About Me

My photo
Always happy to meet fellow gardeners and dog lovers! Feel free to e-mail me with questions or comments about all things gardening, especially hostas!

Friday, February 28, 2020

Welcome!

You have reached Blog.SunsetHostaFarm.com. We're glad you stopped by!

Here you'll find a variety of articles about all facets of gardening.  And if you love hostas, our blog also has  articles relating to everything hostas!

Our hosta farm is located in Cincinnati, Ohio. We sell the hostas that we love, ones that you just can't find in the big garden centers. Our farm is not open to the public because that's our home and where our senior rescue dogs live.

Please join our hosta Facebook group for articles, questions, answers and just plain fun with fellow hosta lovers!  Click here.

So come on in, sit a spell and peruse lots of great gardening information. And if you love hostas like we do, visit us at SunsetHostaFarm.com to see some beautiful hostas at affordable prices.

And don't forget to follow us on Pinterest, Instagram and our Facebook Page.

Welcome!


Rain Forest Sunrise Hosta
Hostas -- It's All About the Leaves!!



   




Monday, February 17, 2020

Hostas - Perfect Plants for Hypertufa Planters!


If you are new to working with hypertufa to make great garden art, planters and the like, you may want to read our Hypertufa 101 articles first.  To do that, click here.



Hypertufa planters are great for plants. They do not heat up in the sun and they are porous which will allow the plant's roots to breathe.



The best plants to plant in hypertufa planter have the following characteristics.

  • They are shallow rooted.
  • They are slow-growing perennials so you don't have to replant the planter every year.
  • They are low growing so they will gracefully drape over the edges.
  • They are very tough plants that are easy to care for.


It's not a surprise then that the above characteristics describe hostas perfectly!

Mini and small hostas will grow nicely in regular size planters.

Here are our best pics for small hostas for hypertufa planters:



Rain Forest Sunrise


Golden Tiara


Grand Tiara


Hush Puppie


Tick Tock

Amber Tiara


Blue Cadet



Platinum Tiara


Stiletto


Emerald Tiara


And let's not forget the adorable mini hostas, especially those cute mouse ear hostas:











Other plants that will happily grow in Hypertufa planters include alpines, succulents, sedum, tiny evergreens, any plant that's at home in a rock or alpine garden.

  


If you're interested in adding hostas to your Hypertufa planters or your garden in general, we'd love for you to visit us at SunsetHostaFarm.com. 


We also invite you to email us with any questions or comments or pictures of your projects. I'd love to see them!


  

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Signs your Hosta is Water Stressed




Hostas are well known as easy-care perennials.  The fact that they come in such a variety of sizes, colors and leaf shapes is just one more reason why hostas remain one of the most popular perennials for shady and part sunny gardens.


One of the most important ways, if not THE most important way, of keeping your hostas healthy and beautiful is simple -- water.  


To understand why a consistent watering plan is essential for healthy growth in hostas, it’s helpful to know where hostas came from and how they grow.






Hostas were originally from Korea, Japan and eastern China where they received lots of water, an average of 50" to 60” of rainfall each year, far more rain than in most other areas.


A hosta builds up its energy reserves in the summer and fall and will store that energy in its rhizomes. It will use that energy in the next spring when the hosta emerges. 




Signs of Short Term Inadequate Watering


  • Hosta leaves are wilting or drooping. Once watered well, the drooped leaves should perk right up.

  • Browning Leaf Tips.  The browning leaf tips can be cut back.

  • Fewer leaves is also a symptom of inadequate watering.   However, a decrease in leaf size can also mean a nutrient deficiency in which case a balanced fertilizer can help.



Long-Term Signs of Inadequate Watering


  • Hostas Dropping its Leaves Early in the Season

  • Comes Back Smaller the next season.



Inadequate watering during the summer and fall  forces the hosta to drop its leaves early.  This is how it will protect itself by going into an early dormancy so it can survive periods of extreme dryness.     


