Hostas forum: New to Hostas, would love help!

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Name: Vanessa
Northern Tablelands NSW Austra (Zone 8b)
Gardening keeps me connected to the
Handed
Sep 22, 2013 5:16 AM CST
Hi to all,

I have been looking through my Tall Bearded Iris catalogue and kept getting intrigued by the Hosta section in the back. I had avoided Hostas till now because of a failure with my first attempt (too dry I think) years ago, then I felt I didn't have a moist enough shady site. But now I think I have a couple of good sites, and I'm more experienced with improving soil to hold moisture, so I want to try again.

My main worry is them being eaten, especially slugs/snails. I live in a bushy area with lots of wildlife. We have some large lizards that eat snails, though not enough of them!! But I don't want to use poison. I am willing to use traps, so long as they don't drown my garden skinks. I heard that river sand as a mulch is a good deterrant to snails, and I can get hold of that, so I might give it a try. Also rabbits may be a problem, and possibly also the kangaroos, since they are apparently quite edible. Anyone in wildlife areas have any comments/suggestions?

Now I am looking at the prices and trying to figure out where to start, as my favourite varieties seem to be the dearest as usual (as much as $45 for some). I found some specials and am trying to decide which are the best out of these. Can anyone give me their opinion on any of the following varieties?:
Mikado
Honeybells
Wheaten Blue
Birchwood Parky's Gold
Pearl Lake
Francee
Emerald Tiara
Blue Skies
Sunny Smiles
Thanks!
Emerald Tiara
Name: Christine
Southeastern MN (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Heucheras I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Level 2 I sent a postcard to Randy! Keeps Horses
Region: Minnesota Birds Raises cows Cat Lover Hostas Farmer
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Christine27360
Sep 24, 2013 12:51 PM CST
HI Vanessa!!

Francee is a nice inexpensive one that grows failry quick to a large and mine seem to be slug resistant. I have some francee in the sun and while not as large as the ones in shade -- they do well. I have about 10 of them... could send you a division if you would like.
"Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously."
2 Corinthians 9:6
Name: Gerry Donahue
Pleasant Lake, IN (Zone 5b)
Hostas Garden Ideas: Master Level
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profesora
Sep 24, 2013 7:10 PM CST
I grow hostas and I need to tell you that there are so many better, more interesting hostas available.

First, let me know what features interest you, and what growing conditions you are offering the hostas. Not all hostas need the same conditions.

Gerry
Name: Ann
Ottawa, ON Canada (Zone 5a)
Hostas Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Composter Region: Canadian Clematis
Canning and food preservation Container Gardener Annuals Herbs Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
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ViolaAnn
Sep 25, 2013 6:44 AM CST
Do you have enough water in your part of Australia to grow hostas? They DO like quite a lot of water, but must also have good drainage. If not, I'd choose only a couple of varieties and choose them carefully and keep them well watered. As Gerry said, there are many, many interesting varieties. You do need to decide what you like best in hostas and then go from there. They come is all variations of green (several tones), blue, yellow and white and vary from a few inches at maturity to huge.

As far as your list, I have only 'Francee' and it's a good reliable grower, but not overly exciting.

Ann
Ann

Pictures of all my hostas, updated annually and tracked since 2008 begin at: https://violaann.smugmug.com/Garden/Hostas/Hostas-in-my-gard...
Name: Vanessa
Northern Tablelands NSW Austra (Zone 8b)
Gardening keeps me connected to the
Handed
Sep 25, 2013 8:21 AM CST
Thanks to all. Christine, I'm not sure where you are but looks like the US. I don't think you can post divisions to me in Australia, but thankyou for offering!

Gerry, I'm sure there are some amazing ones! Those on the list are probably inexpensive fast growing ones since they were on special. The site I was considering is an area in between two huge plastic rainwater tanks. Depending on where in that space I put them, they could have some morning sun, to practically no direct sun but bright light, or if further back could have a short glint of late afternoon sun. I could put smaller more dry tolerant varieties under my huge apple tree 8 1/2 metres tall and wider). It gets watered but because of the apple tree roots is harder to keep the soil as moist as the other site. I have other potential sites on the south sides of my sheds.

