By David Wall, Mount Pleasant Master Gardener
One often overlooked plant that works well in flower beds/gardens is a red yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora), also known as pink yucca, red-flowered yucca, soft-tip yucca or samadoque, coral yucca, hummingbird yucca, and false yucca. Regardless of the common name, red yucca is an herbaceous, shrubby, evergreen perennial succulent, which has 5-plus years if kept in good condition.
Red yuccas thrive in well drained alkaline or acidic soils, and are regarded as one tough plant. It can take light shade, but does better in full sun, even with reflected heat. Though often seen as a desert plant, it can thrive in your yard and can survive cold in the ground down to -20 degrees Fahrenheit. If grown in a container, however, it should be moved inside to a sunlit area during winter.
With its 4-5 inch pink (rarely red or yellow) flowers, red yuccas are attractive to pollinators, as they flower several times during the growing season. Deadheading spent flowers improves plant appearance, and encourages more flowers rather that spending most of its energy in plant growth.
Basically, the red yucca is fool proof for your location as long as you have well drained soil and don’t over water. New plants should be watered once to twice a week at first. After the first year, water only when there is little to no rain. After that, established plants should do very well on just rain water.
As such, it’s a great plant for rock gardens and xeric landscapes. Unlike other yuccas, the leaves do not have sharp points, making it non-hazardous to children in the area and klutzes like me who bump into it!
As an aside, for those who desire different flower colors, there are dwarf forms and some hybrids that have red or yellow flowers.