Fall Planting

Fall Planting

In the North, you should be able to plant hostas at least through October, even where the winters come early. In the South, through November.  Obviously it depends on the weather, so we're not going to give you a specific date to stop planting.  We think that most advice on how late to plant is rather conservative, which is fine.  Sometimes it's better to be safe, especially when you are advising others. 

Fall is about the only time I have to plant, so I generally carry it to the extreme and go almost until the ground freezes. I have no qualms about planting into December if the weather is reasonably nice.  I find that nearly all of the winter losses I have are due to voles.  I suspect that when a vole is deciding which of your hostas to eat, it really doesn't care when you planted it. 

The advantage to ordering plants in the fall is that you will generally have significantly larger plants next year than if you wait until next spring to plant.  We propagate constantly, but the plants you receive in the fall usually are a full growing season older than those shipped in the spring. (Naturally, excepting the plants in the Bargain Bin that we list as being smaller than our standard plants) I would probably be more conservative in planting the smaller varieties late in the year, especially in the North where the ground heaves during the winter.  Their small root systems are much more vulnerable to damage than the larger varieties and they may not make it through a harsh winter if planted too late.

Our plants start going dormant here in October, depending on the nighttime temps and the variety, so at some point, the plants we ship are not going to have any leaves, and if they do have leaves, they're going to look pretty awful.  Just remember that pretty soon the plants in your garden are not going to be very pretty either.  That's the way hostas work and it's nothing to panic about.  Just plant with the rhizome and dormant eyes at about the same depth they were in the pot, or maybe a little deeper, water them in and leave them be until spring.

Fall planting guidelines are pretty much the same as for any other time of year. Plant in well drained soil and keep the plants well watered while they are getting established.  It is important to make sure that the plants are not dry going into winter dormancy, they should be full of water when they go dormant.