. Have you ever dug out the soil in that location at all? Fertilizer is not as good for the hosta long term as would be fresh and vigorous new soil. If you have a way to get to the bottom of things, I'd try to do it.

Since hosta roots do not go to China but relatively confined to no more than 18-24" (I've never had a mature hosta, so that is my take on the depth they'd use), you could put some drainage material in the bottom portion....gravel or perhaps packing peanuts of styrofoam which don't decay....but also have some WEEP HOLES for drainage.....like they always put in stone walls...with some crushed rock behind it as a channel for the water to keep soil out of the weep holes.

I know that with my containers, I do not want water to get in them while they are dormant. Not a problem of "too dry" at all, because we are seldom without high humidity, and with fog and humidity, my hosta are seldom bone dry. You do not want to allow a lot of moisture to pass through the hosta in your bed as it thaws/refreezes/thaws, so something to keep moisture OUT is needed, and so is good air circulation needed.

This is getting too complex for me to hold in my head at one time, so I'll just bow out and listen from the sidelines. For sure, we all wish for you a lovely bed of hosta this next growing season.


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

moccasinlanding:

You bring up an interesting point that garden spaces do have to have proper 'stratification' to insure proper that drainage occurs; and probably a good option to keep in mind.

At this point I need to remind readers that I am a person with 10 different disabilities; and that the space that I live in is rented meaning that any substantial changes to the garden space MUST go through both a management company AND an ownership.

Changing the stratification 'could' be done with a good team over a weekend �" but that would mean that persons would have to show up and help. I am, beginning to have the feeling that the management company is trained to say "NO" without considering that they could counter propose a solution. The later half of this the challenge for me this summer. I have been working on different aspects of this problem for about 3 years.

As for the axiom wet summers and dry winters for Hosta. Last October 15 I cut the hosta back; and then stopped watering. St. Paul, Minnesota had two rain showers after that where it did not freeze on the following nights. The actual freeze for these plants came two days AFTER the rain; or 30 days after cutback. From my view this raised bed is more dry than not underneath.

Peter Kelley
St. Paul, MN USA


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

(contents of post removed; see next post)

This post was edited by MstrPBK on Sat, Mar 29, 14 at 22:42


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

Trying this image upload again. This try looks much better.

#19 Lemon Lime and #21 Venusta have never failed to come up. Itsy Bitsy Spider may have been lost due to Crown Rot (as suggested previously). the reality of it will be proven in a few weeks naturally.

Note where #4 Blue Mammoth is. This is the hosta that initiated this entire discussion for this thread. In the past 3 years everything AROUND Blue Mammoth has survived. This year we will see if Xanadu Empress Wu and Gorgon survive their first winter in this garden..

Your comments about crown rot may actually hold true as being the down fall for hostas in sections #10 through #17. There are number of issues that have to be sorted out for these plants which will be settled by mid-season this year.

Peter Kelley
St. Paul, MN USA


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

I've been doing this awhile and have only lost 1 hosta, ever....and it was Dancing in the Rain, so I'm not not overly surprised or crushed by my stats. That Tarp pic is classic...

You don't need to super careful when they're dormant as I have 6 or 7 hostas that spend about a week to a week and half completely under water in the spring, and they come back bigger and better every year. But when they wake up, you have to make sure they drain. This is my experience only, take it for what it's worth.

What Ken and Steve said are bang on.

(See what I did there Ken....)

:)


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

Hosta standing in water. I thought that was a 'no-no'.

I've got ±60ºF day today here we'll see where this adventure leads me! Thinking about putting my hands on a metal stake and driving it through the garden on either May 3rd or 4th to test to see if it is concrete or soil below it. Anyone want to come witness the findings from the Minneapolis/St. Paul area?

Back doing my blog this year at HostaByKelley. New pages being added at midnight. Writing is added twice monthly on the first and fifteenth of the month.

'bang on'? might be generational for 'right on'?

Peter Kelley
St. Paul, MN USA


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

(refer to the diagram above)

All of the outer plant points with the exception of #17 are now to the surface. With predicted high temperatures between 35 and 45 over the next few days my guess the snow cover will be gone by the weekend (yippie!). Then comes the GREAT WAIT to see what really survives.

Predictions of a 70°F next week with more 40's and 50's afterwards.

Have begun to arrange plans to excavate to the bottom of the raised bed, and going beyond just driving a stake into the raised bed. No standing water at this point - this would suggest to me that water is draining 'normally' as it melts off, Raised bed is not weeping water either. This is unlike our drive entrance which has miniature Lake Superior in the way,

Peter Kelley
St. Paul, MN USA


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

The raised bed is now free of ice and snow from its top. The great wait begins ...

In past years I nave noted that the 'tuffs' where the plants were cut back from the previous year are dry. I consider this 'normal'. Without saying which hosta it is at this point ... I have one group of tuffs that would at first glance look like they never dried out. They may not look fresh, but they certainly do not feel dry either. Has any one observed this during the spring? might this be a good sign rather than a bed one? For me this is the first time to ever observe this.

