This is what Red Yucca looks like when its flowering.
 
Every time I see a Red Yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora) in full bloom, I remember an incident that still makes me laugh and groan at the same time….

I was working as a horticulturist at a golf course and I was fortunate to have a wonderful crew of landscapers.  One of the landscaper’s was Abel.   He was in charge of maintaining the clubhouse landscape grounds.  One day, he came in to my office with a huge smile on his face and told me that in addition to the work that I had already assigned him, he had pruned some plants around the clubhouse and couldn’t wait to show me what a great job he did.

I went with him to see what he had done and when we got there, I just couldn’t believe it….. he had pruned off all the tops of the 30 Red Yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora) plants!!!  I was in complete shock and standing beside me was a smiling Abel, whose was so proud of his work and who honestly did not have a clue that he had done something wrong.
This is what was left of one of the Red Yucca plants.

Well, I didn’t have the heart to tell him that you never should prune the tops of Red Yucca leaves.  But, I did tell him that he needed to check with me before he pruned anything else around the clubhouse.


This story has a happy ending…..the Red Yucca eventually grew back and Abel continued to work for me about a year with no further pruning disasters.  He then left to go back to Mexico where he became mayor of his small town.

**So how should you prune Red Yucca?  Well, once the flowers have faded, just prune back the flowering stalks. That’s it.  It really couldn’t be more simple.  Red Yucca is a very low-maintenance plant, just take care not to prune the top of the plant 😉


So, have you seen any pruning disasters lately?  I seem to be seeing quite a few….
Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a horticulturist, certified arborist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."

8 replies
  1. Margarethe Brummermann
    Margarethe Brummermann says:

    Can you, please, tell our bunnies? We keep looking enviously at hesperaloes in inhospitable places like medians – they all do better than ours in our desert garden, but yes some of our critters may have to be promoted to major somewhere first…

    Reply
  2. Solitude Rising
    Solitude Rising says:

    Great story! Sometimes when we don't know what to do with one plant we just do the tried and tested method we do with others, I'm guilty of that too. A few research usually solves the problem.

    Reply
  3. Amber jensen
    Amber jensen says:

    So I have quite a few red yucca in my yard that have gotten very big. They are so big that the leaves are droopy and basically laying on the ground. If I can’t prune it, what do you suggest to keep it at a manageable good looking size?

    Reply
    • arizonaplantlady@gmail.com
      arizonaplantlady@gmail.com says:

      Hi Amber,

      This is a common problem with red yucca. As they age, they do grow very big and don’t look as attractive. You can remove outer stems at the base, but this is a lot of work and they do grow back quickly. I recommend two different options: replace them with new ones OR dig the entire plant and remove a small section of the red yucca and replant. Be sure to provide extra water for a few months until it becomes established. I hope this helps!

      Reply

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