For the last three years I have been planting various kinds of hostas in our backyard garden. Nothing fancy or rare -- mostly the varieties sold in the big box stores. So, here it is the end of April, after a warm, dry winter down here in South Carolina, and little or no sign of any of those hostas. Out of the twenty or so plants, only three have emerged! I tried removing the mulch and digging up a few, but found no signs or remnants of any of them. Nada. My first thought was that they rotted away from too much water, but I'm wondering about that because it has been a fairly dry winter/spring. No signs of rodents or other animals munching on them. They're just not there anymore. Anyone have any ideas on what may have happened?
First of all, may I ask what zone you are in. South Carolina doesn't sound like zone 7. I had a very, very, mild winder here in Va. I was afraid my hosta's would not come up and I have over 150! That would be a nightmare. The reason I was afraid is because Hosta need 40 days of below 40 as a general rule, they have to have a cold spell.
virginiarose: We are in zone 7b, borderline 8a. The winter was unusually warm -- no more than a handful of freezing nights. Very little rain and not a snow flake to be seen all winter. The hostas looked great through the fall and went dormant just as you'd expect. I covered them with 3-4 inches of mulch and didn't water them all winter. As of today, only three are showing -- all doing well. No signs of any others.
I queried some of my fellow master gardeners to see if they had similar problems with their hostas to no avail. No reports in the office or extension service of similar problems in our area. Tis a mystery.
aikentogrow, just remember hosta's are hardy to zone 3. In zone 7 they would not need to be mulched, except in mid summer to keep them from drying out. I am afraid our enemy is the heat not the cold.
Mystery solved, you put down too much mulch and they rotted. I'm Sorry. :(
I will have a few extra if you want them, I will send them for postage. Just d-mail me and give me a couple of weeks, I will round-up a few before it gets too hot. :)
Thanks to all for your thoughts. I suspect a heavy layer of fall leaves may have been the cause of the hostas rotting out. I waited until most of the trees were bare, which last year wasn't until late January, before raking them up for the compost pile. When I did the leaves were six or more inches deep in places -- unfortunately where most of the hostas were.
virginiarose: thank you for the offer to replace some of them. But we're off to Europe this weekend and won't return until the heat of the summer is here. I'll replant them when cool weather returns.
Aiken 7B is an excellent zone for growing Hostas and they love water, some people grow them in water. I just hope your digging around in the dirt you didn't disturb any thing. lol
Then again those box store should definitely be started in a pot until you are sure they are healthy plants.