Ann, rainfall here is about 800 ml a year, but it comes in big bouts, mostly in summer, with long (sometimes two months or more) dry spells. I would be relying on the moisture retention ability of the soil, the shade, and a heavy mulching to reduce the amount I have to water. But I can water them, just not every day, maybe once to twice a week.

Gerry and Ann, in looking through the varieties I was quite taken with the bluest ones, those with a really intense emerald green like Squash Casserole, and the very glowing golds. I love the ones with really textured leaves such as Aqua Velva and Love Pat, and the giant sized ones. I like those that form a mounded clump, those that have the flowers held well above the foliage and flower quite heavily, and the ones with a strong fragrance as I love fragrance in the garden. I don't like all the forms of variegation, but some variegated ones that appealed to me were Paradigm, Lakeside Spellbinder, Kiwi Full Monty, El Nino and Bright Lights. However to begin with I wish to select inexpensive and tougher varieties to see if they are able to grow successfully in my garden before I get too adventurous!

Thanks again for helping Thumbs up
Name: Vanessa
Northern Tablelands NSW Austra (Zone 8b)
Gardening keeps me connected to the
Handed
Sep 26, 2013 6:34 AM CST
Ok, I was working in that part of the garden, and I forgot to mention I have a lot of Cannas there, right up against the watertank (which is a nice natural green colour. The cannas were no ID from a friend's garden, but I think they are Tropicana and Bengal Tiger cultivars. Firstly, I need to know if Cannas are compatible with Hostas. If they are, then I think that the bright stripey foliage of these (one with red and one with yellow) would be a nice backdrop for a solid blue Hosta. It should be quite large, but not as large as Cannas. If I only buy one or perhaps two at most then I can afford more remarkable varieties, and take time to look after them properly.
Name: Ann
Ottawa, ON Canada (Zone 5a)
Hostas Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Composter Region: Canadian Clematis
Canning and food preservation Container Gardener Annuals Herbs Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
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ViolaAnn
Sep 26, 2013 12:46 PM CST
"I was quite taken with the bluest ones, those with a really intense emerald green like Squash Casserole, and the very glowing golds. I love the ones with really textured leaves such as Aqua Velva and Love Pat, and the giant sized ones. I like those that form a mounded clump, those that have the flowers held well above the foliage and flower quite heavily, and the ones with a strong fragrance as I love fragrance in the garden. I don't like all the forms of variegation, but some variegated ones that appealed to me were Paradigm, Lakeside Spellbinder, Kiwi Full Monty, El Nino and Bright Lights. However to begin with I wish to select inexpensive and tougher varieties to see if they are able to grow successfully in my garden before I get too adventurous!"

Well, I'm not a good person to ask about very large hostas because except for 'Cutting Edge' (which grew much larger than I expected from its description) and 'Liberty', I don't have many really large ones. I DO love 'Liberty' and it still looks good at the end of a bad season when the slugs have run rampant.

I would ensure that you purchase your hostas from a nursery that is aware of Hosta Virus X and is buying from suppliers which test their stock. There still are many out there that are selling diseased plants. Or if you buy cheaper ones from a business which doesn't specialize in hostas, keep them well segregated until you are sure they are healthy - possibly several years.

I have found that hostas in the 'Halcyon', 'June' family generally do well and are not bothered much by slugs. This is not quite a large family. Go to: http://myhostas.be/sports/index.htm# and select 'Halcyon' to see the list. They are NOT, however, all that large.

And spend lots of time checking out those nurseries on-line which have good pictures of the hostas they sell. There are many, and while you may not be able to purchase from them in Australia, their pictures can be a wealth of information. (You could also check out MY pics - link below. I've been tracking my hostas since 2008, though 2013 is not yet posted.)

Do remember, that if you plant them together, you will want to have plants that look nice together. Certainly some solid colour ones to pick up the hues of the variegated ones. Have fun as you make your choices and I'm sorry I don't have more experience with the varieties you mention.
Ann

Pictures of all my hostas, updated annually and tracked since 2008 begin at: https://violaann.smugmug.com/Garden/Hostas/Hostas-in-my-gard...
Name: virginiarose
Virginia
Money talks but Chocolate Sings!
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Level 1 Avid Green Pages Reviewer Hibiscus Dragonflies Daylilies
Bee Lover Dahlias Butterflies Hostas Birds Lilies
virginiarose
Sep 26, 2013 9:11 PM CST
Vanessa, I get a lot of information from Hostas Direct. they are a nursery but have a database with 7000 cultivars. I like that you can choose hostas by characteristics and I like slug proof and sun tolerant.
http://www.hostasdirect.com/hostas

In zone8 you have to be concerned with more than moisture. Hostas need a cold spell and some need more than others. So in the south you need Hostas with a low chill requirement. These are usually the first ones to appear in spring, like Sea Thunder. I have three and I just love them. Here is a website that will give you a list of more hostas that only need a short cold spell.
http://www.plantdelights.com/Hostas-Summer-Perennials-for-Wa...

