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Beginner Gardening Questions: Hostas in zone 8B

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Forum: Beginner Gardening QuestionsReplies: 7, Views: 43
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lalea878
Mobile, AL

December 30, 2013
8:35 AM

Post #9736869

I am a new gardner and saw so many gorgeous varieties of hosta! Thing is, I read they do not do well here in Mobile, AL. We do not have a dependable cold winter with temperatures that an online nursery owner told me hostas require. He said they need a month or below freezing weather each winter to survive (I wwonder if I could put them in the freezer for a month..lol)We do not get below freezing for more than 2-3 days at a time, then it warms up, rains and gets cold again. Long season of heat, 6 months or more where most turn on their AC in April due to the humidity moreso than the heat. Tons of rain, more than any other area in the US most years. Tropical like weather where the humidity will melt you! I miss Phoenix as the weather there was so nice, and the heat was dry and not as suffocating as it can be here.

I saw some varieties that said "sun tolerant" but really I guess I need "heat tolerant' as we have tons of cloudy days here...heat persists tho. I had looked at Guacamole, Invincible, Sum of all, September sun, Iish Luck, Royal Standard and Crowned Imperial. Does anyone have any knowledge of the success rate growing Hostas in Zone 8b or similar climate?
thx so much
Laura
bluetexasbonnie
Geronimo, TX

December 30, 2013
10:25 AM

Post #9736919

Unfortunately, one of the things Alabama (and much of Texas) has an abundance of, snails and slugs. They love hosta. Even if you manage to give the plants enough chill, they will become hole-y hostas.

Dallas is 8a, and hostas will grow there in deep shade. They look pretty crappy by mid summer. Buying stock in your favored snail bait would be a smart investment. It is conceivable that the older, tougher (and less dramatically colored) varieties have a chance.

WeeNel
Ayrshire Scotland
United Kingdom

December 30, 2013
4:03 PM

Post #9737097

What Hostas need is shade, damp (not wet soil) added humus would help as that would allow the soil to hold onto some moisture longer after you water the plants.

YES the dreaded snails and slugs absolutely love them but they love them everywhere in the world NOT just in your area so you find ways of cutting back the damage these pests do.
After planting, I top dress the area with sharp gravel (small shells or gravel from the garden centre, the sharp pointed broken shells or sharp gravel is too sore for the snails or slugs to creep over but also add NON chemical slug pellets, these don't kill the birds or other wild life, there are still small little nibbled areas of the foliage BUT nowhere in the world has nibbled free Hosta's unless they are grown in sterile condition's inside, I have to agree that Hosta's are easy targets for slugs/ snails BUT there are many plants, Delphiniums, Holly Hawks to name 2 plants that also have a magnetic feeding frenzy but gardens wont be gardens IF we can only grow plants that are challenge free.
Give the Hosta's a go and just be vigilant, go out each night with a coffee in hand like I do and either pick off and destroy any snails or slugs, drop them into a bucket of boiling water or squash them under foot. the birds love them so have a bird feeder close to the Hosta's, all are chemical free.
Good luck and best Regards. WeeNel.
lalea878
Mobile, AL

December 31, 2013
8:13 AM

Post #9737456

I will start off with am all green variety like Irish luck or invincible..and see how she goes. I figure they must be worth it if folks do so much to keep them going (:
thx
purpleinopp
Opp, AL
(Zone 8b)

January 3, 2014
7:05 AM

Post #9739309

My Mom has several Hostas in her yard she brought down from Ohio. The ones that persist after 9 years are in the dry shade of an oak tree. Probably just enough moisture for the Hostas, but not enough for snails/slugs. The ones that are still there are mini kinds, called teacup if memory serves, and they do bloom every year. None of the regular-size-leaf ones are still around, but she had put those in a more moist bed, and where dogs could step on them. I don't know if they were trampled, or met other fates. It could be that Magnolia grandiflora leaves buried them. If I saw any Hostas in stores, I might try one or two, but not spend much $ on such an experiment. I don't think I've seen any Hostas like the really big ones you mention since moving down here.

My attraction to Hostas, besides the pretty variegated leaves, has always been the scent of the flowers. I've never smelled a purple one with fantastic fragrance, but the white-flowered ones are incredible! Usually at a good height for sniffing too, wonderful plants definitely worth trying.

You might like (and have an easier time with) some similar plants that are more common in the south, like Aspidistra, elephant ears, Cucurma, gingers, ferns, Caladium, Billbergia, Brunnera, seems like I should have more of a list, but maybe I just need more coffee...
gardenergirl678
Hamilton, GA
(Zone 8a)

January 9, 2014
8:34 PM

Post #9744322

I have found the more you give the slugs to hide under, the more you will have them. Lots of mulch or hardscapes such a stone or brick that may border your bed is just what they need for the afternoon heat. I used to go around the stones with diatomaceous earth early in the evening, esp after a rain so that the rain wouldn't wash it out. That way the slugs would run over it in the morning when they come out to feed. You can even see a slime pathway that they leave. Hope that helps. If not, get a slug trap and some beer.
WeeNel
Ayrshire Scotland
United Kingdom

January 10, 2014
5:18 AM

Post #9744433

Have to admit, never have I known slugs or snails to forage / feed in hot daylight and stones being heated up by sun is NOT something slugs/ snails could cope with, on occasions gardeners find slugs / snails dying or dead through the dry heat of stones that prevent the slime trail that exzudes as part of their normal make-up.

These Molluscs cant thrive or live for long in hot dry heat which is why these nasty creatures are able to feed and remain hidden from view as it is at sunset till dawn they are more active eating everything they choose, this time of feeding is when birds, and most predators are asleep therefore it's always a good idea to encourage things like Hedgehogs, badgers or other creatures that you have in your local to come forage in your garden at night OR resort to using pellets that are NOT harmful to other animals like birds, after the Molluscs are dead or dying, birds will still feed on them so if you use poisonous slug pellets, the birds will be killed after eating the slugs dying from the bated slug killers, there are several pelleted things on the market that is harmless to pet's, children and other animals, what you have to learn is never to over do the scattering, just a few placed around a plant is far better than throwing the stuff around like a man with no arms, you also have to replace the pellets after rain.
Hope you get some rele3ace from those pests soon.
Best Regards.
WeeNel.
SavvyDaze
Lady's Island, SC
(Zone 8b)

January 19, 2014
6:03 AM

Post #9751032

I am in zone 8b in Coastal SC. I don't think we've had but a few minor freezes in the 8 years I have lived here. I can only remember it snowing once and that was in 2010. Since then, our winters have been extremely mild and rarely reached freezing. (Except for THIS winter.) In fact, 2 years ago, I was shopping in shorts on Christmas Eve! My hostas ('Francee', 'Patriot', and 'Golden Tiara') came back each spring just fine. I haven't seen snail or slug damage on them either, but then again I sprinkle Sluggo or some other Snail & Slug bait around them a few times throughout the summer.

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