Volunteer Diana Reavis (Eason Horticultural Resources) has a way with words – here’s what she had to say about one of the 2010 winners, red yucca:
Do you have one of those hot, sunny, gravelly places where nothing wants to grow? Everybody has one – you know you do! Here is a perfect solution for this perennial problem spot. Enter red yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora). This xeric New Mexico and Texas native thrives in hot sunny areas, in fact, kindness kills!! Red yucca will do quite nicely, once established, on very little supplemental water. It’s all about location, location, location. Be sure to situate red yucca where it won’t receive too much summer moisture or winter snow cover. Good drainage, after all, is often the answer to all that is wrong in the world of gardening (especially dryland natives who prefer xeriscapes!)
The beautifully arching grey-green leaves of red yucca are edged with wispy thread-like white filaments and stand strong beneath 3 foot spikes of saffron-throated, delicate red trumpet flowers. Repose quietly near one of these magnificent specimens and you’ll behold hummingbirds darting to and fro, busily satisfying their nectar addiction all summer long. Plant red yucca with some of its favorite companions such as agastache of all kinds, red birds in a tree or any penstemon, and you’ll be wondering which way to duck!
And tough? Hails yes! Red yucca came through the storms of last summer with nary a bruise, continuing to bloom on into fall while many other plants were flattened.
So, next time you’re driving through Lakewood look to the expertly done landscaping displays on the Kipling Parkway and Wadsworth medians (use your peripheral vision if you’re at the helm!). Kendrick Lake Park and Denver Botanic Gardens showcase this beautiful red yucca in all its glory, thriving with no extra care or water. Check it out – it’s one hot traffic stopper!
What you need to know about red yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora)
Height: 3 to 4 feet
Width: 3 to 4 feet
Blooms: June through autumn
Sun: Full sun
Soil Moisture: Dry conditions– best xeric (Little to no irrigation needed once established.)
Hardiness: USDA zones 5-10 (up to 5800’)
Culture: Thrives in xeriscapes, or any garden with well-drained soil and occasional deep watering.
Many thanks to Dan Johnson., Denver Botanic Gardens, for use of his photo.
Look for this plant at local, independent garden centers and nurseries. A list of members and more information about the Plant Select® program can be found at our website, www.plantselect.org.