Rest, Renew, Regrow | Hosta Growth Stages After Planting

Author: Peter Kelly, Content Manager

Rest, Renew, Regrow

Those are are three “R”s of horticulture.  They apply to hostas just as they do to any other plant. The three “R”s help us understand the hosta growth stages.  With those words I will answer one of our consumer’s questions: Why are my hostas NOT growing?

Before getting to those three “R”s, the gardener needs to understand that EVERY TIME they move a Hosta it goes into what is known as; “transplant shock”. Then it will go through different hosta growth stages as it adapts to its new surroundings.  

It is a thousand times better to find that right place for the hosta, plant it, and care for it as you wait for it to grow vigorously!

OK, so you have your new hosta or heuchera planted and you’re excited for it to mature; but the plant just sits there.  We assure you that only in film can a plant go ‘sproing’ and suddenly become full sized.   The thing with gardening is that you have to be patient.  How patient?  Rest, Renew, Regrow!

Hosta Growth Stages Using the 3 “R”s

The first stage after you plant something it will … Rest.  Resting means acclimating itself to where it is planted, getting used to the new spot of sun; trying to figure out what nutrients are below it.  If you plant it late in the season it might rest through the second year as well.

The second stage will … Renew.  Renewing means the plant might grow even a little smaller or to the size of what you first planted it.  Fear not brave gardener for the plant is not being lazy on you!  Be it known your plant is growing UNDER the ground and sending out rhizomes and gathering those important nutrients.  Again, depending on the variety, it might carry its renewing into a second year. This is all just part of the hosta growth stages.

We get to the third stage … when the plant Regrows.  This is that hosta growth stage where we may see leaps and bounds of growth.  This is also the time where you might see your first scape and blossom on your plant.  With each year after, the plant will keep moving toward maturity.  Some hostas mature in three (3) years and others take 6 to 8 years primarily due to size and general rate of growth.

Even after that, the plant will continue to look good for years to come if cared for properly.  Over these years, if the gardener is nice they may put in some extra fertilizer to help and encourage the plants to grow.  Remember over-fertilizing can have hazards as well, so fertilize responsibility.

Now lets all take a deep breath and reflectively say, “Rest, Renew, Regrow.”;  and remember to fully exhale.…

Gardening Tasks for July

July is a great time to get out and enjoy your garden. By July most of the hard work of spring is completed and this leaves you with plenty of time to sit back and enjoy all your hard work.

We’ve put together a list of six gardening tasks for July to keep up with as your garden progresses through the growing season:

1.     Keep up with deadheading flowers. This not only makes your garden look nice, but also encourages some plants to continue blooming. Who wouldn’t want more flowers?water plants-gardening tasks for july

2.     Make sure your garden has plenty of moisture. The hot summer days can sometimes be quite daunting on plants and they may need more water on hot days. It is recommended that one inch of water per week should be good for hostas. Spread this out over two or three days of watering throughout the week for best results. You don’t want to drown your hostas with too much water at one time. Plants in containers will need to be watered more regularly than ones in the ground. Hanging baskets, especially, dry out quicker and will likely need to be watered daily. If possible, collect rainwater to water your plants.

3.     Keep up on the weeding in your garden. A little time now could save you a lot of time down the road. I’m sure we can all agree that weeding is not the most fun task out there, but it is important. Not only does it help with the appearance of your garden, it can also help prevent slugs and other pests. A clean garden is less likely to have a pest problem than one covered in weeds. Spending ten minutes weeding your garden once per week is better than spending an hour doing it once per month. Do not let the weeds go to seed!

4.     If you haven’t done so already replace/place mulch in your garden. This is one of the important gardening tasks for July because the mulch will help keep moisture in the soil around so they don’t get as dried out, especially on the hot days. Mulch can also help keep slugs away from your hostas.

5.     You can continue fertilizing your hostas throughout the month of July, but we recommend not doing it any later than July 31st.

6.     Bring a lawn chair out to your garden. Sit back and enjoy your hard work.

That concludes our list of gardening tasks for July. It really isn’t too bad, is it?!