The result is that in the following year, without that stored energy, that hosta will remain the same size or even get smaller, depending on just how much energy it has stored.


If this inadequate watering happens a few years in a row, while a mature, healthy hosta may be able to tolerate the dry periods by simply going dormant, young hosta roots may actually shrivel and die.  Yes, you can kill a hosta!





So, how Much Water Do They Need?


Generous watering all season long is the best thing you can do for your hostas. A minimum of an inch of water per week, either supplied by Mother Nature or otherwise, is recommended.


Hostas love water!  As long as your soil drains well, you basically cannot over water them.


During the hottest or driest parts of the summer, an increase of water to an inch and a half to two inches is recommended. And it's important to keep this watering schedule until frost.


Some hostas are considered "sun tolerant."  If you have some of these hostas planted in a sunny area, increase the water to two inches per week.  To read our article on sun tolerant hostas, click here.


Hostas that have large leaves will need even more water as those leaves allow for a large amount of transpiration and water loss.

Hostas grown under shallow-rooted trees may require more water as they have to compete with tree roots.



How to Water


Deep soakings is much better than frequent light waterings. 


Why is that important?


Water applied at a very slow rate to the soil for several minutes encourages deep root growth and limits water wasted through runoff.


Deep soakings also encourage the hosta roots to grow deeper into the ground where they can find water during dry periods. 


Conversely, frequent light waterings encourage the roots to grow nearer to the surface where the soil can dry out more quickly.



When to Water


The best time to water hostas is early in the morning when the weather is cooler. This gives the water more time to reach the roots without evaporating.


As a guideline, if the soil around the hosta feels dry to the touch an inch below the soil surface, time for a deep soak.



What can I do?


As soon as you notice the problem, begin an intensive water plan for the rest of the season.  This will likely encourage a flush of new leaves to grow.


When you do this, however, keep doing it!  You don’t want to encourage new growth and then stop watering, letting the plant die back again.


Improve the Soil


You want soil that easily drains, has water retention qualities and fertility to feed the plant. 


A two- to three-inch layer of aged manure, organic mulch like shredded leaves or grass clippings around the plant (but not touching) will help to conserve the moisture in the soil. That mulch layer is also beneficial to hostas by regulating soil temperature and adding nutrients to the soil as the material breaks down.


To read our article on making leaf mold, click here.

To read our article on composting, click here.




To Sum Up


Hostas that are never water stressed will grow bigger, faster and will give you beautiful and healthy leaves longer into the season.


