Hostas forum: Planting Rhizome "balls" ...

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Name: MstrPBK
ST. Paul, MN USA (Zone 4a)
I got the slugs out of my garden!
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MstrPBK
Jul 21, 2015 11:00 PM CST
Recently I discovered that those of us in the Midwest are spoiled by our online Midwest vendors who send us hosta with both rhizomes and leaves (bare root; no soil). It would seem ... that the similar online vendors on the East Coast send hosta with light soil and only the rhizome ball - and no leaves.

Sticking tongue out The rhizome ball 'seemed' to be in acceptable condition however I've never actually planted JUST a rhizome ball. I've always had the leaves to there to guide me. There was indication that the vendor did cut foliage off the top as there was a tuft on the top where leaves once were. My procedure for planting was:

Mixed loose soil sent, to equal parts of new soil (from where it was to be planted), and sheep manure. I added enough water to make it wet pudding. This for me is standard procedure for any hosta being planted or moved in my garden.

Made my hole as I normally would.

I set the plant in without adjusting any rhizomes. I observed that there were a number of healthy white spikes on the sides.

Adjusted a little of the ground mixture to get it around the plant; and then covered it over with dry dirt leaving the tuft of the plant viewable on top.

Rinsed out my mixing bucket, and trowel; giving the rhizome system about 1 gallon of water. I watered the next day [today] as part of the normal hosta watering schedule . Again probably another gallon of water. I water once every 3 days (Water, rest, rest, Water, rest, rest, [the hosta waltz] Water, rest, rest, ...) so that new plant will not get water for the next two days.

Am I doing this right for starting with a rhizome ball, OR is there another process in planting them that I am not aware of? BTW the hosta variety in question is Snake Eyes.

Peter Kelley
St. Paul, MN USA

You can also follow my hosta growing antics on blog: HostasByKelley
[Last edited by MstrPBK - Jul 21, 2015 11:13 PM (+)]
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Name: MstrPBK
ST. Paul, MN USA (Zone 4a)
I got the slugs out of my garden!
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MstrPBK
Jul 22, 2015 4:26 PM CST
Update: July 22:

It's been two days since I planted the rhizome ball. Upon seeing what they sent I said to myself that if I get only two eyes out of it I could be happy,

I have found that the nursery did indeed cut foliage back as I see a cleanly cut leaf push forth and try to open. It seems to be to one side of the main crown. I believe that a second leaf will emerge from a center of what used to be an good sized eye. There is second eye location that might also produce something given time.

Even after two days after being planted I can say I must have done a acceptable job as foliage is surviving and pushing forth.

More updates to follow.

Peter Kelley
St. Paul , MN USA
[Last edited by MstrPBK - Jul 22, 2015 4:28 PM (+)]
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Name: MstrPBK
ST. Paul, MN USA (Zone 4a)
I got the slugs out of my garden!
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MstrPBK
Jul 23, 2015 9:29 PM CST
Leaf that has come up has grown about 2 1/4 times the size it was yesterday. I'ld say that's still good news for my planting of just a rhizome ball which I had never done before. No signs of other growth yet.

Will keep with this thread until a second eye has opened. Might be in a few days, or might be next year!. Will be back when I have an update.

Peter Kelley
St. Paul, MN USA
Name: MstrPBK
ST. Paul, MN USA (Zone 4a)
I got the slugs out of my garden!
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MstrPBK
Jul 25, 2015 9:19 AM CST
7/25/15 AM: Leaf has opened. Strong beginning of coloration seen; only one color of green at this point. The watermark is strong and definite; to me that's the sign of good plant stock. Leaf was definitely cut by nursery. Waiting to see where next leaf grows from.

