6 Ways to Keep Rabbits Out of Your Garden

Bkeep rabbits out of your gardenaby bunnies are really cute, there’s no doubt about that! But rabbits can be such an annoyance in your garden! They just go ahead and help themselves to all your plants (hosta gardens and vegetable gardens included)!

The least they could do is ask before helping themselves, but we both know that’s not the case. They usually chew off new shoots of leaves and flowers, leaving your plant nearly leaf-less or flower-less.

For this blog post, I will be focusing on how to keep rabbits out of your garden without harming them in any way.

 

Having a rabbit or two may seem like a minor problem at first, but what you may not realize is that a single rabbit can have 18 off-spring in one year. Suddenly, that minor problem turns into a major problem when a whole family of off-spring producing rabbits settles in next to your garden. Your plants won’t stand a chance!

Below, I have a list of 6 ways to keep rabbits out of your garden that will hopefully be of great help to you. These ways have worked for other people in the past, so it’s just a matter of finding out what works best for you to keep rabbits out of your garden.

6 Ways to Keep Rabbits Out of Your Garden:

1. Put a tall (about two feet high) chicken wire fence around your garden. The rabbits won’t be able to get through the holes of the fence, so this should keep them out. The only downside to this method is that you have the not-so-pretty fence surrounding your beautiful garden.

2. Sprinkle cayenne pepper on the foliage of the plants. Rabbits do not like the taste of cayenne pepper, so they won’t eat the leaves with it sprinkled on them. You will have to remember to reapply the pepper after it rains, though.

3. Sprinkle hair around your plants. This hair can be human, cat, dog, whatever. The rabbits won’t like the hair and will hopefully leave your plants alone.

4. Commercial repellents. Garden stores have a bunch of rabbit repellents you can buy to help keep the rabbits out of your garden. Many of them contain urine and blood from coyotes and foxes. Most are applied using a sprayer.

keep rabbits out of your garden

HostasDirect Owner Tom Carlson’s cat, Simba

5. Used cat litter. Sprinkle some used cat litter around the circumference of your garden. This should help keep rabbits out of your garden because they won’t like the smell of cat urine.

6. Get a cat! The cat will chase those rabbits right of your garden. This is probably one of the best ways to keep rabbits out of your garden.

 

There you have it, 6 ways that will hopefully keep rabbits out of your garden. It may take a combination of several methods to get rid of these pests. It’s kind of trial and error until you find out what works best for you.

Check out our website for more information on garden pests: https://www.hostasdirect.com/learn/hosta-pests/

As always, comment below with any other tips you have to keep rabbits out of your garden that don’t include shooting them!

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!

Xeriscaping

Dead GrassIs this hot, dry summer turning your once-green lawn into straw? Do you live in a dry climate and find it difficult to maintain the stereotypical immaculate suburban yard? Do you want to do more for the environment by using less water, fewer resources, and incorporating native species into your garden? Try xeriscaping, a style of landscaping that conserves water, relies on native plants, and reduces areas devoted to turf. In regions such as the Western US that are subject to frequent and severe drought, gardeners have been using xeriscaping for years to cope with chronic water shortages.

Xeriscape 2Xeriscapes do not have to be desert gardens. They can be lush and full of color. Use these seven principles in your garden design to not only help the environment, but to turn your dead, brown lawn into an oasis.

Strive to conserve water

Map your yards unique soil types and microclimates, particularly areas that retain water longest, dry fastest, or are hardest to water. Use this map to plan zones of low, moderate, and high water usage. Group plantings by water requirements within these zones. If you must have a few plants that rely heavily on water, place them to maximize your enjoyment of them, such as near an entrance or outdoor living areas such as patios.

Improve your soil

We’ve already discussed many organic methods to improve your soil in our posts Improving Difficult Soils and Soil Improvement Techniques. For a xeriscape that incorporates a few plants with high or moderate water requirements, dig deeply and add a lot of organic matter to the soil before planting. Drought-tolerant species often prefer un-amended soil, so group them together and leave their soil unimproved.

Reduce the amount of your lawn devoted exclusively to grass

An immaculate, healthy green lawn requires large quantities of water. There are estimates that the average family only requires roughly 800 square feet of lawn. Maximize this area by siting it next to a driveway or patio. Keep the shape of your lawn rounded and regularly-shaped to minimize edges that will absorb heat more quickly and accelerate the loss of moisture. Choose native grass species that are drought-tolerant and well-adapted to your local climate.

Mulch

Mulch areas that will not be planted to a depth of 2 to 3 inches using an organic mulch, gravel, or stone. The rainfall you do receive will pass through these mulches to increase soil moisture.

Drip IrrigationWater efficiently

If you will be incorporating an irrigation system into your xeriscape, plan it for your garden’s different zones of water use. Once plants are established, water them only when the soil is dry several inches beneath the surface. Use soaker hoses or drip irrigation rather than sprinklers.

