Growing a hosta in Arizona

martyd215May 13, 2009

I live in Tucson and I have been looking online to no avail for information about growing a hosta (as a specimen plant in a container, most likely) in Tucson. The best I have found is a quote stating that people have grown them in Arizona, but no real information to help me out.

Now, I don't expect it to do splendidly, and I know they're not suited for the climate, but my reason for doing it is mainly as a gift for my mother as she's recently gotten disillusioned living here. She misses her garden back in Illinois which we both recently moved here from and she's recently given up growing anything out here after she thought she killed a couple of trees during the winter (they've since grown back, but she's still stuck in a funk.) The plant she misses most are hostas (every time I say something about "Why aren't you gardening?" she invariably brings them up.)

I thought having a hosta would remind her of home and perhaps help her get out of the funk. I'm sure people will want to say things like "They're not meant to grow here, grow x instead." but I'm set on growing one hosta in a container regardless of people attempting to dissuade me. If I just keep one in a pot for her alive for a few months, I guess that's the best I'll do, but I'd really like to know how to keep one alive in the desert climate (there are many shade spots in her yard.)

So has anyone had any experience? Know a particular variety that is suited to the climate? Has anyone even seen a hosta at a nursery anywhere in Tucson?

Thanks, I appreciate it.

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petzold6596(8b southern NM)

Hot sunny days in the SW is the dearth of most midwest plants. I have erected a shade cover over my veg garden which works great. You could amend the soil with pasteurized steer manure at 4:1 soil to manure, 2-3 in. mulching and erect a 4 ft. tall shade structure over the hostas. This environment should be very good as long as the soil stays on the moist side.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2009 at 10:57PM
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Container growing hosta and your climate are two seperate issues. Generally crown root is the leading failure of hostas in containers. The problem with your climate is the plant needs a period of dormancy with temps below 40 degrees. Shade is easy.
I would try an inexpensive smaller variety. Im sure Mom would love to see one of the lush huge ones but thats more problematic. You'll need to water daily at least during your brutal summer...keep the soil moist not soggy. You'll also need a weak feed since you'll be watering out the soils nutrients.
The dorminacy issue you'll have to get creative with if you want it to live long. Mom might be happy to see it for a short period..but some avid gardeners also really mourn the loss of a plant. If your mom misses the midwest so desperately letting the plant die off may make matters worse.
No, it will never thrive there but its not impossible. Try contacting the universities extension Master Gardeners. There has to be hosta enthusists doing this with some measure of success.
There are excellent hosta books you can find. I would try to make this a challenge for both of you. Research the plant and its history together. Engage your mom rather than surprise her. Your time and interest is a greater gift. This project could keep her hands and her mind busy. She could take notes on your success and failures and share that knowledge too. Look at this as an adventure..a challenge...engage her in that with you. Good medicine.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2009 at 11:51AM
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