Red Yucca: Tough, Drought Tolerant & A Texas Native

yuccapod
Red Yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora) Seedpod

Our neighborhood sports quite a few examples of Red Yucca — Hesperaloe parviflora — a tough, drought-tolerant, evergreen plant that compares in size to a small shrub. I pass many of these plants when I take my daily (ahem, usually daily) walk. Since a number of the plants grow along curbsides, I was able to pick up several fallen seedpods this past summer, thinking that I’d start them indoors in early spring just to see if they’ll sprout. I left the pods on a shelf in the garage until today, when I ran across them while searching for something else. Curious, I broke open one of the pods to see what it looked like inside and to find out whether the seeds were suitable for planting. Several dozen flat, wedge-shaped black seeds tumbled from the casing. They look to be in excellent shape for propagation.

Red Yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora) Seeds And Casing
Red Yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora) Seeds And Casing

In researching the best way to prepare, plant and grow these seeds the one word I have seen most often is “patience”. There are also conflicting recommendations on exactly what process to use. Some articles say to plant the seeds directly into a perlite and sand mix, others say to use cactus soil. One website said to water the seeds daily. Another instructed that they be sprayed with a fine mist every five days. Some say to scarify the seeds, others say to soak them for 48 hours before planting. In one place I read that the seeds would take 14 to 30 days to sprout. In another place I was told they might sprout in anywhere from one month to one year. I see where that word “patience” comes in! For the time being I decided just to store the seeds in a glass jar and continue to do some research to find the most suitable planting technique. That will also give me time to stock up on some seed starting supplies!

Red Yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora) Seeds
Red Yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora) Seeds

Facts about Red Yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora):

  • Native to western and central areas of Texas
  • Is a succulent and a member of the agave family
  • Has long, narrow, leathery evergreen leaves
  • When mature can be up to 4 feet tall and 6 feet wide
  • Bears coral-red flowers on stalks up to five feet long
  • Blooms from May through October
  • Produces “pups” that can be removed and potted
  • Thrives in full sun and is drought tolerant
  • Likes well drained soil
  • Is extremely cold hardy
  • Is a very low maintenance plant
  • Attracts hummingbirds, butterflies and bees
  • Has become a popular plant for xeriscapes
  • Has very few serious pest problems
  • Some parts of the plant may cause allergic reactions

Besides the seeds, I also have a small potted Red Yucca that I picked up on sale at the end of the summer. Due to the heat and lack of rain I resisted the urge to plant it, instead bringing it into the garage this winter with the rest of my potted plants. Hopefully I can get it into the ground this spring and it’ll have a better chance of survival since we’ve had some good moisture so far this winter.

Red Yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora)
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8 thoughts on “Red Yucca: Tough, Drought Tolerant & A Texas Native

  1. Great plants and also very slow growers. While it is fun to watch them grow from seed, it takes quite a while to get to a good size. I get a lot of seedlings popping up in the gravel garden but I don’t know how long they’ve been there before sprouting.

    They are very tough so don’t worry about that one in the pot, I never water mine even in the two year drought. To divide I just pull them out of the ground barerooted and pile them up for several days before I plant them elsewhere.

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  2. I tried growing these from seed this fall just to see if it was even possible. I assumed it would be kind of difficult but I had nearly a 100% germination rate. I used fresh seed which sprouted after 10 weeks. I kept them on the dry side at first so maybe with more moisture they might have sprouted faster. I am not sure what I will do with them — probably share them at my neighbourhood’s seed swap this spring. Red Yucca is one of those must have plants around here. Easy to grow and a magnet for hummingbirds.

    https://mylandrestorationproject.wordpress.com/2014/09/21/propagating-native-plants-red-yucca/

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    • Thanks for the info. I read your post about growing the Red Yucca and it sounds like you did quite well! I picked up some seed-starting supplies and plan to get mine into pots this weekend when it warms up a little and the sun comes out. I hope my success rate is as good as yours was.

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