Red Leaf Yucca

Red Leaf Yucca

Species: Hesperaloe parviflora
Alternate names: Texas red yucca; false red yucca; coral yucca
Leaves: Narrow, pointed, blue-green, arching blades, often with fibrous threads along the edges.
Flowers: Small, bell-shaped flowers ranging in color from red to coral sprouting off of long spikes.
Advantages: Virtually indestructible. Requires little or no watering once established. Easy to maintain. Produces lovely blooms throughout the summer and into the fall. Attracts butterflies, bees and hummingbirds.
Disadvantages: Sometimes takes a few years to start growing. Doesn't produce flowers in some years. Leaf edges are sharp enough to cut skin. Weedy grasses tend to grow at or near the base.

The hardiness of the red leaf yucca—actually a succulent of the Agave family—has made it a very common landscaping plant of the Southwest, At maturity, it reaches heights of three to four feet and similar widths.

Once the weather turns warm, one or more coral red spikes emerge from within the yucca's mound of leaves and shoots up quickly. As these stalks rise higher and higher—sometimes to more than six feet—they begin to arch over. These flower spikes provide a striking red contrast to the drab green of the leaves.

Round seedpods will form on the flower stalks. Though red leaf yuccas are not prolific reseeders, you may see a few new sprouts emerging in other parts of your yard. These hatchlings can easily be dug up and replanted in other locations.They make a good accent for the strip of land between the curb and sidewalk, and are useful for breaking up large expanses of rock mulch.

Care is minimal. Cut the woody, spent flower spikes away, and be sure to pull any weeds around the base when you first see them, as they quickly become difficult to remove.