Hostas forum: Do Mini hostas spread?

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Name: Keith
West Babylon, NY (Zone 7a)
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keithp2012
Mar 26, 2015 2:08 PM CST
I was looking to buy a mini hosta for an area that is only 2 feet wide. I'm looking for compact form that won't spread much or at all. It's ok if it gets tall, just not too wide.

Ive been checking out sites but it says many minis are vigorous growers and shows clumps spreading in some cultivars which I don't want.
Name: Gerry Donahue
Pleasant Lake, IN (Zone 5b)
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profesora
Mar 27, 2015 4:04 AM CST
Keith, some miniature hostas spread, eventually; while others do not appear to spread, but the database indicates that they may reach a certain measurable width.

Most miniature hostas take a long time to reach their mature size, and unless you are very young, it might not happen in your lifetime.

Further, you certainly may divide those that do grow more aggressively.

I grow many miniatures and I will be happy to recommend some hostas.
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
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Frillylily
Mar 27, 2015 6:20 AM CST
Even if a mini did spread for you, 2 ft is pretty good sized and they don't root very deeply so just digging some out every 3-4 years would be the easiest way to go. You can sell or give it away. I have had several minis and they didn't thrive well for me. I find they are too puny to make our winters here for one thing. Since they are little and have shallow root systems they tend to heave out of the ground in the winter and die.
You may also consider astibile or heuchera for a shady area of that size. Or woodland phlox. None of these are have a winter presence much, but neither do hosta. Actually my woodland phlox stayed green over the winter this year. ( I probably spelled those wrong! )
Name: Keith
West Babylon, NY (Zone 7a)
Region: United States of America Winter Sowing Plays in the sandbox Birds Native Plants and Wildflowers Tomato Heads
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keithp2012
Mar 27, 2015 2:09 PM CST
profesora said:Keith, some miniature hostas spread, eventually; while others do not appear to spread, but the database indicates that they may reach a certain measurable width.

Most miniature hostas take a long time to reach their mature size, and unless you are very young, it might not happen in your lifetime.

Further, you certainly may divide those that do grow more aggressively.

I grow many miniatures and I will be happy to recommend some hostas.


I had seen some online that were yellow and green streaked that had spread of 8-12 inches, if that is one plant and new offsets that sounds like a great size. I've only grown medium and large hosta and they spread so quickly and took up too much space cutting and digging couldn't get rid of them. I saw two, silver threads and golden needles, and golden needles
[Last edited by keithp2012 - Mar 27, 2015 2:18 PM (+)]
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Name: Gerry Donahue
Pleasant Lake, IN (Zone 5b)
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profesora
Mar 28, 2015 3:22 PM CST
I would like to suggest the following:
Crumb Cake, 5x14
Curly Fries, 11x14
Dinner Mint, 7x15
Fall Dazzler, 8x17
Hideout, 6x14
Holy Mouse Ears, 6x16

Pictures are available on hostalibrary org
[Last edited by profesora - Mar 28, 2015 4:38 PM (+)]
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springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Mar 28, 2015 5:30 PM CST
I think hostas continually grow and never have a 'mature size'? At some point they all have to be divided? I think eventually the centers start to die out, is that correct?
I used to grow blue mouse ears and it was really nice, small and hardy, I liked it.
Name: Gerry Donahue
Pleasant Lake, IN (Zone 5b)
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profesora
Mar 28, 2015 6:36 PM CST
Healthy hostas do not die out in the middle. Certain hostas grow very slowly, taking very long to reach their expected size. These are usually a lot more expensive. Others grow very fast, and need dividing once in a while. These are usually sold at the box stores. These also are a product of tissue culture which has made many beautiful hostas more available.

