Hostas forum: Can you lose hostas overwinter?

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South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
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Polymerous
Mar 23, 2016 9:08 PM CST
Last year was the first time that I grew more than one hosta, and I've noticed that this year some of them are showing buds aboveground, some of them have leaves already, but some of there there is no sign of - these include 'Zounds', 'Captain Kirk', and 'Great Expectations'. We live in zone 9b in the arid West. The beds have automatic irrigation, 2x/week unless the rain sensor is on.

So my question is, can you lose hostas overwinter, and in particular, in a warm climate zone? If so, what is causing the loss?

Thanks for any help you can give me.
The current avatar image is that of a volunteer daylily seedling showing cristation.
Name: Rose
Oquawka, IL (Zone 5a)
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Rose1656
Mar 24, 2016 6:24 AM CST
I'm not familiar with your growing zone, but yes...You can lose hostas over the winter. Going into the winter too dry can be a big problem. In my zone, lack of ground cover during the harsh winter temps can also be a problem. Some varieties also take longer than others to show up. I always think 'On Stage' isn't coming back, but it shows up a lot later than my others. I'm not sure, but it could be that your zone is really pushing the limit for hosta?
Name: Ann
Ottawa, ON Canada (Zone 5a)
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ViolaAnn
Mar 24, 2016 6:39 AM CST
Polymerous - growing hostas in your zone will likely be more challenging than in colder zones. Hostas need a good dormancy period. And during the growing season, they also need quite a lot of water. If they don't get enough water during the growing season, they may well be ill-prepared to survive the winter. Your irrigation system should help take care of that, but it may still be an issue. But as Rose said, hosta vary widely in when they actually show up; so don't give up hope yet.
Ann

Pictures of all my hostas, updated annually and tracked since 2008 begin at: https://violaann.smugmug.com/Garden/Hostas/Hostas-in-my-gard...
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
"The mountains are calling..."
Region: California Garden Photography Garden Procrastinator Daylilies Pollen collector Dog Lover
Moon Gardener Irises Heucheras Vegetable Grower Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Polymerous
Mar 24, 2016 2:45 PM CST
I have had an old 'September Sun' hosta for many years, which is always very late to emerge, but I thought that was maybe a function of the pretty heavy shade it is in. I planted a second 'September Sun' last year (in a different spot), along with all of the other new hosta, and that one at least shows signs of emerging (a little bud or ramet or whatever you call them is above the soil surface), but there are still those three that don't show any signs of life.

I hadn't realized that it might be too hot here for hostas, given that I have grown 'September Sun'. Last winter did seem to be a little warmer than several of the preceding winters; while I had some frost damage on some plants, it wasn't as severe, and I didn't outright lose anything.

The irrigation system is a "smart" system so it does moderate length of irrigation based on temperature, as well as on detecting rainfall, so it doesn't water at its maximum programmed time during the winter, even if it is "dry". Hopefully that did not cause a problem.

Thank you all for your encouragement and replies. I tip my hat to you.
The current avatar image is that of a volunteer daylily seedling showing cristation.

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