Consumer Q’s: Hostas, daylilies, and mayo

Published 10:38 am Monday, July 10, 2017

Question: Can hostas be grown in pots?

Answer: Definitely. Depending on the size of your hosta and the size of your container, hostas can be grown as a single subject in a pot or part of a combination container with perhaps an upright plant and a trailing plant.
Container culture is a good option for the miniature hostas that may be overwhelmed by other plants or weeds in a garden. Some of these miniatures may have leaves smaller than a fingernail. The varieties with very large leaves such as Sum and Substance are probably better planted in the ground unless you have large enough containers that will not look overwhelmed by the huge leaves. These large varieties will also require much more attention to watering as they will dry out more quickly than smaller varieties.
Growing in pots is a good option if you have a slug or snail problem. Snails and slugs are more easily controlled in pots than in the open garden. Also, if deer are turning your hosta bed into a salad bar, raising some potted hostas on a deck or porch where deer are less likely to venture may be a way for you to enjoy hostas.
As with all container plantings, the plants will need more frequent watering than those planted in the ground.

Q: What is the orange daylily I see growing wild along roadsides? It blooms in May and June.

A: You are probably seeing the tawny daylily. Some people mistakenly refer to it as a native wildflower. It is not, but it is easy to think so by seeing how it thrives without any apparent human intervention or cultivation.
The variety of tawny daylily that you see forming patches along roadsides, in ditches and at abandoned home sites does not have the ability to form seeds. It overcomes this by being a vigorous spreader with a hearty constitution. Every patch of these tawny daylilies you see blooming was originally planted by someone either for beauty or perhaps to control erosion on an embankment. Because it spreads readily, it is often shared as a pass-along plant from person to person. Although common in the landscape, it is not commonly sold.
Because of its aggressive spreading habit, some people consider it an invasive species. If you are thinking of planting tawny daylily where it will overwhelm other plants or where you will not be monitoring its growth, choose another daylily or another flower. Other daylilies are more refined in color and form. The color of the tawny daylily is muddied and dull compared to the pure yellows, vibrant scarlets and subtle peachy pinks of newer varieties. And the ruffled, reflexed petals and enormous blooms of modern daylilies may make the old tawny look scrawny. Or you may want to plant the tawny where it cannot spread beyond its boundaries such as islands in a parking lot or in sidewalk planting strips.

Q: Does mayonnaise cause most summertime cases of foodborne illness on camping trips and picnics?

A: People often blame mayonnaise as the cause of foodborne illness from chilled foods such as chicken or tuna salad or when used with luncheon meats in a sandwich. However, commercially produced mayonnaise is acidic (made with vinegar or lemon juice) and tends to prevent bacterial growth. Commercial mayonnaise may even be made with pasteurized eggs, further reducing the risk. Usually it is the meat, poultry, fish or eggs kept out of the refrigerator for more than two hours that is the medium for bacteria to grow. If the outdoor temperature is above 90 degrees F., food can become dangerous after only one hour, so pack the cooler containing these perishable foods with plenty of ice or frozen gel packs.
We do not have data on what is the main cause of foodborne illness for camping or picnicking, but food safety practices need to be maintained whether eating indoors or out. However, being outdoors presents special challenges.
If you do not think you can maintain food at or heat it to a safe temperature, choose foods that you know you can keep at a safe temperature or that are “shelf-stable” and will be unaffected by hours sitting out in hot temperatures.
Wash hands and surfaces often. Use hand sanitizer if clean water is not available. Drink only water you have brought yourself or from a safe source.
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If you have questions about agriculture, horticulture, food safety or services or products regulated by the Georgia Department of Agriculture, write Arty Schronce ( or visit the Georgia Department of Agriculture’s website (