So if your hosta looks sickly, has browning edges or seems to have stopped growing or has actually gotten smaller, stick to a consistent watering plan and watch it eventually bounce back and give you many more years of beauty in your garden.


~~~~~~~~~~


Where to go next!

Great Garden Articles -- Full List!
Hosta Articles - Full List
Follow us on Pinterest!
Follow us on Instagram!

Back to the Blog Home Page!



                                  click here to join

Love hostas or know someone who does?
Visit our website for great hostas at an affordable price!
SunsetHostaFarm.com

't 

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Using Wicker Baskets for Making Hypertufa




This article presumes that you are familiar with the basics of making projects with hypertufa. If you aren’t familiar with the process, or just need a refresher, go to our Hypertufa 101 article with step by step hypertufa-making instructions, by clicking here.


I have made several hypertufa projects and by far my favorite mold for making planters is wicker baskets. They can readily be found for a few bucks at second-hand shops so I don’t worry that they will be destroyed by the process.


When you firmly push the hypertufa mix into the wicker basket’s cracks and crevices, the final look has a basket imprint which I find hard to match by any other method.


 
 

Types of Wicker Baskets


The thickness and strength of the wicker basket is important. Baskets that are thicker with a tighter weave will give you the deepest imprint on the final project, but will be more difficult to de-mold later.




Recipe for Wicker Basket Planters


The common mix recipe of one part Portland Cement, one part peat moss and one part vermiculite or Perlite works well for small to medium planters.




Building on the Inside of the Basket



The above wicker heart was used as a mold to build the hypertufa on the inside.  It will be a small planter just big enough for a mini hosta or sedum.





Wicker Baskets are generally used as inside molds so that beautiful wicker design is imprinted on the outside of the planter. It’s important to firmly press those hypertufa meatballs into the basket.

  

Here's a thicker basket filled with hypertufa.

 

DeMolding from a Wicker Basket



There are a few things you can do to make de-molding the project from the wicker basket easier.


Greasing the inside of the basket with Vaseline or cooking spray before adding the hypertufa mix is one way.


A trick I have learned is to vertically slice one area of the basket from the top to the bottom. Then place some duct tape over the slice to hold the basket steady while you build.

When it's time to demold, pull of the tape and begin the slow process of demolding at the area that you previously sliced open.


There are few garden projects that are as easy and rewarding as making hypertufa garden art and planters.

If you haven't tried it yet, read our Hypertufa 101 and get started!  You'll be hooked in no time.





Where to go next!


Love hostas or know someone who does?
Visit our website at SunsetHostaFarm.com
Great hostas at affordable prices!


Monday, January 13, 2020

Why Hostas Die Back Early in the Season

Hostas are known as one of the most resilient  and care-free perennials you can buy.  And that's only a few of the reasons hostas continue to be so popular in shady or semi-sunny gardens.


But when hosta leaves die back early in the season, the culprit is almost always lack of water.  





To understand why a consistent watering plan is essential for healthy growth in hostas, it’s helpful to know where hostas came from and how they grow.


Hostas were originally from Korea, Japan and eastern China where they received lots of water, an average of 50" to 60” of rainfall each year, far more rain than in most other areas.


A hosta builds up its energy reserves in the summer and fall and will store that energy in its rhizomes. It will use that energy in the next spring when the hosta emerges. 


Inadequate watering during the summer and fall  forces the hosta to drop its leaves early.  This is how it will protect itself by going into an early dormancy so it can survive periods of extreme dryness.     


The result is that in the following year, without that stored energy, that hosta will remain the same size or even get smaller, depending on just how much energy it has stored.


If this inadequate watering happens a few years in a row, while a mature, healthy hosta may be able to tolerate the dry periods by simply going dormant, young hosta roots may actually shrivel and die.  Yes, you can kill a hosta!





How Much Water Do They Need?


Generous watering all season long is the best thing you can do for your hostas. A minimum of an inch of water per week, either supplied by Mother Nature or otherwise, is recommended.


Hostas love water!  As long as your soil drains well, you basically cannot over water them.


During the hottest or driest parts of the summer, an increase of water to an inch and a half to two inches is recommended. And it's important to keep this watering schedule until frost.


Some hostas are considered "sun tolerant."  If you have some of these hostas planted in a sunny area, increase the water to two inches per week.  To read our article on sun tolerant hostas, click here.


Hostas that have large leaves will need even more water as those leaves allow for a large amount of transpiration and water loss.

Hostas grown under shallow-rooted trees may require more water as they have to compete with tree roots.



Signs of Short Term Inadequate Watering


  • Hosta leaves are wilting or drooping. Once watered well, the drooped leaves should perk right up.

  • Browning Leaf Tips.  The browning leaf tips can be cut back.

  • Fewer leaves is also a symptom of inadequate watering.   However, a decrease in leaf size can also mean a nutrient deficiency in which case a balanced fertilizer can help.


How to Water


Deep soakings is much better than frequent light waterings. 


Why is that important?


Water applied at a very slow rate to the soil for several minutes encourages deep root growth and limits water wasted through runoff.


Deep soakings also encourage the hosta roots to grow deeper into the ground where they can find water during dry periods. 


Conversely, frequent light waterings encourage the roots to grow nearer to the surface where the soil can dry out more quickly.



When to Water


The best time to water hostas is early in the morning when the weather is cooler. This gives the water more time to reach the roots without evaporating.


As a guideline, if the soil around the hosta feels dry to the touch an inch below the soil surface, time for a deep soak.





What can I do?


Watering it well will likely encourage a flush of new leaves to grow.


When you do this, however, keep doing it!  You don’t want to encourage new growth and then stop watering letting the plant die back again.


Improve the Soil


You want soil that easily drains, has water retention qualities and fertility to feed the plant. 


A two- to three-inch layer of aged manure, organic mulch like shredded leaves or grass clippings around the plant (but not touching) will help to conserve the moisture in the soil. That mulch layer is also beneficial to hostas by regulating soil temperature and adding nutrients to the soil as the material breaks down.


To read our article on making leaf mold, click here.

To read our article on composting, click here.



To Sum Up


Hostas that are never water stressed will grow bigger, faster and will give you beautiful and healthy leaves longer into the season.


So if your hosta seems to have stopped growing or has actually gotten smaller, stick to a consistent watering plan and watch it come back and give you many more years of beauty in your garden.