 

 

Choose drought-resistant plants

Choose native species that have evolved to flourish in your local climate and soils. Talk to a local Master Garden, Extension Service, or gardening center to determine what native species are best suited to your area.

Maintaining your xeriscape

Continue to weed, fertilize, prune and patrol for pests in your garden. Regularly inspect irrigation systems for leaks and adjust it to account for dry and wet seasons.

Learning more

Many state and local governments offer guides on water conservation and xeriscaping. To learn about plants native to your area, check out http://www.wildflower.org/plants/, with its Recommended Species page that is searchable by US state. They also have a Drought Resource Center with useful information on helping your lawn and garden deal with the stresses of drought. Search the National Xeriscape Council’s web page for more information.

Sources:

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

 

 

 

Fragrant Hostas

There are 58+ fragrant hostas, all with their roots in H. plantaginea!

H. plantaginea is the only fragrant species hosta, so any hosta with fragrance has H. plantaginea in its background.

Almost all of H. plantaginea offspring except H. ‘Fragrant Blue’ have a wonderful fragrance.  Fragrant hostas need ample sun to create a bloom.

H. plantaginea has the largest bloom of all hostas–approximately 6 inches.  The bloom is pure white and the most fragrant of all hosta blooms.

This plant blooms around 4 p.m. instead of 7 a.m. like most other hostas!  H. plantaginea is also unique in its ability to “reflush” new foliage during the summer months.  (Most hosta species send up all their foliage in the spring).

H. plantaginea originated in eastern China, near Beijing and Shanghai, where it can be hot and humid.  This means that fragrant hostas are often the most heat tolerant and can do well in the southern United States up to zone 8 and sometimes even zone 9.

H. plantaginea was commonly known as “August lily.” It was brought to Europe in the 1790’s.

H. plantaginea is a top hosta for hybridizing!

Because of the excellent traits of H. plantaginea, including large fragrant blooms, heat and humidity tolerance, beautiful form, “reflushing” of foliage, vigorous growth, and leaf sheen, it has been popular in hybridizing.  There have also been many sports from H. plantaginea and its offspring.

H. plantaginea ‘Aphrodite’, often called just H. ‘Aphrodite’, is a spectacular double-blooming, fragrant hosta and a sport of plantaginea.   Some people have a difficult time getting this hosta to bloom.  It seems to need moist soil, warm days and cool nights and plenty of sun to get it to bloom.  At HostasDirect, Inc. we have never had a problem getting ours to bloom.

Some other fragrant hostas include ‘Holy Mole’, ‘Guacamole’, ‘Stained Glass’, ‘Fragrant Bouquet’, ‘Avocado’, ‘Flower Power’, ‘Fried Bananas’, and ‘Fried Green Tomatoes’.

Deer prefer fragrant hostas

Beware! Deer tend to eat fragrant hostas first!  They apparently have a sweeter taste.

Yellow or Gold Hostas: Better in the Sun

The yellow in a hosta is a genetic absence of chlorophyll, which makes the leaves appear different shades of yellow. As yellow hostas contain fewer food-producing chloroplasts, annual fertilizing is important.  (Note: Around 2003, the American Hosta Society changed its show terminology from “gold-leafed” to “yellow-leafed.”  Chartreuse hostas are considered to be in the green category.)

Yellow Hostas Need More Sun

As a general rule, a yellow hosta needs to be planted in a sunnier location to keep its color vibrant.  The yellow color may fade to green without at least two hours of full sun daily. Some glossy, chartreuse hostas change to yellow when exposed to more light, like H. ‘Sum and Substance.’ Yellow or yellow-centered hostas are often sun-resistant.

The temperature of a full-sun area can vary by the time of day and by your location (southern versus northern United States, high altitude versus low altitude).  Even though yellow hostas need some sun exposure, any hosta in full sun will need to be watered frequently.

Overhead watering during the middle of the day can cause water droplets to magnify the sun’s rays and burn the leaves.  Hostas grown in full sun will often turn to a lighter color and the leaves can elongate.  Yellow hostas are most vulnerable to sun damage early in the season when the leaves are expanding.  This is when trees have not gotten all of their leaves back yet.

Using Yellow Hostas in the Garden

Yellow hostas add color, brightness and contrast to the garden.  Their luminescent leaves glow at dusk, dawn or on rainy or overcast days.   Planting next to green or blue foliage makes all of the different colors stand out.  However, over-planting yellow hostas in a blue or green border can produce a spotty effect, so position them carefully!

Some Yellow Hostas

August MoonCaptain KirkCurly Fries, Dancing QueenDaybreakEye CatcherFire Island, Happy DayzIsland Breeze, Key WestLadybug, Lemon Love Note, Liberty, Maui Buttercups, Old GloryParadigmPot of Gold, Prairie Moon, Queen Josephine, Rainbow’s End, Rainforest SunriseStained GlassSum and Substance.

For a list of ALL the yellow hostas we currently offer, please visit our Buy Hostas page and search for ‘yellow hostas’.