Tuesday, September 15, 2015

September 2015 Second Edition

Gardening continues, but at what feels like a slower pace.
While the this journal entry feels very long.

Opening Words

Last month I ended by referring to that fact that half of my varieties have not bloomed yet.  I suppose that is not entirely unusual for a hosta grower to have a particular plant not bloom.  I suspect that most hosta growers have that one variety that refuses to bloom.  I suppose that's ok.

The hosta that have not bloomed in my garden ... yet ... are as follows:

Name                     Observation          Added in year        Transplanted
Chartreuse Wiggles                            2014
Dancing Queen            First Season Plant   Replanted 2015
Empress Wu               First Season Plant   2015
Faithful Heart                                2014                 Yes
Fire and Ice             First Season Plant   2015                 Yes
Frosted Mouse Ears                            2013
Holy Mouse Ears                               2013
Holy Mouse Ears [Solid Sport]                 2014                 Yes
June                     Bloomed in the past  before 2012          Yes
Kinbotan                                      2014
Little Devil             Bloomed last year    2013
Masquerade                                    2014                 Yes
Popcorn                                       2014; More added 2015
Snake Eyes               First Season Plant   2015
Stiletto                                      2014
Teaspoon                 First Season Plant   2015
Tortifrons               First Season Plant   2015

Of these 17 hosta 7 of these were planted this season and are considered 'First Season Plants'.  Transplanted hosta will also go into shock as well; so these have to be considered.  Little Devil and June have bloomed in the past so it is possible to have them bloom again.  According to others Tortifrons has the reputation of being the last to bloom during a growing season.  All the rest have been planted in my garden for at least 2 years, and in some cases longer.

I have silently sensed from my reading and observations that most hosta will not bloom until their 3 season in a given garden, or after being transplanted.  So let's consider when they were added to this collection, and if they were transplanted this year.  With this added information scapes and blooms might be expected on the following 4 hosta:

Frosted Mouse Ears
Holy Mouse Ears

Holy Mouse Ears [Solid Sport]
Little Devil 

These are the plants that will be watched for scapes between now and the end of the growing season.  This does not preclude others from scaping or blooming between now and then.  This short list just presents the most probable to bloom later this season.  Some of you might suggest that hosta bloom at the same time every year.  Unfortunately I have to beg to differ on that opinion.  In particular Emerald Tiara I have seen bloom at the height of the summer, and at the very end of the fall.  I am not referring to in the same season but between different years.  At this time I am not totally convinced that the hosta lineage defines the time during the summer when they bloom.  Over the longer observation of a variety it might be safe to say they bloom during 'x' time.  If you have not guess by now that's one of the reasons why I am keeping my hosta survival records the way I am - to get a better picture of that cycle.

Finally to tie this back into my previous blog posts.  The subject brings us back around to the adage of: 'Rest, Renew, and Regrow' since the 'regrow' stage includes the production of scapes and blooms.

Side notes to this discussion

  • Hacksaw is in bloom currently and that plant is about to be moved in the next 7 days.
  • Liberty seems to have been an exception to the transplant shock rule as this began to bloom while in a nursery pot.
  • June, and Sum and Substance produce scapes intermittently, across discontinuous years.
  • Stiletto keeps looking like it is mature enough to scape.

Questions From My Readers

It has been a VERY long time since I've had a reader ask me a question.  Recently a friend of mine in the Russian Federation asked one.  For simplicity we'll call them "R.B.".  R.B. asked me what they ought to do to prepare their plant for winter.  The answer is pretty universal around the world; however the amount of snow does temper the answer.  I make the assumption that your garden (R.B. or anyone else's) gets 60 days of firm freezing, and at least some snow.  So here we go... !

My best advice is to water it as close as you can to the frost date - without freezing the water.  If a frost passes and temperatures again go above freezing AND the snow has not arrived give them more water (you may have to use something other than a watering hose at this point). Some readers might remember I do the Hosta Waltz to water my plants (Water, rest, rest).  In the late fall I might I might go from a Waltz to a Gavotte; a 1/7 time (water, rest, rest, rest, rest, rest, rest). To control slugs I'ld suggest that the leaves are cut back to about 1 inch / 2 cm (estimated) from the ground for the winter rest. The size of the plant may make this differ from plant to plant.  The Mouse Ears I might cut almost to the ground, and Sum and Substance might be above that 1 inch.  IF foliage comes back do not panic - just let things go their course.