~~~~~~~~~~


Where to go next!

Great Garden Articles -- Full List!
Hosta Articles - Full List
Follow us on Pinterest!
Follow us on Instagram!

Back to the Blog Home Page!



                                  click here to join

Love hostas or know someone who does?
Visit our website for great hostas at an affordable price!
SunsetHostaFarm.com


Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Fertilizing Your Hostas - The Do's and Don'ts




It's no surprise that hostas continue to be one of the most popular perennial plants in a variety of gardens. Their beauty, toughness and ease of care make them well suited for a shady or partly sunny area, and they will quickly become even a new gardener's favorite plant! 



But how can you keep those beautiful hostas thriving year after year?


Although hostas are tough plants and they may not need fertilizer if grown in very rich, well draining soil, following a yearly fertilization schedule will ensure that you keep your hostas remaining healthy and looking their best.

There are as many ways to fertilize your perennials as there are gardeners.  Here's the schedule that we follow for our hostas at Sunset Hosta Farm.com.




Spring Fertilizing


As the hostas emerge in the Spring, rake back leaves and mulch and apply a 10-10-10 balanced fertilizer (preferably granular slow-release) around the emerging clumps.  Replace the mulch around the hosta but not up to the emerging clumps.



Hostas In Pots


If you've stored your potted hostas in an unheated garage or shed over the winter, slowly begin to acclimate the hostas to the outside temperatures as it warms.  


Fertilize pot-grown hostas with a diluted fertilizer (at 25% strength) every few weeks stopping in early summer.




Summer Fertilizing


Hostas generally will not need fertilizer during the summer if adequately fertilized in the spring.  However, if a second fertilizing seems to be necessary, do it in early summer.


Give the hostas a second (and last) feeding of a balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer.   If the hosta leaves aren't looking their best, a fertilizer with a little more nitrogen can be used at this time. 


Be sure to stop all fertilizers two months before your expected first frost date to allow the hostas to slowly settle into their winter dormancy.


To find the first and last frost dates for your area, click here.



Fall and Winter


Your hostas need no further fertilizer than the Spring and early Summer. 



About Epsom Salt on Hostas


The benefits of Epsom Salt on plants are many, including that it’s organic.  To read about the many advantages of using Epsom Salt on hostas, click here.





~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hostas continue to be one of the most popular perennials on the market because of their beauty and ease of care.  I hope you found the above article helpful for keeping your hostas healthy and beautiful season to season.


And if you haven't incorporated hostas into your garden yet, you are really missing out!


Take a stroll around our website for some great hostas at an affordable price!  But ... a word of warning... There is good reason why there are so many Hosta-Holics, including myself!






Where to go next!

Great Garden Articles -- Full List!
Hosta Articles - Full List
Follow us on Pinterest!
Follow us on Instagram!

Back to the Blog Home Page!



click here to join


Love hostas or know someone who does?
Visit our website for great hostas at an affordable price!
SunsetHostaFarm.com

Popular Posts