Ask a Question forum: Hostas dormancy

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Name: Tom Heeter
Vergennes, Vermont (Zone 5a)
Oldsigndog
Apr 26, 2017 12:44 PM CST
I live in zone 5a. When should I expect my Hostas from last year to reappear? As we head into May, I see no hint of any shoots.
Name: June
Rosemont, Ont. (Zone 4a)
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JuneOntario
Apr 26, 2017 3:47 PM CST
Hi @Oldsigndog
Don't give up yet. They are probably waiting for the ground to get warmer. It takes a while. Think about: How deep does your ground freeze in winter? When did your last snow melt? Are you still getting frost?
Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
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crawgarden
Apr 26, 2017 4:13 PM CST
Hi Tom,

With mine, I find that different varieties come up at different times, the location also makes a difference, e.g. south and west vs north and east. I wouldn't worry too much about them, Hostas are pretty bullet proof.
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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Apr 28, 2017 10:38 AM CST
Welcome to NGA, Tom ( @Oldsigndog ).

They should start coming up soon... mine haven't started sprouting yet either, though. (Nor has my asparagus... everything seems a little late this year for some reason!)
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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Apr 28, 2017 10:46 AM CST
When I used to have Hostas they start showing up around mid April. But our conditions then were really warmer too compared to this year. So maybe your plants are just waiting for more warm up. Cool conditions sure feels much longer this year too, even here in our area.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Apr 28, 2017 10:48 AM CST
Mine are just starting to come up. Don't give up on them - I don't think there is a winter that could kill a Hosta. They are hardy to -40F but a late frost could damage them. Emerging late protects the tender leaves from those late frosts.
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Eastern Massachusetts (Zone 5b)
jsf67
Apr 28, 2017 11:06 AM CST
Many of mine have been visible at ground level but not doing much for a couple weeks. The large amount of rain we just got seems to have nudged them along and many are 1 to 3 inches high now. But others (same two varieties as the visible ones) are not visible yet. In past years, some were later, so I still expect the ones that aren't up yet.
I expect Vermont should be a bit later than eastern Massachusetts. I don't fully understand the zone thing (since the maps I've seen of my area don't match the weather). Overnight lows here in winter drop below -10F a few times per winter, but I think never below -15F. So whatever zone that makes it, the Hostas here are as described.

Edit: I re checked that map for here and it says 6a. I guess that is only 5F warmer than reality on the ground (which I interpret to be 5b). I just didn't know whether that implied some different meaning for average winter minimum, which I took to mean the average over several years of the coldest overnight low of the year, which here is certainly below -10F, but not by much. If the average is something other than coldest hour of the year averaged across years, then 6a may make sense.

Anyway, my main point was the OP in 5a should expect slightly later Hostas than I get here, so not having them yet isn't really surprising.
[Last edited by jsf67 - Apr 28, 2017 11:50 AM (+)]
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Apr 28, 2017 11:13 AM CST
jsf67 said: Overnight lows here in winter drop below -10F a few times per winter, but I think never below -15F. So whatever zone that makes it, the Hostas here are as described.


I would have thought that made you zone 5. What does the map seem to say?

Name: kathy
Michigan
Zone 4b, near St. Clair MI
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katesflowers
Apr 28, 2017 2:21 PM CST
Those crazy zone maps. I agree, who can say year to year, your zone probably changes. Two years ago we hit a record low of minus 33f.
Last winter we only got down to minus 3f. I can tell by my missing perennials [lavender & burning bush took a real hit] that they didn't tolerate the colder winter temps, and that we are having unusual temp fluctuations.
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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Apr 28, 2017 3:06 PM CST
There's also a significant difference between extended periods of very cold weather and one or two freakishly cold nights, too; the "polar vortex" winter a couple of years ago had our temps running well below zero for several weeks -- which caused a lot of water pipes to burst (and a lot of plants that normally do fine to die).

The zone maps are helpful as a guideline, but they definitely aren't gospel!
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Name: kathy
Michigan
Zone 4b, near St. Clair MI
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katesflowers
Apr 29, 2017 12:59 PM CST
@weedwhacker I also remembered the utilities crew telling us that during that extreme year of cold [when all the Great Lakes froze over AND freighters were lined up for 7 miles in lake Huron at the Blue Water Bridge Port Huron MI for 4 weeks, waiting for the ice breakers to open up the ice in the straits of Mackinaw in JUNE] that our frost was at a record depth of 8 feet deep [normally 33" to 36". No wonder I lost plants in my garden.
"Things won are done, joy's soul lies in the doing." Shakespeare

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