If you freeze the water your very likely are going to freeze the plant as well, and frozen plants can only spell disappointment, plant freeze out and/or crown rot.

Now the question might come: "Why water so late in the season?" This is because the Orient has monsoons late in the season; and your simulating/recreating those last floods of water before they rest for the winter. The water helps them store and produce those bundles of energy (a.k.a. food) for when they spike next spring again!

It is a delicate balance a gardener plays to prepare hosta for the winter months.  Remember those freezing conditions might be a bloody nuance to you, but they really for truly help the hosta stay healthy from year to year.  After 17 years of playing with hosta I still do not have this part of the process 100% down.  Last year I lost 8 hosta, the year before I lost 5 Hosta, and even the year before that I lost 15. Optimally your supposed to get 100% of the plants to come up every year.  I've never had this happen.  As you can see I am still not a perfect gardener.

Hosta On the Way

White Feather
  • Attempt #1: Is concluded.
  • Attempt #2:
    • 1/??/16  Will reorder the plant from Nursery C during early January.
    • 4/??/16  Will schedule the arrival for late April.
Popcorn and Vulcan
  • 7/14/15  Ordered on this date,
  • 8/31/15  Shipped out on this date,
  • 9/ 2/15  Arrived in good shape on this date,
  • 9/ 6/15  ... and finally planted on this date.

Hosta Observations

Church Mouse
  • 9/ 8/15  Trying to unfurl new leaves amongst the crowd of the other leaves.

Dragon Tails

  • 9/ 6/15  Looks at this point very heat stressed.  Hoping that the plant can hold on for a few more hours until the heat breaks.  The soil is moist from yesterdays watering as the hosta is letting go of leaves.  I'm not worried - yet.  But will watch this and the other heat stressed hosta in the garden.
  • 9/14/15  the plant is holding on.  No further leaves being lost

Empress Wu

  • 9/ 4/15  WOW!  This plant is still pumping out leaves.  The 17th one has been seen.  Just a little bit longer before we see what happens after the 18th one.
  • 9/ 7/15 The punchline I think will be that when the 18th leaf comes it then faces winter.  We'll see what happens.
  • 9/12/15  The plant keeps pumping leaves out with the 18th leaf barely seen.  But it is there.  I now wait to see what happens AFTER this leaf.  We will soon see about the myth of a 18 leaf limit on an eye of Hosta.
  • 9/14/15  Rather than one green point being seen in the center of Empress Wu - there's two.  This can only suggest to me there's a scape coming late in the season.  Another suggestion that the genes of the Hosta do not always dictate when the flower comes.  If It is a scape ... it would be one of the largest scapes known in the hosta world at 72 in. / 182.88 cm.  This assumes it makes it to that height - Sum and Substance really disappointed me this season with a scape half the height it should have been.

Fire and Ice
  • 9/ 6/15  Has been moved into place.  It seems so small at the moment.

Frosted Mouse Ears
  • 9/ 8/15  Noticing a second flush of leaves coming up.  It's nice to see.


  • 9/ 6/15  Has been moved into place.  This is one transplant I have wanted to do since I first received the plant last year.  With this in place I now have a row of hosta that represent implements of distraction.  It is one of the arrangement goals I have had for some time - and is now achieved.
    • Hacksaw
    • Kinbotan (Japanese for 'little button')
    • Stiletto (as in the 4 in. / 10.16 cm. thugs knife)
    • The Razor's Edge
  • As Hacksaw might grow to 22 in. /  55.88 cm. in diameter I am not going to worry about it looking crowded as I know this is a second season plant.  It will grow into its space.  Dancing Queen and Vulcan will just have to make space for it.
  • 9/12/15  The flower(s) survived and faded with out incident from being transplanted.

Holy Mouse Ears

  • 9/ 8/15 New leaves coming up.  They seem to be holding true to the plant.  Maybe ... it is celebrating that I moved it's solid ... intruder.

