Hesperaloe parviflora, commonly known as Red Yucca, is a large plant that makes a dramatic impact in almost any landscape. Mature plants produce flower stalks as tall as 8 feet (2.4 m), although the average height is around 4 feet (1.2 m), which rise from mounds of long, thin leaves. Most specimens range in width from 2 to 3 feet (60 to 90 cm) but may be as large as 4 feet (1.2 m). The showy flower stalks are lined with bright red flowers, which attract hummingbirds. This plant is generally hardy, but even the toughest plants will not bloom unless given proper care.
1. Ensure that the plant is getting plenty of sunlight. It needs a full day's worth of the sun to bloom and, more importantly, to survive.
2. Check for frost damage. The Red Yucca is hardy in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 5a to 10b, which means it can survive freezing temperatures. However, a late frost may damage flower stalks that are just beginning to bloom. If the newly emerging flower stalks are black, cut them off and wait. This plant blooms from early summer to fall, and new flower stalks will emerge in time.
3. Protect the Red Yucca from deer. Hungry deer will nibble away at this plant, preventing it from blooming. While most Yuccas have sharp edges on their leaves, the Red Yucca is not a true Yucca and has unarmed leaves. Cover it with a net at night or install a floodlight by the plant.
4. Feel the soil. Red Yuccas thrive in drought conditions. They can even grow well in nutrient-poor, rocky soil. What they cannot tolerate is overly wet soil. This leads to root rot, which destroys the roots of the plant and prevents it from blooming. Move the plant to a location where the ground drains well, or simply stop watering it if you have been irrigating it too often.
5. Insects and diseases may also prevent Red Yuccas from blooming. Spray your plant with an appropriate insecticide if you notice an infestation.
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