For most homeowners around Scottsdale and Phoenix, landscaping that meets their needs must be colorful, striking, drought tolerant and low maintenance. The plants we use in desert xeriscape design must also be able to withstand the heat of summer sun without a lot of fuss. Not only is the graceful Red Yucca popular with people – hummingbirds love it too. is clean, doesn’t shed, is drought tolerant, interesting and colorful, easy to maintain, extremely cold hardy, takes full sun and reflected heat with ease, attracts Hummingbirds and has a graceful, arching form.
Hesperaloe parviflora as it is formally known, is a wonderfully interesting succulent that adds great architectural quality to anyone’s xeriscaping landscaping in Phoenix or Scottsdale. Due to its massive appeal though, many times it is used in far too large of an area. To get the biggest impact from Red Yucca, it is best to use it as an accent plant. You’ll get far more impact from your Arizona landscaping with this plant as a highlight, rather than a major player.
A member of the Agave family (hesper-aloe), Red Yucca is a hummingbird magnet when at full bloom. Since most of us are as fascinated with these tiny nectar lovers as they are with red blooms, this is just one more benefit of having this drought tolerant plant in a spot where you can enjoy it all. Additionally, due to the non-messy nature of not dropping a lot of plant debris, these are great accent plants anywhere – even for pool landscaping.
The red to pink colored blooms sit atop long, graceful stems than can be up to 8 feet tall. They are borne in elongated clusters of trumpet shaped florets that are 1.5 to 2 inches long. Once the blooms of Red Yuccas are spent, they go into the next phase of adding interest to xeriscaping landscaping in Phoenix and Scottsdale with interesting seed pods that add texture to your plantings.
You’ll get the best performance from the Red Yucca in a full sun location in your Arizona landscape design. While they will tolerant a shadier spot, you won’t get the full impact of those beautiful blooms as they will be far less abundant. When first newly installed, the plants will require good moisture practices, but once established in your soil they need very little water to thrive. Over watering will make the plant look shaggy, so be sure to watch how much moisture you give them during the adjustment stage in your yard.
This is a very low maintenance plant that is well suited to our desert climate. Before winter you will want to clip out all of the old flowering stems, but that is pretty much all the tasks it will require of you. It isn’t picky about soil types beyond wanting good drainage, so if your spot in that Scottsdale or Phoenix landscape design you want to plant them in is clay, do be sure to amend the area well for best results.
While winters here are mild, we occasionally get cold spells that can cause problems with some plants we use for landscaping in Phoenix and Scottsdale. Red Yuccas are nicely cold tolerant even should temperatures drop into the teens.
The plant itself requires little to no maintenance except for the need to remove spent flower stalks at the end of the growing season so it is perfect for those looking for ease of maintenance. Red Yucca has a long growing season from late spring to late fall. The plant is very tolerant of the low winter temperatures typical of the desert and is cold hardy to the low teens and below. These plants can also take inadequate soil conditions. As long as the soil adequately drains Red Yucca will be tolerant of most soil conditions. All in all, its just right for Scottsdale and Phoenix landscaping.
Closeup image of flowers courtesy of John Novak.