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What is a Red Yucca?

Felicia Dye
Felicia Dye

Red yucca, formally known as hesperaloe parviflora, is a member of the Agaveceae family. The plant is native to parts of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. It is a perennial plant that commonly grows 36 to 48 inches (about 90-122 cm) tall and usually produces red blossoms. These low-maintenance plants can be kept in gardens, beds, and containers. They can make good borders, as well.

Red yucca has grassy evergreen foliage. Its dark green leaves are long and narrow. The leaves can grow up to 4 feet (about 1.2 m) in length and usually are about 1 inch (about 2.5 cm) across. This plant grows in clumps. Sufficient space is required when planting red yucca because it can spread anywhere from 3 to 6 feet (about 92 to 182 cm).

The red yucca mostly produces red bell-shaped flowers. In some instances, the blossoms can be pink or yellow. A peak period for blossoms usually is midsummer. The plant may, however, begin to blossom in the spring and may continue into fall.

Man mowing the grass
Man mowing the grass

Red yucca is known as a drought-resistant plant. For maximum blooming, however, it needs water and well-drained soil. It also needs full sun exposure. Many people report that they have grown the plants in shady areas. The plant will indeed grow in shade, but it typically will not blossom as well.

Even when conditions are right, a person may have to wait several years for blossoms. When they do appear, the blossoms are usually long-lasting. Many people appreciate them not only for their beauty but also because they have the tendency to attract hummingbirds. It has also been noted as a good plant for butterfly gardens.

Some growers have reported plants that have survived sub-zero climate conditions. There are mixed reviews in this regard. As a general rule, however, red yucca is not a plant that is recommended for extremely cold climates.

Red yucca is a plant that can be propagated either by dividing plants or from seeds. People have mixed results with seeds, which can be purchased or taken from the distinctive pods that grow on existing plants. These may be planted in pots or sown directly into the ground. In most cases, pods and seeds left on the ground do not result in new plants without assistance.

In many ways these plants may be described as unfriendly. Parts of them are poisonous if they are swallowed. Handling the plant is known to cause skin irritation. Its pollen has also been noted to cause allergic reactions.

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