Peter Kelley
St. Paul, MN USA
Name: MstrPBK
ST. Paul, MN USA (Zone 4a)
I got the slugs out of my garden!
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MstrPBK
Jul 29, 2015 8:48 PM CST
7/29/15: No changes since last time. First leaf still looks strong. Maybe I'm being to impatient (and I'm not trying to be the plant!),

Peter Kelley
St. Paul, MN USA
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Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Composter Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Seedfork
Jul 30, 2015 5:38 AM CST
The watched pot never boils, I think that is how the saying goes.
Name: MstrPBK
ST. Paul, MN USA (Zone 4a)
I got the slugs out of my garden!
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MstrPBK
Jul 30, 2015 8:18 PM CST
7/30/15: I think a second leaf is forming besides the first leaf. At this time I can't say if it is a new eye or part of the previous eye because of the way the first leaf was cut, If it is producing a new leaf then that's another good sign that I have done things right! I'll know by next Monday what's happening,

Peter Kelley
St. Paul, MN USA
Name: MstrPBK
ST. Paul, MN USA (Zone 4a)
I got the slugs out of my garden!
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MstrPBK
Aug 3, 2015 10:12 PM CST
8/3/15: Second leaf wasn't. Only thing I see is the one cut leaf sitting there and laughing at me. I would have thought that second leaf would have come by now. The plant had when it arrived a robust rhizome system, – but nothing is happening at this time.

I am beginning to wonder if I should have soaked the rhizomes for a half day (or so) and then laid them out radially around the main tuft when I planted it. Ummm. Anyone out there have any thoughts yet?? I'll keep watching here ...

Peter Kelley
St. Paul, MN USA
[Last edited by MstrPBK - Aug 4, 2015 12:40 AM (+)]
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Name: MstrPBK
ST. Paul, MN USA (Zone 4a)
I got the slugs out of my garden!
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MstrPBK
Aug 4, 2015 12:20 AM CST
Trying to be polite. Maybe your not seeing the question being asked. So I've decide to torture you with my really bad drawing as I convert the question at hand into visual form.

Thumb of 2015-08-04/MstrPBK/e98068
Click on image to enlarge.

Something else has occurred to me this evening. In the spring it takes 6 to 8 weeks for the eyes to appear. Even if I planted Snake Eyes with all rhizomes directly under the cut tuft (left diagram) would that mean that there is still a chance that the eyes would emerge ... 6 to 8 weeks after planting ... say early to mid-September? Might that also sound right??

Peter Kelley
St. Paul, MN USA

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Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Composter Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Seedfork
Aug 4, 2015 5:53 AM CST
I didn't even know what you were talking about, I actually thought you were talking about the type of plants you can buy at Walmart or Sam's (just the only two sources I knew of ) a little dried up plant with some roots and a crown with a little peat moss thrown in with it.
But this article talks about rhizomatous hostas.
http://www.hostalibrary.org/species/pdf/part4b-general.pdf
So it looks like to me the rhizomes should have been spread out instead of being bunched up and planted vertically. Then the roots should form from the rhizomes and spread down and the eyes would emerge with the leafs spread over a larger area?
This is the best link I could find with info on them, it includes some suggestions on how to plant them.
https://ask.extension.org/questions/190817#.VcCnEflViko
Hope this helps.
[Last edited by Seedfork - Aug 4, 2015 5:54 AM (+)]
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Name: MstrPBK
ST. Paul, MN USA (Zone 4a)
I got the slugs out of my garden!
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MstrPBK
Aug 4, 2015 10:25 AM CST
Seedfork said:I didn't even know what you were talking about, I actually thought you were talking about the type of plants you can buy at Walmart or Sam's (just the only two sources I knew of ) a little dried up plant with some roots and a crown with a little peat moss thrown in with it.
But this article talks about rhizomatous hostas.
http://www.hostalibrary.org/species/pdf/part4b-general.pdf
So it looks like to me the rhizomes should have been spread out instead of being bunched up and planted vertically. Then the roots should form from the rhizomes and spread down and the eyes would emerge with the leafs spread over a larger area?
This is the best link I could find with info on them, it includes some suggestions on how to plant them.
https://ask.extension.org/questions/190817#.VcCnEflViko
Hope this helps.


As a general rule I do not purchase from non-nursery sources because there seems to be a sense within the gardening community that those sources of plants have a higher chance of being diseased or virused. I have left the name of the nursery out of this discussion as that is unimportant to this thread.

