Although called Red Yucca, Hesperaloe parviflora is more closely related to the Agaves than the Yuccas. Its showy blooms carried on long arching stalks are generally rosy-pink or salmon. A native of the Chihuahuan desert of northern Mexico, this plant is heat and drought tolerant and recommended for USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 5 to 11. Red Yucca grows in clumps of grass-like blue-green foliage dominated by flower stalks that may reach 5 feet (1.5 m) long.
A fringe of fraying fibers edges the Red Yucca's leathery leaves, which spread up to 4 feet (1.2 m). Flowers are tubular and appear in clusters on pink stalks. Blooming begins in early summer and may continue for most of the year. Categorized as evergreen, the foliage develops a purplish cast in the winter.
Grow Red Yucca in full sun in well-drained soil, preferably a bit sandy. To establish a deep and extensive root system, follow a regular watering schedule during its first growing season. Feed with a general-purpose fertilizer in the spring before the new growth starts. Although established plants can get by on little water, for better-looking blooms, give them a deep soaking about once every two weeks during the summer heat.
Sometimes xeriscape gardeners avoid cacti and Yuccas, thinking of them as cliches. Still, the striking blooms and unusual foliage of the Red Yucca have won over xeriscape enthusiasts from California to Texas and Florida. The desert native is also at home in a rock garden, planted among dry streambeds and landscape boulders. A surprising addition to a cottage garden or border can contribute color and textural interest if placed with other water-wise perennials. Plant it en masse with other grasses for a native grassland effect if you have space. Finally, it makes an appealing patio accent when planted in a large pot.
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