Revealing a “Giant” in Your Desert Landscape — The Giant Hesperaloe

Problem: Bare spot in your desert landscape, travel often, desire to have a strong focal point in your Arizona desert home.
Solution: An architectural plant, very low water and that works perfectly in a large pot.

Potted Giant Hesperaloe — The Desert Solution
  • The Potted Desert
  • Potted Giant Hesperaloe — The Desert Solution

The Giant Hesperaloe with its bold form serves you well as a dramatic focal point and accent plant in the desert landscape. With its stiff six foot long deep-lime green leaves, curly white fibers run along its edges and add to its character. This hardy Chihuahuan Desert native handles full and reflected sun making it a natural fit for a sun —drenched yard (i.e. Hot) while remaining a low worry addition. The plant will shoot up a 12-15 foot stalk of creamy white lily-like flowers in the summer. Although neither plant is part of the yucca family, the Giant Hesperaloe (Herperaloe funifera) is related to the common Hesperaloe, the Red Yucca,.

Because of the open nature of the clumping leaf structure and the fact that the leaves are very stiff, when potted the Giant will not be a high tipping risk in our desert winds. I recommend that you use a pot that will be proportionate to the size of the plant. The one pictured above is in a 32” pot (diameter.) Fill the entire pot with cactus soil as it needs excellent drainage. Be sure the pot has a good hole — 2” would be great! Or several 1” holes would suffice. The only maintenance required is to cut the dead stalk at its baseafter it is done flowering.

Plant the “Giant” so that the base of the plant is only 3-4 inches from the top of the pot so that the pot serves as a pedestal for the plant. You can also ‘dress’ the top of the soil with rock. I like using 4-5 inch straight sided rock with sharp edges and angles as I feel it complements the strong lines of the plant.

Finish a Potted Cactus with Rock
  • The Potted Desert
  • Finish a Potted Cactus with Rock

If you only have 20 minutes in your desert potted garden this week —
~Water your potted cactus deeply with a water soluble fertilizer at half strength (of the recommended directions on the fertilizer container.)

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Marylee is the founder and former owner of Tucson’s The Contained Gardener. With more than 15 years of successfully designing and growing potted gardens in the desert’s challenging and oftentimes harsh climate, Marylee has become known as the Desert’s Potted Garden Expert. Marylee is available for local and digital consultations and you can always email her with your questions and comments. Follow The Potted Desert on Facebook!