Red Yucca: Hesperaloe Parviflora Plant Care

The sight of a Red Yucca, or Hesperaloe Parviflora plant, blooming during the summer months will take your breath away.

Its tall, grass-like, narrow blue-green leaves range around bright red and rose-pink flowers; this flower color is a striking addition to any garden.

For gardeners, there is a bonus to growing this plant because it is a very low-maintenance plant and needs little watering or pruning.

This eye-catching succulent has won the hearts of xeriscape enthusiasts throughout California, Texas, and Florida.

What is Hesperaloe Parviflora?

Hesperaloe Parviflora goes by many common names, such as:

  • Texas Red Yucca
  • Coral Yucca
  • Hummingbird Yucca
  • Redflower False Yucca
  • False Yucca

However, the name Redflower False Yucca describes it best because the Red Yucca is not a member of the Yucca family at all; instead, it belongs to the century plant family.

It is scientifically classified as an Agavoideae, and its similarity to the Yucca is where it gets its many names.

Hesperaloe Parviflora: Size and Growth

This is a clump-forming plant. It is stemless and grows up to three or four feet tall. It spreads outwards, expanding naturally to about six feet.

The rosette spikes of flowers shoot straight upward in the summer months, towering above the deeply-grooved leaves. Red yucca plants are cold-hardy.

However, when temperatures are lower in cold winter climates, the leaves often take on a purplish-red appearance.

What Is Hesperaloe Parviflora

Is Yellow Yucca a Member of the Same Family?

Hesperaloe Parviflora is also known as Yellow Yucca because of its vivid yellow flower rosettes.

It grows in the same conditions in warm winter climates, on rocky slopes, in mesquite groves, and in desert gardens.

Why is the Hesperaloe Parviflora called the Hummingbird Yucca?

Hesperaloe Parviflora, also called the Hummingbird Yucca, because the beautiful plant has bright coral red foliage that attracts hummingbirds.

So if you plant it in your garden, you will enjoy the sight of hummingbirds during the spring and summer months.

Their long, thin beaks ensure they can reach the Red Yucca’s tubular flowers to reach the nectar.

Other pollinators attracted by the Red Yucca include butterflies and moths, so it is a plant that any landscaper or gardener would happily add to their desert rock gardens and landscaping.

Uses of the Red Yucca

Uses Of The False Yucca

It may come as a big surprise, but Hesperaloe parviflora leaves can be used for weaving, and other parts of the plant have been used in making soap.

In addition, many parts of the plant are edible. However, pets should be kept away from the plant because these same parts are toxic.

Is Red Yucca Plants Edible?

Yes, the Red Yucca is edible.

Almost the whole red yucca plant may be eaten-stems, leaf bases, flowers, developing stalks, and fruit is edible. 

The stems of the Red Yucca contain vast amounts of carbohydrates in compounds known as saponins. Saponins, unfortunately, are very poisonous and must be broken down by cooking (baking or boiling) to make them non-toxic.

Red Yucca flower stalks must be cut from the plant before blooming, or they will become fibrous and unpalatable. They may be cooked or eaten raw when they resemble giant asparagus stalks. 

As for the blooms themselves, they apparently need to be harvested at precisely the right moment for them to taste any good. 

But the red Yucca fruit is the most sought-after part of the plant because of its sweet and fig-like taste when roasted or baked.

The fruit may also be dried to eat later, or it can be stored by mashing into a pasty meal that can be formed into a cake to be eaten later.

Aside from being grown for food, Yucca fruit was originally used as a laxative, the sap used to heal skin issues and the roots used to treat lice infestations.

Where to Grow the Red Yucca Plants?

Red Yucca plants are best suited for desert conditions.

They thrive in USDA hardiness zones 5a to 10b, which means they are comfortable with a range of temperatures from -20 degrees Fahrenheit to 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Hesperaloe Parviflora is also known as the Chihuahuan Yucca because it is native to the Chihuahuan desert of northeastern Mexico and southwestern Texas.

Another common name used is based on where it originates-the Texan Yucca.

Further proof of why it is so comfortable in a rock garden, planted on rocky slopes and exposed to full sun.

Basic Care For Red Yucca Plants

Care for red yucca plants is pretty simple.

  • Water regularly, and don’t allow them to sit in standing water.
  • Cut off dead flowers and leaves to prevent the disease from spreading.
  • If you notice a bug infestation, spray with a pesticide or insecticide.
  • Hesperaloe Parviflora is happiest in well-drained, sandy, dry soil.

It grows in clumps which will spread outward. By the second year of growth, when its root system is established correctly, it will survive drought conditions.

Read more for further details on how to care for your Red Yucca plants.

