Red Yucca

Hesperaloe parviflora

Hesperaloe parviflora, also known colloquially as pink yucca, red-flowered yucca, soft-tip yucca, or samadoque is a favorite of southwestern U.S. gardeners and is a native of Texas. Red yucca resembles a cross between our common spine-pointed yuccas and an aloe. Leaves are thicker than those of yuccas, but more sword shaped than those of aloe. These dark green leaves arise from a slowly suckering clump forming a cluster of rosettes. From these rosettes 4’ to 5’ (rarely 8’) long pale pink spikes or narrow sparsely branched panicles of coral, salmon-pink, or rarely red or yellow, 1’ to 2’ long, tubular flowers with trumpet-shaped flared tips are produced, often multiple times through the growing season. Flowers often occur as spikes on younger plants, with older established plants producing larger branched panicles. Foliage is evergreen and plants can be long-lived. These showy neat plants are attractive year-round and serve as excellent pollinator support plants. Deadheading of spent flowers will improve plant appearance and avoid resource diversion to fruit development.

Exposure:   Red yucca is a sun-loving plant, but can survive in partial shade, although bloom will be reduced in shade. This is a great plant for hot, dry, exposed locations. Red yucca will tolerate reflected heat and wind exposure. Salinity tolerance is moderate. This versatile plant can survive in USDA cold hardiness zones 6 (perhaps protected spots in 5b) through 13.

Size: Height — This evergreen clump-forming perennial produces foliage that is 12 to 18 tall and slowly spreads to typical widths of 2’ to 3’, occasionally wider over time.

Plant type: Evergreen herbaceous shrubby perennial succulent.

Planting time: Container grown plants from early spring through fall.

Soil type: Well drained soils are needed. Plants are soil pH adaptable and are particularly tolerant of limestone to caliche soils as long as they have positive drainage. Red yucca will tolerate low fertility sites, but also will grow more vigorously where adequate nutrients are available. Drought and heat tolerance are excellent once plants are established.

Suggested uses: Red yucca blends well with a wider range of landscape designs than many of our xeric succulents and can look at home even in mesic climates. Plants offer showy flowers over long periods of time and the clumps spread slowly enough to allow the foliage to serve as an alternative to small shrubs. The lack of sharp points on the leaves, hence its alternate name of soft-leave yucca, renders it suitable for use where pedestrian traffic may contact it. Rock gardens and xeric landscapes are obvious uses. Red yucca makes a nice accent or small-scale groundcover beneath mesquite, paloverde, or other trees with light filtered shade. Dry slopes, rocky outcroppings, and patio containers are other uses. The repeated flowering during times of the year when many other plants are not makes red yucca a valuable addition to the pollinator garden. Dwarf forms, hybrids with other species of Hesperaloe, and new selections with red or yellow flowers further diversify its potential uses. Watch for new selections in the trade!

Additional information in the AgriLife Today article.

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