Keeping up with these six gardening tasks for July will keep your garden in tip-top shape throughout the summer. It really is a great month to enjoy your garden when most plants will be in bloom and most of the hard spring work is over.

Enjoy!

Comment below on how your garden is doing this year so far. We’d love to see pictures!

8 Steps for Growing Hostas in Containers

Planting hostas in containers is a growing trend. Not only do they grow successfully in containers, they look great as well. Container hostas work great for small urban spaces, around a pool, or on a patio/deck in your backyard.

We have put together a list of 8 steps to having beautiful container hostas.

hosta in round container

1.    Select a container for your hosta. Hostas do great in several different container shapes, but make sure to keep the mature size of your hosta in mind when selecting a container size.

This will not only save you time and energy replanting down the road, but it will ensure that your hosta has enough room to grow.

2.    After you select a container, make sure it has drainage holes in the bottom.

If the container doesn’t come with pre-drilled holes, you can always add them using a power drill. It is recommended to have at least one, but two or three are ideal.

3.    Add a layer of rocks at the bottom of the container. This will aid in drainage and prevent soil from falling through the drilled holes.

4.    Fill the container with nutrient rich, easy draining soil.container hosta with ivy

5.    Plant your hosta in the container. Container hostas look great alone or with ivy hanging down the side of the pot. Just make sure that any other plants you add to your hosta container have relatively similar growing conditions.

Hostas prefer to be kept in shade to partial sun, so it wouldn’t be recommended to add a plant that requires full sun.

 

6.    Water your container hosta regularly, especially in times of extreme heat and wind. Hostas like to have moist soil, but they don’t do well with drenched soil (this can cause their roots to rot). Watering once every one or two days should be good.

7.    Fertilize regularly since the nutrients in the soil will wash away with watering.

8.    Enjoy your beautiful potted hostas for years to come!

potted hosta

*Note: It’s necessary for container hostas to go through a winter dormancy just like those planted in the ground. Don’t leave the containers outside.

Instead, they should be brought into an unheated garage or porch for the winter months. Once the threat of frost is over, your containers can go back outside for the upcoming season.

Comment below with any questions or experience you’ve had growing hostas in containers!

Pruning

PruningPruning serves multiple purposes:

  • Shows plants, shrubs and trees at their best
  • Pruned plants produce more and better fruit and flowers
  • Improves the health of diseased plants
  • Strengthens trees stronger and makes them safer
  • Channels growth away from structures and traffic

See the Pruning Glossary section at the end of this post for terms and their definitions.

When to Prune

Heavy pruning should be done in spring, as it stimulates rapid regrowth. Prune evergreens in the spring and deciduous trees and shrubs in late winter to stimulate new growth in the spring. Prune shrubs that bloom in the spring after they have blossomed so that there is still time for growth and to set new buds before winter.

Summer pruning does little to stimulate growth. Hot, dry conditions stress plants, so avoid heavy pruning. Limit summer pruning to removing suckers, and to thin summer-flowering shrubs after they have bloomed.

Mid to late fall is the time for only thinning cuts. Heading cuts will stimulate soft new growth easily damaged by frost. Do not prune a plant while it is dropping leaves.

By late winter, leaves have dropped and you can easily see the form of the plant and therefore how to improve it. Pruning in winter stimulates growth in the spring.Formal Hedge

Pruning Do’s and Don’ts

Remove all dead wood first, to improve health and appearance, then prune from the bottom of the plant up. With larger plants, prune from the inside out. Next, look for branches that cross and rub. Keep the branch that is healthiest and better situated, that either grows upward or fills in empty space, and prune the other branch.

For shrubs, prune with the objective of opening up the
center of the shrub, and cleaning up the base of the shrub. This will allow more light to penetrate and more air to circulate, improving the health of the shrub.

Prune back branches that reach the ground, crowd other plants, or are too close to structures and walkways.

The most common pruning mistakes are:

  • pruning in an attempt to make plants smaller again
  • tree topping
  • indiscriminate shearing
  • overthinning

The only cure for bad pruning is time. Most plants will return to their natural state within a few years.