Watering the Red Yucca

Watering The Red Yucca

After first planting the Hesperaloe Parviflora in the spring, it is best to maintain a schedule for regular watering throughout its first year. After that, it can survive on less water.

However, for more attractive, bright coral blooms, increase the amount of water you give the plant, especially during the summer months when it is in bloom.

Feeding the Red Yucca Plant

Since succulents require a well-drained soil that allows air to circulate around their roots, you should provide good quality potting soil.

You can buy commercial soil or mix your own. To mix your own, you should combine two parts soil or soil-free commercial potting mixture with one-part sand and perlite to increase drainage.

If you add limestone to balance the soil PH, you will make nutrients more available to the roots. Bone meal for phosphate will also stimulate root growth.

However, only add a small amount to your potting mixture.

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Propagation of the Red Yucca

You can plant your Hesperaloe Parviflora from seed, but it will take several years before it begins to flower. It is recommended to buy new plants, locally or online, or transplant clumps of existing plants.

It is self-seeding, dropping outwardly to expand its area, so propagation by clump division is an easy task.

Planting Red Yucca from Seeds

Planting Red Yucca From Seeds

If you choose to plant from seeds, you should fill a seed flat with good-quality potting soil and place it in a tray of water. 

Use two or three seeds for each compartment and keep them indoors in a warm, sunny area (72 to 90 degrees).

Frequently, check the soil for moisture. You should expect germination to take between two to three months.

Propagating Red Yucca through Clump Division

Clump division is the easiest and most common way to propagate red yucca.

To clump divide, take a large root mass and remove the entire root ball. Take a section of the root and break it into small pieces. These pieces will grow into new plants.

Plants can be grown either in large pots or in the ground. Dig a hole that is about 3 to 4 inches deep and place the plant in the hole.

Cover the hole with soil and place mulch on top. Keep the plant moist during this process by watering it regularly.

The best time to divide a red yucca plant is in the fall. If you don’t divide the plant in the fall, the plant will not be ready to flower the following year.

Pruning the Hesperaloe Parviflora

Pruning The Hesperaloe Parviflora

A little pruning is needed for the Red Yucca to flourish. You should prune when the flower heads brown and die by cutting below the flower head.

Simply snip off any foliage that is dead or winter-damaged.

Choose shoots from the interior and use long-handled pruners to cut the center of the Red Yucca plant with long-handled loppers. During the winter, remove dried flower spikes.

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How to Encourage Hesperaloe Parviflora Plant Growth

To encourage growth, allow space for the Texan Yucca to spread to its maximum height and width.

If you find it does not have enough space, transplant it to a spot that can occupy a greater area.

The Red Yucca does not appreciate hard pruning, so take care not to cut the ends of the long Yucca leaves.

The foliage may not grow back if you remove too much of the plant at once.

FAQ

What other Plants go Along with Red Yucca Plants?

Choose other succulents which require similar drought-tolerant conditions and full sunlight to plant with your Hesperaloe Parviflora. They are all good companion plants for Mexican Feathergrass, Lance-leaf Coreopsis, Winecup, Autumn Sage, Aloe, cactus, aeonium, and other ‘real’ yuccas.

How Long Do Century Plants Last?

Although it was formerly thought that century plants lived for 100 years, thus the term “century,” we now know that it is about 30 years or so on average. Interestingly, the century plant is monocarpic, meaning it will only blossom once in its lifespan and then die.

Is red yucca invasive?

Yes, Red Yucca plants can be invasive. The Red Yucca plant produces offsets or pups within a few seasons of development and growth. These offsets can rapidly become invasive in any garden or landscaping.

Other Yucca Plants and Succulents to Consider

Conclusion

Growing Hesperaloe Parviflora is a great way to add some unique beauty and color to your garden or landscaping. Red Yuccas can be planted successfully in any soil type and prefer full sunlight. The yucca plant has very few problems, so it rarely needs to be treated with pesticides or fungicides. 

Red Yucca’s bright flowers are an excellent choice for first-time gardeners, thanks in part to its easy care requirements that will enable you to enjoy the blooms each year without much work on your end. Lastly, Hesperaloe Parviflora is versatile as it is used as a food source in some cultures.

References

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  • North Carolina State Cooperative Extension. (n.d.). Hesperaloe parviflora. NC State University Extension, Gardener Plant Toolbox. URL: https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/hesperaloe-parviflora/
  • TTU Plant Resources. (n.d.). Red Yucca Hesperaloe parviflora. Plant Resources, Texas Tech University. URL: https://www.depts.ttu.edu/plantresources/Pages/Landscape_Information_Sheets/Herbaceous_Info/Hesperaloe_parviflora.php
  • About/mentions: Hesperaloe Parviflora, yucca plants

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