Scientific: Hesperaloe parviflora
Common: red hesperaloe
Family: Agavaceae
Origin: Chihuahuan desert from New Mexico and Texas south into old Mexico.

Pronounciation: Hes-per-AL-oo par-vi-FLOR-a

Hardiness zones
Sunset
10-16, 18-21
USDA 8-10 (arid and semi-arid regions)

Landscape Use: Accent, desert plantings, container plant. Interesting when massed into groups; strongly attracts hummingbirds (image captured in my backyard by famous Bulgarian artist and photographer, Hari Antanasov).

Form & Character: Basally clumping, upright, agave like, stiff, dry and xeric, informal, unconfined. Applications of supplemental water (the norm in Phoenix) increase the vigor and ultimate size of this attractive herbaceous perennial by two to three times over what size this plant attains in its native desert habitat.

Growth Habit: An evergreen herbaceous perennial. Red yucca is generally a slowly clumping to 2 to 4 feet (their is genotypic variation that expresses as larger or smaller) tall perennial with flower stalks that extend up to 10 feet tall. Water availability has a profound effect on its eventual size.

Foliage/texture: Red yucca leaves are gray green, curved, strap-like leaves to 30 inches with numerous white filament hairs on margins; medium fine texture.

Flowers & fruits: True to its common name, red yucca produces numerous long and extended flower stalks with numerous flowers with salmon pink petals and yellow styles. Fruit are a green to brown (when mature) multiple carpulate capsule, somewhat ugly.

Seasonal color: Festive display of flowers during spring. Young flower stalks are as colorful and attractive as the flowers themselves.

Temperature: Red yucca is highly adapted to southwest desert conditions.

Light: Full sun

Soil: Grows best in well-drained soil.

Watering: Drought tolerant, infrequent summer irrigations (it's a Chihuahuan Desert native after all). More robust and faster growth will occur with more water; thus, control supplemental watering to regulate red yucca size and vigor.

Pruning: Remove old flower stalks during summer. Shearing red yucca by giving it a 1950's era 'spike' hair style is really bad form. Sadly, this abusive practice is wielded upon red yucca shrubs regularly throughout the Phoenix area by ignoble 'horticultural clods' that have the gall to call themselves 'landscape professionals'. Those that do this ignorant practice to red yucca are manifesting their horticultural illiteracy.

Propagation: Seed, division of clumps of mature specimens.

Disease and pests: Fungal root rots in damp, heavy soils.

Additional comments: Red yucca is a landscape staple in Phoenix. It is an excellent smaller plant that is well suited for today's smaller, drier urban spaces. 'Desert Son' is one name for the yellow flowering variant of this species. Though novel, in my humble opinion it is not as attractive as the normal red flowering phenotype. A new and exciting cultivar is 'Brakelights'. This patented cultivar is from Mountain States Wholesale Nursery in Litchfield Park, AZ. According to my dear friend Janet Rademacher at Mountain States "BrakelightsŪ P.P.A.F. is a compact little plant, to about 2 feet tall and wide, and has bloomed nonstop for 9 months in Phoenix with trafficstopping red flower spikes". Whoa doggie!!!

Hesperaloe parviflora can hybridize with H. funifera.

Hespero is Greek for 'western'; thus Hesperaloe literally means western aloe.