Holy Mouse Ears [Solid Sport - not any more ...]

  • 9/ 6/15  Has been moved into place.  It is looking rather vigorous, and a little confident.  With this hosta moved out of the way all I have to do NEXT year is switch out Masquerade with Chartreuse Wiggles and I will have my row of white hosta in place.  Another goal I have sought for some time.
  • 9/ 9/15  No sooner than I move this plant It decides to get funny. Like the other Mice in my garden I find that this too has a new flush of leaves.  Instead of continuing its solid green streak the new leaves are variegated with markings LIKE its parent.  It would seem that this plant is having a good laugh at my expense.  I'm not going to move it back immediately as this saga seems to be worth watching.


  • 9/4/15 is dealing with severe heat stress (in the back of the raised bed).  Nearly all its leaves are gone.  I 'snuck' a few extra cups of water to the plant today.  I don't think I am going to loose this plant but it may be very stressed for Spring spiking.
  • 9/ 6/15  More watered offered to Imp as I worked on adjusting my garden.  I think I've got a few green leaves stabilized and holding on.  Heat stressed plants can shut down until the temperatures moderate again.
  • 9/8/15  I think I counted 5 surviving leaves from what must have been close to 50 or so.


  • 9/ 7/15  Is beginning to look hidden between the other hosta around it.  Maybe Its hiding to prevent being 'pushed'!  I am hoping that its supposed 9 in. / 22.86 cm. hight will eventually keep it from being totally hidden when it grows up.


  • 9/ 6/15  Added two more Popcorn.  They're going to over shadow the Kimbotin behind it some day.  The previous surviving division of Popcorn is dealing with something I've not seen or heard of before.  the leaves are losing their tissue while the veins are remaining behind.  Have lost two leaves.  Will be cutting them off soon.  Hoping that will stop whatever is happening.
  • 9/7/15  Leaves were cut back.  I await to see what happens.

Snake Eyes

  • 9/ 6/15  An extra task today,  There was a spike that was not entirely above ground.  So I adjusted the soil to permit the spike to open.  We'll see what happens.
  • 9/ 7/15  I now notice even a deeper spike trying to survive.  I think I've adjusted this hosta as far as I dare without risking the survival of the plant.
  • 9/14/15  The two extra spikes have been lost.  The plant other wise looks good.

  • 9/ 6/15  Has planted this into place.  It looks crowded besides the Vulcan. 

Hosta Scapes and Flowers

  • 9/ 1/15  All flower activity has stopped.  The second bloom and the unexpected scape have both stopped developing.


  • 9/ 8/15 The bloom is sustaining after it was moved.  I should have planted it more carefully as I got it planted 180° in the wrong direction.  Life happens.


  • 9/ 6/15  Three of the four newly planted Vulcan have flowered as their tell tail scapes are dried and cut off.  When they settle in they'll look great.
  • 9/ 8/15  On one of the divisions has two, new, very noticeable spikes arising at the base.  Quite a surprise after only being in the ground for two days. maybe the other divisions will do the same eventually.
Hosta On the Way Out

  • 9/4/15  Has been handed over to my mother.  This plant probably had the shortest stay in my garden of any hosta - ever.  It arrived July 27th and it left on the date indicated.  With great respect to my mother's gardening skills, I suspect that Loyalist will probably be eaten by deer ... 
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Closing Words

My garden is finally getting to look organized.  Certain plants are in certain groupings.  Rows now look like rows.  The garden now looks like each plant has its own place ... at least for now.  I am in great hopes that no further hosta adjustments will be needed this season as of 9/6/15.  I wait for the coming flowers, and then the final cut back for the season.  But the year is not over yet - as last year I had blooms all the way into mid October when I cut the hosta back.  I assure you a lot of excitement can still happen in the next 30 to 45 days.

Ahhh yes ... the winter freeze might be that close in Minnesota.


  1. Replies
    1. Andy -

      Reader Questions are what drive my passion for these hosta even further. Ask a question, or leave detailed comment and who knows I might devote a paragraph or twin in a future edition addressing what you've left.