Saving Money on Plants: Hostas

Posted By on June 17, 2014

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAFor every gardener, saving money on what you buy is a real joy. Why? Because with that money saved we can buy more plants! At Sheltering Woods we love to get more for our money, so we’ll be sharing posts on how to get more out of what you buy. To start us off, let us introduce you to the lovely Hosta.

Hostas are shade loving, herbaceous perennials cultivated primarily for their foliage. However, they do shoot up lovely displays of elongated bell like flowers ranging from white to a deep lavender. Today’s cultivators’ color range from yellow to green. There can be strips of white rimming the leaf, set inside, or swirled around with the green or yellow. It seems the color combinations are endless. We recently bought a variety that you’ll see below with red stems. In addition to coloring, size and texture are a highlight of hostas. Leaves can be large rounds that are deeply veined or thin, smooth blades. Some hosta grow 3 to 4 feet tall and wide while others are just a few inches big. Whatever you may need in your shade boarder, hostas are sure to deliver!

If you’re buying hosta this year there are a few things you should consider:

1. Are they on sale? Not necessary, but if you want to save money keep an eye out for discounted prices as garden centers try to get rid of excess merchandise.

2. What space will the plant be filling? As mentioned before, hosta come in a variety of color, texture, and size. Look for plants that will fit your space properly and compliment any existing plants.

3. Is the plant healthy? With any plant you buy, you want one that’s healthy. You’ll want to see hearty stems with luscious leaf growth. You can nurse damaged plants back to health, but not everyone is up for the job!

4. What does the structure of the plant look like? Is there just one shoot in the pot or several bunched together? If you’re looking to get more for your money, look for pots that have more than one shoot in them.

Now that you’ve gone and purchased your plants, we’re going to show you how to stretch that dollar a little more!

This is done by splitting your hosta. Hosta reproduce themselves by cloning their root systems. Each year a clump will get bigger and bigger if not divided.

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Above is a close up of a ‘Gemstone’ hosta we bought. Do you see how many shoots there are in the pot? That’s what we’re looking for. Those shoots tell us that there is an extensive root system that can be split fairly easily.

How to Split Hosta
1. Remove plant from pot.

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2. Gently remove all dirt from roots. You can do this with your hands or soak the roots in water to rinse off the dirt. We do it with our hands and shake the rest out which also loosens the roots.

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3. Split. Look for individual stalks that hold their own root system. Gently pry away a piece from the bunch. You must be careful and methodical while doing this otherwise you risk ripping off the shoot’s delicate root system.

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4. Plant your split hosta and admire your new plants!

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Here’s a breakdown of what we saved:

All plants were bought on sale for 50% off. So, we started out right to begin with! From each pot we got 2-5 new plants.

‘Gemstone’ : $8 original price, 50% off, 5 split plants
(8-4)/5 = $0.80 per plant

‘Con Te Partirio’ : $14 original price, 50% off, 4 split plants
(14-7)/4 = $1.75 per plant

‘Fall Dazzler’ : $8 original price, 50% off, 3 split plants
(8-4)3 = $1.33 per plant

‘Cherry Flip; : $12 original price, 50% off, 2 split plants
(12-6)/2 = $3.00 per plant

Total Saved: $102.00

Out of the 5 hosta we bought a regular person would have put those original plants straight into the ground. We, on the other hand, split ours and ended up with 9 additional hosta plants and $102 saved! We saved money through a sale and splitting. As the years go by our plants will bulk up and we’ll have even more to split and place around different parts of the garden.

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