Red yucca leaves remain spineless, but sport filaments along their margins.

How to Make a Red Yucca Bloom

by Jessica Westover

Not a true yucca as its name suggests, the red yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora) produces bluish-green, sword-shaped, grasslike leaves and 4- to 8-foot-tall flower stalks bearing coral, red or yellow blooms. This succulent grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 11 and keeps its leaves year-round. Flower stalks appear in early to midsummer and may stay throughout fall. The red yucca is highly drought-tolerant and requires only a suitable planting spot and minimal maintenance to ensure it remains healthy and blooms each year. Plant the red yucca in the warmest part of your garden. Choose a site with well-draining soil that receives at least six to eight hours of direct, intense sun.

Clear debris, dead plant material and weeds from the ground around the red yucca in early spring, just before new growth begins. Fertilize the plant with 10-10-10, slow-release, granular fertilizer to replenish soil nutrients. Apply the fertilizer at a rate of 1 tablespoon per 1 square foot of soil, broadcasting it in a ring around the plant. Keep the granules at least 6 inches away from the red yucca's stems. Rake the fertilizer into the top 3 inches of soil. Water the area thoroughly.

Moisten the soil surrounding the plant to a depth of 10 to 12 inches with water from a garden hose when the soil dries completely. Water in the morning to allow the foliage time to dry before nightfall. Never allow the soil to become soggy or waterlogged.

Cut off any dead, dry or brown leaves with a pair of pruning shears whenever you see them. Make each cut as close to the leaf's base as possible without damaging the plant's crown.

Remove red yucca flower stalks with a pair of pruning shears once the blooms fade and begin to fall. This promotes the development of new blooms. Cut horizontally through the stalk's base, 1/4 inch above the point where it joins the plant.

Items you will need

  • 10-10-10 slow-release, granular fertilizer
  • Rake
  • Garden hose
  • Pruning shears


  • Space the red yucca 3 to 4 feet away from other plants, buildings and other objects to provide plenty of room for its mature size.
  • Sterilize the pruning shears in a solution of equal parts water and 70 percent isopropyl rubbing alcohol both before and after pruning to prevent the spread of disease.
  • Leave the last flower stalks that appear in late summer or early fall on the plant to produce seed if you wish to attract birds or desire new red yucca seedlings.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/ Images