Although called Red Yucca, Hesperaloe parviflora is more closely related to the Agaves than the Yuccas, and its showy blooms, carried on long, arching stalks, are generally rosy-pink or salmon. A native of the Chihuahuan desert of northern Mexico, the plant is heat and drought tolerant and recommended for USDA hardiness zones 5 to 11. The succulent grows in clumps of grass-like, blue-green foliage dominated by flower stalks which may reach 5 feet (1.5 m) long.
A fringe of fraying fibers edge 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 rest of the year. Categorized as evergreen, the foliage develops a purplish cast in the winter.
Plant 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 heat of the summer.
Sometimes xeriscape gardeners avoid cacti and Yuccas, thinking of them as cliches, but the striking blooms and unusual foliage of the Red Yucca have won over xeriscape enthusiasts from California to Texas to 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, it can contribute color and textural interest, if placed with other waterwise perennials. If you have the space, plant it en masse with other grasses for a native grassland effect. Finally, it makes an appealing patio accent when planted in a large pot.
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