I use Milorganite to keep rabbits and cats out of the beds and I use ammonia water to kill slugs. I use to use the slug bait but find that I really do not need it now because I do other things to discourage them, like watering in the morning so the surface dirt is dry by night time when they come out. I buy a lot of slug resistant hostas and if they are not slug resistant I put pine straw around them because the slugs cannot slide through it, and occasionally spray around the crowns with the ammonia water to kill any eggs.
I do not have any lizards or wild animals, sorry.

Mine are in dappled shade outside the fence where it is cool and always a breeze. If you have any hostas that need a greater cold spell that they can get in the ground you man maximize the cold air that gets to the roots by planting them in a pot.

I have had success with many hostas that are not on the list. Like:

Captain Kirk
Orange Marmalade
Francee
Paradigm
June
Tom Schmid
Dick Ward
Sagae
Journeys End
Paul's Glory
Brother Stefan
Stained Glass
Guacamole
Cathedral Windows

If you are going to pay $45.00 for a hosta make sure that it will be happy in your climate. Good luck with your Hosta Garden!!
Susan

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.....Margaret Atwood
Name: Christine
Southeastern MN (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Heucheras I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Level 2 I sent a postcard to Randy! Keeps Horses
Region: Minnesota Birds Raises cows Cat Lover Hostas Farmer
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Christine27360
Sep 27, 2013 7:17 AM CST
@Handed -- I didnt notice you were in Austrailia -- but I wish I could send them to you!! Have fun shopping! There are so many different kinds -- once you start you will quickly become addicted like the rest of us!! Hurray!
"Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously."
2 Corinthians 9:6
Name: Vanessa
Northern Tablelands NSW Austra (Zone 8b)
Gardening keeps me connected to the
Handed
Sep 27, 2013 8:55 AM CST
Thanks Ann, I didn't know about the Hosta virus, I'll check it out with the sellers. Thanks for the weblinks Ann and Susan, very helpful.

Susan, I keep thinking of zone 8a as a really cold zone, because in Australia there are few places people live that are colder. Although we are cold enough here to not need to grow low-chill stonefruits/berries and Dogwoods flower every year, I forget there are plants from much colder places still. I suspect that the really low chill Hostas are not readily available in Australian nurseries though. There is not really a comparable product to Milorganite in Australia. Our problems are kangaroos and rabbits. I can tell you the wastewater from our septic doesn't deter either of those animals! Deer are a feral animal here, but haven't reached this area yet, though they seem to be moving closer all the time. Just a few days ago I photographed some just over an hours drive west of us! Thanks for your suggestions, I've had my eye on Paradigm and Guacomole, very interesting!
Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
Grandchildren are my greatest joy.
Charter ATP Member Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Annuals Echinacea Vegetable Grower Hybridizer
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Paul2032
Sep 27, 2013 9:01 AM CST
Vanessa....I'm late to this thread and forgive me if I repeat something. Have you contacted Tempo Two/Barry Blyth Iris gardens? He lists Hosta in his catalog. Might be a good to start as he is in Australia.
Paul Smith Pleasant Grove, Utah
Name: virginiarose
Virginia
Money talks but Chocolate Sings!
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Level 1 Avid Green Pages Reviewer Hibiscus Dragonflies Daylilies
Bee Lover Dahlias Butterflies Hostas Birds Lilies
virginiarose
Sep 27, 2013 9:08 AM CST
Vanessa,
I sympathize with you on the wild animal population. I have no clue about what that would be like and do not care to think about it, just gives me a headache! Jeepers.
There is a thread here on the perennials forum about deterring deer and the best suggestion we heard was one about stringing fishing line around poles or trees. The deer cannot see the line and get spooked by it. The phrase was 'Feet don't fail me now!' LOL.
Check on the hostas you might be surprised, I found most of mine for sale in the north not the south. They have them and do not even know it.
Susan