Name: Diann
Iowa (Zone 5a)
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Ticker
Mar 28, 2015 8:44 PM CST

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The die out in the center of a hosta is called a Fairy Ring or centering out. It usually happens in old established clumps of hostas. If it is a younger plant you might want to check for vole damage to the root system.
Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
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Paul2032
Mar 28, 2015 8:55 PM CST
I grow a number a mini hosta and have never found them to be invasive. If a clump gets a little larger than I want I just take a piece off. ......Many mature plants, ornamental grasses, iris, hosta, salvias, etc. die out in the center and benefit from being divided and the vigorous growth on the exterior of the clump replanted.......Just MHO Whistling
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Name: Rose
Oquawka, IL (Zone 5a)
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Rose1656
Mar 29, 2015 8:34 AM CST
Keith,

Hosta hybridizer Fred Smith once told me that if you can see dirt, plant another hosta! If I had a 12" area, I'd chose 3 totally different hostas and plant them in there. My choices would be Blue Mouse Ears, Frosted Mouse Ears and Dancing Mouse. Or, Praying Hands(an upright) with a couple colorful small ones under it. You can check Don Rawson's mini list on Hostalibrary.org to get lots of suggestions. Enjoy them for a few years and when they outgrow the area you divide them and plant in another area...or share them with a friend! I have yet to meet a friend that won't take a free hosta!

Have fun with your empty space
Name: Ann
Ottawa, ON Canada (Zone 5a)
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ViolaAnn
Apr 17, 2015 5:58 AM CST
professora wrote, "I would like to suggest the following:
Crumb Cake, 5x14
Curly Fries, 11x14
Dinner Mint, 7x15
Fall Dazzler, 8x17
Hideout, 6x14
Holy Mouse Ears, 6x16"

Some of these I have no experience with, but 'Curly Fries', though a delightful hosta, is not mini IMO (even if it may be on the list) and 'Holy Mouse Ears' is likely to be a very slow grower and eventually turn solid colour. There are, however, many delightful true mini hostas and some of them grow quite rapidly. (If you look through this forum, there are a couple of threads about minis, many complete with pictures). And if they grow too rapidly, consider dividing them for use as a border or simply give them away or sell them to feed your habit.
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: Dana
Canton, OH (Zone 6a)
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bloominholes2fill
Apr 24, 2016 11:58 AM CST
I agree
Blue Mouse Ears spreads moderately slow, which is perfect for our urban gardens, and they are easy to divide! I think that you will be happy with it Smiling
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Name: 🌺
(Zone 6b)
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SpringGreenThumb
Sep 24, 2016 2:34 AM CST
profesora said:

Most miniature hostas take a long time to reach their mature size, and unless you are very young, it might not happen in your lifetime.


.



Blinking Blinking
Really?


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 24, 2016 6:05 AM CST
It depends completely on the the mini. Some grow very rapidly and make excellent borders. That would include all of those in the 'Lemon Lime' family.

'Lemon Frost' last July 23
Thumb of 2016-09-24/ViolaAnn/1b4fb8

'Kifukurin Ko Mame' (of which I have 4 borders, but the ones close to a neighbour's Linden tree don't do as well).
Thumb of 2016-09-24/ViolaAnn/264431

That leads me to a second point. You need to have the minis in a location they like. I've noticed that most of the hostas that are close to either my Linden or the neighbour's don't do as well as they might. I think it's a water issue in that the tree takes it all. I have some of my minis in troughs and I now keep them in small pots rather than disturbing the roots twice each year. I don't trust them to overwinter in the troughs; so I sink them into my veggie garden. Most are growing better now that I just move the pots.

Others that have grown quickly for me -

'Lakeside Zinger'
Thumb of 2016-09-24/ViolaAnn/718744

'Kinbotan'
Thumb of 2016-09-24/ViolaAnn/18724a




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: 🌺
(Zone 6b)
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SpringGreenThumb
Sep 24, 2016 7:23 AM CST
I don't expect a large border. I was just hoping for a nice mound and if it takes a lifetime....

Might as well grow something else. There.
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 24, 2016 6:35 PM CST
You know, if you divide your plant and replant in a group of three clumps slightly separated from each other, it will look like one big mound much faster. I've done that with several of mine, most notably in 2011 when I had a large hosta sale to benefit my church renovation. Once you've got them out of the ground to take a division or two, just continue to divide them up. Most of them did wonderfully, but I had a couple that didn't grow as well after I did that. By three years later you'd have to look really closely to see that it's not all one large mound.

'Raspberries and Cream' replanted late May 2011
Thumb of 2016-09-25/ViolaAnn/9a9629

Same clump late July 2014
Thumb of 2016-09-25/ViolaAnn/de610f

Ann

Pictures of all my hostas, updated annually and tracked since 2008 begin at: https://violaann.smugmug.com/Garden/Hostas/Hostas-in-my-gard...

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