Pruning Cuts

Most pruning consists of one or two cuts: thinning cuts, or heading cuts.

Heading CutA thinning cut removes the entire branch.  Use a thinning cut to open up a plant to allow more sunlight to penetrate into its interior, to redirect growth, or to establish good structure.

A heading cut removes only part of a branch that results in rapid, bushy growth just below the cut. Use a heading cut to shorten a plant and stimulate latent buds. This is the nonselective technique used to shape formal hedges and topiary.Topiary

Pruning Tools

Keep your pruning tools sharp, as the best tools to use for pruning are those that will cut cleanly and easily. Use pruning shears for stems and twigs, lopping shears for branches that are the diameter of your finger or larger, and a pruning saw for branches larger than that.

Share your Secrets, Successes and Stories with us!

Comment below to share your tips for pruning, share your stories with our community of gardening enthusiasts, or get your questions answered by the garden experts at HostasDirect!

Glossary

Branch collar: The part of the trunk that holds the branch to the trunk and revealed as the bulge at the base of the branch.

Branch crotch: The angle where a tree branch meets the trunk or parent stem.

Bread bud: When a latent bud is stimulated into growing into a leaf or twig.

Cane: A long, slender branch that usually originates directly from the roots.

Leader: The main or tallest shoot of a tree trunk.

Pinching: Nipping the end bud of a twig or stem with your fingertips to discourage further growth in that direction.

Thinning cut: Cutting a limb off at the base, either at ground level or at a branch collar.

Heading cut: Cutting a branch back to a side bud or shoot.

Skirting or limbing up: Pruning off the lower limbs of a tree.

Sucker: An upright shoot growing from the root or graft union; also a straight, rapidly growing shoot that grows in response to an injury or poor pruning.

Topiary: Plants sculpted into tightly sheared geometric shapes or likenesses of animals, people or objects.

 

Source:

All-New Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening: The Indispensable Resource for Every Gardner, Fern Marshall Bradley and Barbara W Ellis, Editors

 

Dividing Your Plants for Propagation

Divide bulbsDivision is a simple and quick method of propagating plants with multiple stems. It involves separating a multi-stemmed plant into several smaller plants.

 

 

 

Plants that can be divided:

  • Groundcovers
  • Clump-forming perennials
  • Bulbs
  • Tubers
  • Ornamental grasses
  • Suckering shrubs
  • Houseplants
  • Herbs

When to Divide

Divide your plants when they are dormant. For plants that bloom in spring and summer, divide in the fall, and for plants that bloom in the fall, divide in the spring. For houseplants, divide in the spring once new growth has begun. For tubers such as dahlias and begonias, divide them before you plant them in the spring.

How to Divide

Only divide healthy plants. Water the soil thoroughly the day before you plan to divide. Divide in the evening, or during cool, cloudy weather, to reduce moisture loss. Lift the plant to be divided from the soil with a pitchfork or spade. Separate healthy new growth and discard woody old growth. Each piece divided from the whole needs to have its own root system to continue growing.Plant Division

For herbaceous plants such as perennials or ornamental grasses, use a sharp spade to divide the plant into smaller sections in a single, clean cut. Do not chop at the roots. For fleshy crowns such as astilbes and hostas, divide sections with their own roots with a sharp knife. Lift bulbs only after their foliage has yellowed and died. Separate new bulbs from the old bulbs, and replant them at the correct depth and spacing. Cut dahlia crowns and iris rhizomes apart with a sharp knife into divisions that have their own bud where the root joins the crown. Cut tubers such as begonia and caladium into two or three sections that have a sprout or visible bud. Expose these cut surfaces to air for a day or two to dry before planting.

Care after Division

Replant your new divisions as quickly as possible, to prevent drying, at the same depth as the original plant. Water thoroughly. When dividing in the fall, apply mulch to protect developing roots from frost heaving.

Sources:

All-New Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening: The Indispensable Resource for Every Gardner, Fern Marshall Bradley and Barbara W Ellis, Editors