Peter Kelley
St. Paul, MN USA


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

April 19th ... First Hosta has emerged from the ground. Sum and Substance has once again shown it can be first! I await for the others to arise. Presuming that all 21 survive and that I generally use June 1st as the latest date for emerging; that sets the pace to be 1 hosta every 2 days.

The great wait is over; the great count begins. Addtional comments about this date will be found on my blog (hostas By Kelley) on May 1st.


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

First time I have ever noticed standing water during "casual rain". Either this is new and the ground has become packed, or the ground is saturated and can't go anywhere; Ice waters melted and dissipated without issue however. Taking notes as to where this is in this small garden.

Peter Kelley
St. Paul, MN USA


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

A weed made me look foolish last time (I have to assume other gardeners have moments like that too), but not this time. At this point I have 1/4 of my garden pulling through.

The first hosta to be sited this year was … X-ray, a new survivor for my garden! X-Ray at this point has the biggest surprise with THREE spikes of growth. As this is a first season survivor I had only expected a single spike of growth this year.

It was followed by the sighting of:

• Xanadu Empress Wu, a first year survivor!
• Dancing Queen
• Lemon Lime (very small spikes at this point)
• Sum and Substance (really this time!)
• 'venusta' (very small spikes at this point)

Peter Kelley
St. Paul, MN USA

This post was edited by MstrPBK on Thu, May 8, 14 at 22:23


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

It's been a while since I have posted here.

The hosta total this spring is 19 up out of the 21. For me that's damn good! Little Devil and Itsy Bitsy Spider are being slow ...

If MN ever gets some 80 degree weather I might still get the Little Devil (suspecting that is what is waiting for) . Itsy Bitsy Spider may have been dealt with heat exhaustion from last fall with TWO waves of 90 degree heat.

My mother brought replacements for T-Rex, Blue Mammoth, and Popcorn. I examined the rhizomes left from last years plants and found that spikes were coming and would have come up on their own had I been patient (replanted the rhizomes to give them a second chance - hope I did it right; first time I have done that!).

Feeling pretty good this growing season. More spikes keep coming on the other stuff! Third spike of Xanadu Empress Wu came up 3 weeks after the first two.

Peter Kelley
St. Paul, MN USA


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

  • Posted by Babka 9b NorCal (My Page) on
    Sat, Jun 7, 14 at 19:38

It is always good to hear a happy ending! Hostas are amazing. They will grow from just a bitty piece of meristem (chunk of rhizome) and one skinny root.

-Babka


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

"meristem" ... a new word for me; had to look it up!

Having a success rate of 90% and edging towards 96% is truly good news. The real challenge now is to replicate that success NEXT year. Although I will be discussing this further in my own blog HostasByKelley during my June 2014 (Second Edition) I think the real success came because the garden went to bed dry and entered spring dry as well. The suspected good drainage actually seems to be there.

The new part of my equation seems to be that I have to recognize that hosta comes up in waves which approximately coincide with 10 degree increments of (F) temperature. In the next two weeks or so we'll see how far that theory goes with both Little Devil and the replanted rhizome segments, The temperature will reaches into the 80's (reminds everyone that he MN spring / early summer has been ... weird with cooler than expected temperatures).

Finally for those who talked about crown rot I am still not dismissing that as part of my problem. That 'syndrome' can effect any perennial newly planted or well established.

Peter Kelley
St. Paul, MN USA


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

Very good to hear, Peter. Hope the remaining ones in your bed will jump up soon.

Don B.


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

Thanks Don.

As mentioned earlier ... I think that Little Devil has a good chance to come up. Itsy Bitsy Spider went through a lot last fall; if it comes up I will be utterly surprised. Time will tell on that one.

Rhizomes found on last years T-Rex, Blue Mammoth, and Popcorn during replacement planting ,,, seemed promising. Hoping I replanted those correctly as I have just never done that before. Hoping hard on those. I have counted them as technical success', and now waiting for actual success.

To add to all this success I am acting like an 'obsessed hosta grower' and trying to justify adding that "one last hosta' to my very very limited garden space - but that could be thread to itself!

Peter Kelley
St. Paul, MN USA


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

  • Posted by Babka 9b NorCal (My Page) on
    Mon, Jun 9, 14 at 1:58

Welcome to the "obsessed" group of hosta collectors. OBTW , there is no such thing as that "one last" hosta. You just get rid of the other ones and replace them with the more intriguing ones when you simply don't have the space....like Me!

-Babka


 o
RE: Hosta Survival

Babka ,,,

(very huge grin) already knew that!

Note i put it in single quotes to try to infer like that's going to be the end of it. IF I shift my gardens diversity to where I want it I am going have to rotate 4 plants out,

Peter Kelley
St Paul, MN USA


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Hosta Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here