Whoever bestowed the Hesperaloe parviflora with the nickname “red yucca” didn't quite get the right plant; it is not an actual yucca, and its flowers aren't obviously red. The plant does produce tall spikes of coral-colored flowers in spring, though, and remains in bloom -- even through the hottest, driest desert summers -- until fall. Modern moms will love its easy-care nature, which includes drought tolerance. Red yucca is hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 11.
1. Green Balls
The green balls on the red yucca plant are its seed pods. About the size of a ping-pong ball, the capsules contain several chambers that house black, half-circle seeds. As the capsule matures in late summer, it dries and turns brown, eventually opening at the top. This is when you should collect the capsules if you want to harvest and plant the seeds.
Although the red yucca produces lots of seeds, it rarely self-sows. This is because the seeds require a bit of nurturing during germination. Plan on sowing them in pots so that you can provide them with what they require to get off to a strong, healthy start. Use a container that is at least 4 inches deep and ensure that it has holes in the bottom for drainage. Fill the container with a potting soil that drains quickly and water it thoroughly before planting the red yucca seeds.
Press the red yucca seeds lightly into the soil so that they are barely covered. Set the pots in an area that receives filtered sunlight and avoid over-watering the soil. It should remain barely moist at all times. If you live in USDA zones 5 through 7, place the red yucca germination pots in a cold frame over the winter. Germination time varies widely -- some seeds may pop up almost immediately while others may take months.
Red yucca is a slow-grower, so continue caring for the seedlings by keeping the soil barely moist. Six months to one year after germination, transplant them into individual 1-gallon pots, using the same well-drained soil, and place the potted seedlings in direct sunlight. The soil will tend to dry out more quickly in the sun, so keep an eye on it. Don’t fertilize the seedlings. In fact, red yucca grows best in poor soil, so you will never need to fertilize the plant.
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