Who better to discuss a question about drought tolerance of hostas than a Texan in 2011. There are those who think of cactus, desert, and horses tied to hitching posts when the subject of Texas lore and the wild – wild west comes up! While these things can certainly be found in the vast expanse of land mass that comprises the Lone Star State, one will also find beautiful garden spots throughout the state. Many are highlighted and interspersed with cultivated hosta plants, mostly found in the yards and beds of local residents who have relocated from every state in the union.
2011 has set new records for 100 plus degree summer days with over 70 days and counting. How have the hostas fared in this kind of weather? It seems that hostas in North Texas (Dallas and Fort Worth in particular) are just like Timex watches, “They take a licking and keep on ticking”. True to their reputation of being an adaptable and resilient plant, the hostas in North Texas are going to be just fine. Because of the unprecedented heat and sun, along with lack of rain, their population will suffer it’s share of damage.
Just add water should be the advice, which has been difficult to do with so many counties and cities implementing strict outdoor watering rations. There is great news for gardeners who think their plants are finished. My own small collection of hosta plants dating back to being planted 12 years ago on the north side of the house actually appeared to be “gonners”! A few weeks ago, just as the continuous days of triple digit heat subsided, I gave the dried up, brown, crispy, and dead-looking hostas a seriously required soaking. Much to my surprise, within 3 days they began to sprout new green leaves giving me confidence in the resurgence of most collections of these beautiful green, yellow, and variegated leaves of grey and blue in the State of Texas.
Areas for further concern would include the western regions of Texas such as Abilene and Lubbock. Further up into the Panhandle of Texas, in areas around Amarillo, hostas should continue to do well as the snowfall helps supply needed hydration for plants and vegetation as it melts. The southwest and coastal regions of the Lone Star State have an advantage of moisture coming off the Gulf of Mexico but the disadvantage of not always having cool enough temperatures. Even so, with a little planning and utilization of mechanical refrigeration for a cool blast, hostas can easily be uprooted, refrigerated for 30 – 45 days, and replanted after dividing to share with others.
With several more weeks, if not a couple more months of growing season, I am looking forward to watching the re-growth and re-greening of gardens in North Texas and am anticipating hostas leading the way. The coming winter should provide plenty of off growing season water to feed the roots and get ready for an unprecedented growing season following the drought of 2011. Whether you are in hot and humid climates of a dry Southern Texas climate, drought plighted areas of North Texas, or anywhere else with drought conditions, keep your hostas hydrated. Even after long periods of waterless growing it appears the resilient hosta will live on to grow another season in splendor and beauty! Yes, drought resistant hostas do survive in North Texas with just a little extra care.