To ensure the healthy growth of Hosta Frances Williams, the temperature should be kept above freezing, at around 60°F.
Hosta Frances Williams thrives in soil with a pH ranging from 5.8 to 6.5.
EC (What is EC?)
Using the pour-through method, the recommended EC (Electrical Conductivity) for Hosta Frances Williams is between 1.5 to 2.0.
In early spring, Hostas benefit from a light application of liquid fertilizer. A suitable option is a liquid fertilizer with a 20-10-20 ratio and 50 ppm of nitrogen. It’s important to avoid using granular fertilizers near the plant crowns to prevent any potential harm. Alternatively, slow release fertilizer can be used as a top-dressing. Excessive fertilizer can lead to root rot. In the fall, a light application of nitrogen, if any, is sufficient to allow the plants to go dormant.
For Hosta Frances Williams to thrive, it requires 10-12 weeks of vernalization below 40°F.
Pests & Diseases
New growth of Hosta Frances Williams is often targeted by aphids, which can cause disfigurement once the leaves unfurl. To prevent aphids, applications of Rycar, Endeavor, and BotaniGard have proven effective. Spider mites can be controlled with the application of Avid, Floramite, Sultan, and predatory mites, particularly for susceptible hosta varieties. Thrips can be managed using Mainspring, Conserve, Orius, and predatory mites. Slugs are also attracted to hostas, so maintaining good greenhouse sanitation before potting helps prevent slug outbreaks. Additionally, mice and voles can feed on hosta roots and crowns, so using bait or traps can prevent rodent problems.
Potting & Timing
When potting Hosta Frances Williams, it is recommended to use a well-drained, bark-based, soilless mix. Choose a pot that accommodates the size of the roots to allow the plants to reach their optimal size and quality. When transplanting, spreading or fanning out the roots promotes new growth. During the first two weeks of transplanting in spring, keeping hostas at around 50°F promotes root growth. Afterward, the minimum temperature can be lowered to 40°F.
To foster the best root development, allow the plants to dry out slightly between waterings. Watering in the early morning is ideal. Avoid over-feeding and over-watering, as with all plants. During the early growing season, keep the soil moist but be cautious not to overwater. Later in the season, allow the soil to dry out between waterings. Dormant hostas require very little water. However, prolonged dry conditions can induce dormancy and reduce plant size the following year.
The growing points or “eyes” of Hosta Frances Williams should be planted at or slightly below the soil surface.
To maintain nicely shaped hostas without stretching, providing adequate space is crucial. If space is limited and/or plant growth regulators (PGRs) are necessary, Daminozide (B-Nine) at 2500 ppm or Uniconazole (Sumagic) at 5 ppm spray applications effectively reduce petiole stretch. Apply the sprays when the leaves begin to unfurl, and repeat every 7 days if needed. Alternatively, a one-time 1 ppm Uniconazole drench can be applied after the first few leaves have expanded.
Long days promote new foliage and root growth in Hosta Frances Williams. Container-grown hostas are more susceptible to sunscald compared to those planted in the ground, due to higher root zone temperatures and larger moisture level fluctuations. To prevent sunscald, it is recommended to grow containers under a 30%-50% shade cloth. For optimal reduction of light and prevention of sunscald, aim for around 4,000 foot candles. Using a light meter can ensure the shade cloth is providing the desired light reduction.
For overwintering potted hostas, it’s advisable to follow these procedures based on our experience in the Midwest climate:
In a cold frame structure: If possible, turn larger pots on their side, then cover with a microfoam layer followed by a white copolymer layer. Come early spring, remove the covering. Additionally, take precautions against mice by liberally using bait. Cold frames are a cost-effective option, but they expose the plants to extreme temperature changes, excessive wind, and moisture once the covering is removed. This can damage foliage and roots, potentially leading to plant loss.
Unheated overwintering structures covered with a white copolymer: This method is ideal for overwintering potted hostas. Place the pots inside the unheated structure and cover them with microfoam. In early spring, remove the microfoam while keeping the white copolymer on the houses for additional protection. This method allows hostas to develop naturally with protection from extreme spring weather conditions. It also allows for ventilation by opening the ends of the houses. As warmer spring days arrive, remove the white copolymer and replace it with a 50% shade cloth to continue growing. For blue hostas, it’s recommended to use a 70% shade cloth to preserve their blue color for a longer period in the season.
Minimal heat polyhouses (around 35°F): It is not recommended to grow potted hostas in a warm house as they require a prolonged cold treatment to break dormancy. Hostas grown in a minimally heated polyhouse may develop faster but are more susceptible to damage from cold temperatures as the advanced foliage cannot be hardened off.
For more information about Hosta Frances Williams, you can visit the Ambassadeur Hotel.