While this topic touches on the rhizomatious growing behavior of Hosta [mind you all hosta are rhizomatious]; the real focus here is what is the appropriate planting technique of planting a hosta rhizome ball - when that's all that your given. In the first post of this thread I made it clear that I had never experienced starting a plant from that stage of growth.

After reading the links provided by SeedFork ... I suppose ... I ought to go out there to dig the plant out and try to reposition the rhizomes. Hearing nothing to the contrary here - that's my garden job tomorrow.

Peter Kelley
St. Paul, MN USA
[Last edited by MstrPBK - Aug 4, 2015 11:58 PM (+)]
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Name: MstrPBK
ST. Paul, MN USA (Zone 4a)
I got the slugs out of my garden!
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MstrPBK
Aug 5, 2015 3:32 PM CST
8/5/15: Pulled the Snake Eyes to re-examine it. Rhizome were reduced but the growth spikes are quite definitely still there. Quickly replanted; moving the plant a smidge higher in the ground. I've got eyes coming ... I just have to be patient.

Peter Kelley
St. Paul, MN USA
Name: MstrPBK
ST. Paul, MN USA (Zone 4a)
I got the slugs out of my garden!
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MstrPBK
Aug 7, 2015 2:28 PM CST
8/7/15: Snake Eyes has 3 spikes above ground. One looks questionable. We'll see how many open now.

I remind those following along that I said that this thread would continue until i had 2 eyes open; that's coming up pretty fast. But that's not happened yet - a lot can still happen.

I forget who made the observation, although I know it was one of the Hosta communities "great gurus": Bob Axmear, Mark Zillis, or George Schmid ... or maybe someone else who is in that class of standing. The comment was something to the effect of: "One cannot plant a [healthy] hosta incorrectly, nature will always right it." This is one of those cases where I wish I had remembered the comment sooner since I would not have worried so much about how this rhizome ball had been planted.

Peter Kelley
St. Paul, MN USA
[Last edited by MstrPBK - Aug 7, 2015 2:33 PM (+)]
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Name: MstrPBK
ST. Paul, MN USA (Zone 4a)
I got the slugs out of my garden!
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MstrPBK
Aug 11, 2015 12:52 AM CST
8/11/15 (early AM): Just a fast update, I've gotten 6 leaf spikes coming up probably more to follow. No open leaves yet, These spikes suggest good size leaves so well see what they look like down the road.

8/11/15 (PM): The leaves of a few of the spikes are just beginning to open. The eyes come with them!

Peter Kelley
St. Paul, MN USA

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Name: MstrPBK
ST. Paul, MN USA (Zone 4a)
I got the slugs out of my garden!
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MstrPBK
Aug 13, 2015 2:41 PM CST
8/13/13: Two clumps of spikes. The larger seems to be doing good. Leaves ought to unfurl in a day or two. The second clump seem to be doing ok, but I suspect because of the depth of the growth bud they will not survive. These leaves are trying to open but won't be able to because of their depth (and soil around them). This would suggest that even though hosta can 'correct themselves' the depth of the growth eyes does make a great difference of how far they can 'correct'

Peter Kelley
St. Paul, MN USA
[Last edited by MstrPBK - Aug 13, 2015 2:42 PM (+)]
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Name: MstrPBK
ST. Paul, MN USA (Zone 4a)
I got the slugs out of my garden!
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MstrPBK
Aug 24, 2015 10:22 PM CST
8/24/15 No no. I Had not forgotten about this thread. Several days of rain and then cool weather kept me patent as I watched Snake Eyes. I can confirm that two eyes do exist. Which means this thread come to and end. And two more spikes are likely to follow.

What I have gained from this thread is the understanding that rhizomes probably do better if they are planted radially (in circular fashion) rather than directly below the plant. That means that if they were shipped they might need to be soaked for a few hours (but not more than 1/2 day). The plant will survive if the gardener does not do this but the plant might be stressed trying to send spikes up that never reach the surface.

And on that note. This thread is concluded!

Peter Kelley
St. Paul, MN USA

IF you wish to continue to follow my gardening antics feel free to visit my blog at: http://hostabykelley.blogspot.com/



Thumb of 2015-08-25/MstrPBK/a22247

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