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.....Margaret Atwood
Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
Grandchildren are my greatest joy.
Charter ATP Member Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Annuals Echinacea Vegetable Grower Hybridizer
Tomato Heads Garden Photography Birds Cut Flowers Foliage Fan Plays in the sandbox
Image
Paul2032
Oct 6, 2013 12:05 PM CST
If you feel they are planted to deep i would carefully pull some soil away from the crown for several inches rather than disturbing some possible roots.
Paul Smith Pleasant Grove, Utah
Name: Steve
Millbury, MA (Zone 5b)
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steve_mass
Oct 12, 2013 9:57 AM CST
Handed,

Are you ordering from Amanda Blake at Hos-tas.com? She is in Tasmania and is well known in Hosta circles, having an excellent reputation. Her price list contains many of those you listed, but her prices are about $10 per plant, not $45. Visit her site and email her for her full price list. I'll bet you can find many more great varieties from her full list, including Paradigm (a great Hosta) and many others you mentioned. Here's the link to her site.


[url=www.hos-tas.com/Catalogue.html]www.hos-tas.com/Catalogue.html[/url]

Steve
Name: Vanessa
Northern Tablelands NSW Austra (Zone 8b)
Gardening keeps me connected to the
Handed
Oct 13, 2013 5:52 PM CST
Thanks Paul, actually it was the Tempo Two iris catalogue that got me interested in hostas! Thanks Steve, I was looking at ordering from the Tassie seller, thanks for the feedback. I decided to wait until next year as it was getting late to put new hostas in, and also it has been a horrendously dry spring and I have a ton of new plants to try and establish already. Please rain!! I will certainly try and add hostas to my garden next winter.
Name: virginiarose
Virginia
Money talks but Chocolate Sings!
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Level 1 Avid Green Pages Reviewer Hibiscus Dragonflies Daylilies
Bee Lover Dahlias Butterflies Hostas Birds Lilies
virginiarose
Oct 13, 2013 6:16 PM CST
It has been raining here for a whole week! I would love to send you some of our rain. I was in a rush to get everything either in the ground or potted so they could get some rain and now they are drowning.
I was dying to put in a hosta order but I just have too much to do already. Mine will have to wait till spring also. Sigh.... Whistling
Susan

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.....Margaret Atwood
Name: Vanessa
Northern Tablelands NSW Austra (Zone 8b)
Gardening keeps me connected to the
Handed
Oct 15, 2013 2:23 AM CST
Susan I wish you could share your rain too! Just realised we're down to half a tank of water, right when all the soil is hard and dry as concrete, so water repellant the water just runs off the surface! It's frustrating, but we are due rain on Thursday. The one good thing is that my Sombruiele rose hasn't had it's buds rotted - yet. They dislike rain!
Name: virginiarose
Virginia
Money talks but Chocolate Sings!
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Level 1 Avid Green Pages Reviewer Hibiscus Dragonflies Daylilies
Bee Lover Dahlias Butterflies Hostas Birds Lilies
virginiarose
Oct 15, 2013 4:00 AM CST
The Sombreuil roses are beautiful!! Wish I could grow them here, but there is something similar and maybe more vigorous called Lady Banks that do not mind the humidity, I have saw them cover the side of a two story house! It was at a semi-local nursery where I bought my first hosta. Green Grin!
Susan

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.....Margaret Atwood
Name: Vanessa
Northern Tablelands NSW Austra (Zone 8b)
Gardening keeps me connected to the
Handed
Oct 18, 2013 6:16 PM CST
Well the rain came, thankfully as it was desperately needed, but as usual it was right when Sombreuil was smothered in fat buds and only a handful had opened. Always the way, our area's rain is poorly timed for delicate roses, but the peonies didn't mind at all.
Name: virginiarose
Virginia
Money talks but Chocolate Sings!
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Level 1 Avid Green Pages Reviewer Hibiscus Dragonflies Daylilies
Bee Lover Dahlias Butterflies Hostas Birds Lilies
virginiarose
Oct 19, 2013 2:22 AM CST
Wow, those are blooming too? Sounds like spring there, how are your temperatures running because my peonies bloomed months ago and are going dormant. Blinking
Susan

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.....Margaret Atwood

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